Bundi was founded in 1342 AD by Rao Dewa (Deora), who was a member of the Hara family of the Chauhan Rajputs, one of the most ancient of the Rajput tribes, whose origins and early history are so confused with myth and re-written history that it now seems improbable that fact and fiction can ever be entirely disentwined.  (1)  However, the later history of the Rajputs is well documented, so we know that the Chauhans moved to north India, took over Ajmer and Sambhar and eventually acquired Delhi.  (The last Hindu king of Delhi, the famous Prithvi Raj of this line was defeated and killed by Muhammad Ghori in 1192AD).  In the 10th century AD, one Lachhman Raj (or Lakhan) founded a kingdom at Nadol, and in the 12th century one of his descendents, Manik Rai II, migrated to the south-east of Mewar.  The sixth in line after Manik Rai II was called Har Raj, and it is from him that the Hara sept derived its name.  The second chief after Har Raj was Deoraj (Dewa, Deora) who, as noted above, in 1342AD founded the state of Bundi.  Bundi was constantly at war with Mewar and the Malwa Sultanate and only with difficulty did it retain its independence, mostly as a vassal of the Rana of Udaipur.  This vassalage was broken in 1554AD when Rao Surjun of Bundi handed Ranthambhor (which he held on behalf of the Rana of Udaipur) to Akbar.  In 1569AD Akbar assigned to the Hara chief fifty-two districts, including Banaras, the command of a force of 2,000 and the title of Rao Rajah.  Haraoti was split into Bundi and Kotah.

            The fortunes of the two states waxed and waned, depending on whether their chiefs had picked the winning side during the next few years.  Raja Chhatarsal’s son, Ratan Sigh, for instance, took Dara Shukoh’r side against Aurangzeb, and lost his life in the war of succession.  At the time of the death of the last “Great Mughal”, Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707 AD (AH 1119) the ruler of Kotah was Rao Raja Bhim Singh (Rajah Budh).  He helped Shah Alam to take the throne and was rewarded with the title Maharao Raja.  Budh Singh lost a war with Jaipur and lost his throne.  His son Umed Singh enlisted the help of Holkar and regained his possessions, with the exception of the district of Patan, which Holkar obliged him to part with to pay for the military help he had given to Umed.

            “There was an old saying in Rajput territory that “the Rao and Rana could not meet at the ahaira or spring hunt without death ensuing”.  There were two such occasions.  In 1531AD Rao Suraj Mal and Rana Ratan Singh went out shooting and killed each other and in 1773 Ajit Singh, son of Umed Singh, killed Rana Ari Singh while they hunted.” (2, The Ruling Chiefs and Zamindars of India by A.Vadivelu, Loganadham Bros, Madras, 1915)

            Bishan Singh, son of Ajit Singh, assisted Colonel Monson against Holkar, and brought the wrath of the Marathas and Pindaris upon himself and the state, of which, more anon.


History of Kotah.

            The first Kotah chiefs were an offshoot of this old and respected ruling family of Bundi.  At the same time that Rao Dewa was carving out a fief for himself in Bundi, his grandson, Jet Singh was conquering the Koteah Bhils and occupying their city, now known as Kotah, and he ruled the surrounding area from there.  Five of his decedents occupied the throne of Kotah up until 1530 AD.  The last of these was dispossessed by Rao Suraj Mal of Bundi, and the territory became, once again, an integral part of the Bundi state.

            One of Suraj Mal’s descendents, Ratan Singh, early in the 17th century, gave the Kotah area to his son, Madho Singh, in Jagir, and the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan confirmed this assignment, and added Burhanpur to Bundi, after both Madho and Ratan had assisted him (then called Kurram Khan, a prince of the royal blood) in his successful rebellion against his father, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.  Thus began Kotah’s second separate existence, in 1625 AD.


Rewind to Kathiawar in the late 15th century.

            One Bhao Singh, a descendent of a Jala Rajput named Rajdhar (who had founded a petty chieftainship at Halwad in Kathiawar about the year 1488 AD) moved to the Ajmer area, where he married the daughter of the Sisodia Thakur of Sarwar.  They had a son (Madho Singh) and a daughter.  These two siblings moved to Kotah, where Madho rose to prominence as Faujdar, or Commander of the Kotah armed forces under the aforementioned Raja Bhim Singh (AH 1119 - 1133, 1707 - 1720 AD), who rewarded him for his services with the assignment of Nanta in jagir.  Madho’s sister married Bhim Singh’s eldest son, and Madho obtained the privilege of passing his Faujdari as an inheritance to his son, Madan Singh.  Thereafter the position of Faujdar was hereditary

             Maharaja Bhim Singh of Kotah died in battle in 1720 AD.

            A descendant of Madho by the name of Zalim Singh became faujdar, at the tender age of eighteen, in 1758 AD.  Just three years later, in 1761 at Bhatwara, during the reign of Chatarsal I (1759-1766 AD), he defeated and routed an invading Jaipur army, which was numerically far superior to the force he was commanding.  He thereby saved Kotah from a disaster, and earned for himself great influence and gratitude.  In 1766 AD Chatarsal’s brother, Guman Singh, succeeded to the gaddi, and during his reign Zalim Singh averted a second threatened disaster, this time an invasion of the Marathas from the south, by buying off their leader relatively cheaply, with a bribe of rupees six lakhs.

             On the death of Maharao Guman Singh in 1771 AD, the gaddi passed to his son, Umed Singh (1771-1819 AD).  However, the now very powerful and influential Zalim Singh became the de facto ruler (Regent) of Kotah, which prospered under his leadership and guidance, despite the constant threats of invasion, rapine and destruction posed by the Marathas and Pindaris.  Partly as a result of this constant pressure, in 1817 AD, he signed a treaty by which the State of Kotah passed under British protection, thus freeing its rulers and inhabitants from this menace.  A supplementary article followed in 1818 AD, which officially vested the administration of Kotah State in Zalim Singh and his heirs and successors, whilst the titular chieftaincy was confirmed to Umed Singh and his heirs, under British guarantee.  This unusual arrangement, by which the administration was to be exercised and inherited separately from the titular rulership, continued unchallenged only until the death of Maharao Umed Singh in 1819 AD.  His son and successor, Maharao Kisho Singh (1819-1828 AD) was “greatly dissatisfied with the arrangement” and tried to take the administration into his own hands, firstly by political intrigue, and then, when that failed, he resorted to force of arms.  The British, as “Paramount Power”, eventually found it necessary to step in with troops to maintain the peace and to support the Regency.  Kisho was defeated by British arms in 1821 AD at the battle of Mangrol, after which he fled to Udaipur.  He quickly and wisely decided to recognise the perpetual succession of Zalim Singh’s heirs, and was permitted to return to his capital, and the pageant rulership, later that year.


History of Jhalawar.

            Zalim died in 1824 AD.  He was succeeded by his incompetent son, Madho Singh, who was quickly replaced by his son (Zalim’s grandson) Madan Singh.  These events were closely followed by the death of Maharao Kisho Singh, who was succeeded by his son, Ram Singh II (1828-1866 AD).  In the meantime, Madan Singh had proved himself unfit, like his father before him, for the post of Regent, and his relations with Maharao Ram Singh were “never cordial”.  With the consent of Ram Singh, the British rescinded the supplementary article of 1818 AD to the treaty of 1817 AD, and created a new, independent principality for the descendents of Zalim Singh, by severing certain districts from the territory of Kotah.  The Indian Native State of Jhalawar thus began its independent existence in 1838AD.  It consisted of two parts from then until its merger into the Republic of India in 1949 AD.  In its original form, it was  bounded by Kotah, Indore (Rampura-Bhanpura), Gwalior, Sitamau, Jaora, Dewas and Tonk.  However, in 1899 AD the greater part of the state was restored to Kotah (see below) and Jhalawar’s area was greatly reduced.  It then bordered only Kotah and Gwalior state territory.  Jhalawar has had an interesting, if brief, history and it is worth noting some salient features of that history before proceeding to look at the mints and coinage, which are the proper subjects of this paper. 


History of Jhalawar.

            We have seen how, in 1837AD, Kotah was split, creating a new administrative area called Jhalawar, consisting of 17 parganas yielding revenue of rupees twelve lakhs, plus Zalim Singh’s original jagir.  The state of Kotah continued in the possession of its historical ruling family, while Jhalawar became the fief of Madan Singh and his successors.  The larger part of the new state lay to the south of Kotah and formed an irregularly shaped tract jutting south into Western Malwa.  A detached part lay to the east of Kotah, bounded on the other three sides by Gwalior state territory. The sketch-map at the top of this paper is intended to show the relationship between the three Harawati states and the rest of Rajasthan.

             The first ruler of the newly created state, Maharaj Rana Madan Singh, was installed on 11th July 1837 AD.  Jhalawar then passed under British protection by a separate treaty in 1838 AD and this marks the birth of the Protected State of Jhalawar.

            Madan’s son, Prithvi Singh succeeded to the gaddi of Jhalawar on his father’s decease in 1845 AD.  Prithvi remained loyal to his British suzerains during the Mutiny of 1857/58 AD, and in 1862 AD, he was granted, among other things, the privilege of the right of adoption.  Kotah objected to this, but the British over-ruled the objection.  Prithvi Singh exercised his right by adopting a son, Bakht Singh, who succeeded him on his death in 1875 AD.  Bakht Singh took the name Zalim Singh, a traditional name for the rulers of Jhalawar, descendents of Zalim Singh I, and began his reign as a minor, under the supervision of a Political Superintendent in Council.  Soon after assuming full powers in 1883 AD, he proved himself an incompetent ruler, and had his powers suspended in 1887 AD.  These powers were partially restored in 1892 AD, and then fully reinstated in 1894AD.  Matters did not improve, however, and he was finally deposed for maladministration in 1896 AD.  The Superintendency was reinstated.

            One of the provisions of the treaty of 1838 AD was that the Jhalawar territory should revert to Kotah on the death of any future Jhalawar ruler without an “heir of the body”.  This intention had been thwarted by the granting of permission in 1862 AD for Prithvi Singh to adopt a son who could succeed him, and that was the reason for the objections raised by Kotah to the granting of this privilege.

            In consideration of the original provision, much of the territory that had been severed from by Kotah in 1838 AD was now ordered to be returned to that state and this occurred in 1899 AD.  The returned areas included the parganas of Shahabad, Khanpur, Aklera and Manoharthana.  Therefore, after 1899 AD Jhalawar came to occupy an area of only about 810 square miles between the Pirawa pargana of Tonk and the Rampura district of Indore.  This became the new state of Jhalawar, and in this truncated form, it was restored to the descendants of Zalim Singh’s family, and the Superintendency was ended for a second time.  The selected ruler of the new state of Jhalawar was one Kunwar Bhawani Singh, of Zalim Singh’s family, and the full transfer of powers took place in 1899 AD.  HH Kunwar Bhawani Singh took the title of Raj Rana, and his reign proved to be a success, largely because of his enlightened attitude to the populace, his very considerable intellect and the high standard of his education.  During his reign, he several times attempted to get the territory previously restored to Kotah transferred back to Jhalawar, but in this, he was unsuccessful.

            The next two rulers of Jhalawar, who both bore the title of Maharaj Rana, were Rajendra Singh (1929-1943 AD) and Harish Chandra Singh (1943-1948 AD).  In 1948 AD, Jhalawar was merged into The Matsya Union, and in 1949 AD, it was incorporated into the Union of Rajasthan, which became a State in the Republic of India.  The rank and title of Maharaj Rana of Jhalawar was continued after independence, as the list of rulers of Jhalawar below makes clear.


The Rulers of Jhalawar.

                                                              A.H.                   A.D.

Madan Singh                                         1253-1263         1837-1847

Prithvi Singh                                          1263-1292         1847-1875

Zalim Singh                                           1292-1314         1875-1896

Superintendency                                                                        1896-1899

Bhawani Singh                                                               1899-1929

Rajendra Singh                                                              1929-1943

Harish Chandra Singh                                                     1943-1967

Indrajit Singh                                                                 1967-2004

 Chandrajit Singh                                                                        Since 2004 



The Mints of Jhalawar State.

            In the Financial Proceedings of January, 1876 AD, under the heading of “Mints in Native States” and sub-heading “Jhallawar” (sic!), we read the following:-


            “There are two mints in the Jhallawar State-one at the capital Jhalra Patan, the other at Shahabad, the chief town of the detached pargana of that name.

            “The former was established in 1801 AD by Raj Rana Zalim Singh, then minister of Maharao Bhim Singh of Kotah.  On one side the currency bore the inscription “San-i-jalus Maimanat Manus Zarb-i-Nandgaon” (Kotah): on the reverse “Badshah Akbar Shah Ghazi”.  On the creation of Jhallawar into a separate principality, the word Jhallawar was substituted for Nandgaon.

            “The mint at Shahabad is stated to have been established “from former times”, and its currency to have been known as the “Nurwar”.  Time does not admit of my making enquiries why it was so called.  Possibly both mint and country may have belonged to the Nurwar dynasty.  On re-establishing it, Zalim Singh changed the word Nurwar, which the currency bore to Shahabad.”  (Shahabad is about 80 miles (130 km.) from Narwar.)


The mint marks on coins of Jhalawar.

            The reverse of  Jhalawar coins bears two mintmarks.  To the right of the regnal year is the five-leafed jhar called panch pakri ka jhar, and over the “J” of jalus is the five-petalled flower called panch pakri ka phulli in contemporary documents.  These were found on all coins we examined with the mint name “Jhalawar, except in the rare case of a very off-centre strike.


The Panch pakri ka jhar mint mark.

            There are three main varieties of this mark.  Coins of type 01 have one dot below the tip of the jhar.  Coins of later types come with no dots, or with two, one above and one below the tip of the jhar.  On coins of Bahadur Shah, these dots first appear on coins with regnal year 10, and are absent from all earlier coins encountered in this study.  They reappear from about year 19, but are not present on all examples.  All Nazarana coins, in all reigns have two dots.  In Queen Victoria coins, the situation is confused, with few coins before year 8 having dots.  From then onwards, most examples seen have two, and in the last few years we saw none without two dots.  The possible significance of this variation is discussed below.


The Panch pakri ka Phullimint mark.

            There are variations in this mintmark involving the number of  petals” and the shape of the base, but these variations seem to be more or less random.  Again, many more coins will have to be recorded before we can say anything about the significance, if any, of these variations.


Qila Shahabad mint.

Coins of the Shahabad Mint.

            The authors are aware of only one type of coin, known in two denominations (rupee and takka) bearing the mint-name “Qila Shahabad”.  They are ostensibly coins of Kotah (or Bundi), bearing the regnal years of Muhammad Akbar II, 19 and 22 on the rupees, and 25 on the takka, which correspond with about 1824, 1827 and 1830 AD.  The first (RY 19) is the year in which Zalim Singh died, and his incompetent son, Madho Singh, succeeded him.  Madho remained in charge for only a short time before giving way to his son, Madan Singh  (see above).  These last remarks are by way of a commentary, and not an attempt to explain the one fact as being the result of the other.  (One of the rupees is in a private collection known to JL, and the other was photographed with the permission of the owner, in the normal course of trade.  The takka is known to us only from a photograph published in “Coins of Indian States” by P L Gupta and shown erroneously as a coin of Bundi.  These all fall in the period before Jhalawar was separated from Kotah, and are, therefore, coins of Kotah state and not Jhalawar.  They will, of course, be covered in the second part of this paper.  We have been unable to find evidence of the date of the closure of the mint at Shahabad.


             “The coins [with mint name Qila Shahabad] are not of [the usual] Kotah or Bundi mints, as rupees with similar RYs exist with the mint-name “Kotah urf Nandgaon” and “Bundi”.  The coins are identical to the typical coinage of Bundi-Kotah-Jhalawar [?] of that time.  According to the Financial Proceedings, the mint at Jhalra Patan was established in 1801AD and struck rupees with the mint name “Nandgaon” and after the creation of Jhalawar this name was replaced by “Jhalawar”.  The mint name on the coins in question can best be read “Qila Shahabad”, although the “he” of Shahabad is missing.  It is a reasonable conclusion that this is a product of the Shahabad mint, ..........” (Shailendra Bhandere, in unpublished correspondence)




            There remains the complication of several types of coins with regnal years after the reported closure of the Jhalra Patan mint, and it seemed to us at least a possibility that these are issues of the mint at Shahabad.  It was noted above that there are some coins with two dots beside the tip of the jhar, and others with none.  Our first conjecture was that the two dots might be a mark for the mint at Shahabad, because the later coins all have two dots.  However, all Nazarana coins (including type 18, if that is what it is) have two dots.  Since Nazarana coins are used for presentation and other ceremonial occasions, they are more likely to be in demand at the capital than at a provincial city a distance away.  It is reasonable to presume that such coins will be minted at the capital for a number of obvious reasons, not least the security of coins in transit.  Therefore, if the two dots are a mintmark, they are almost certainly the mark for the mint at the capital, Jhalra Patan.

            All coins of the later years have two dots, but Jhalra Patan mint was officially closed in 1892 AD, or RY.34.  Therefore, coins with regnal years higher than 34 must have been struck after the official closure of the mint that we are suggesting struck them.  Are there any documented instances of this occurring elsewhere in Rajasthan?  Well, yes there are.  Jodhpur mint closed officially in     XXXX  , but remained open for the production of gold, copper and ceremonial coins for some years longer. The mints at a number of other Native State mints, including Kishangarh, are also known to have produced coin for ceremonial and presentation purposes, long after they were officially closed.  Jhalra Patan mint probably never produced gold coins, but it did strike coppers.  Did the coppers continue in production after the mint closure in 1892?  No, they did not, as far as we know.  So this conjecture is unproven, and stands on very insecure ground, unless any of our readers knows differently.            .

            Table YY shows the regnal years on all coins known to the authors, separated into two sections, dependent on whether there are two or no dots beside the tip of the jhar.  Both types were struck in some years.  No doubt our colleagues will be able to add more entries to this table, and we would appreciate any information which would enable us to update it. All such material will be acknowledged, and if a sufficient quantity of new entries is forthcoming, we undertake to publish an updated table in due course.  There appears to be some connection between the fineness of engraving and breadth of flan with the number of dots, but many more coins will have to be examined and recorded before any conclusions can be safely drawn.

            According to the Financial Proceedimgs, January 1876 AD, referred to above, the Shahabad rupee was called the Nurwar, and so it may be that copies of the well-known Narwar rupees were at one time struck at Shahabad, which is about 80 miles (130 km.) from Narwar.  However, the authors know of no coins of that type with the mint name Shahabad.  If minting at Shahabad was continued after the establishment of the Jhalawar State in 1838 AD., it is possible that the same type of coins were struck there as were struck at the mint at Jhalra Patan and bore the mint name Jhalawar.  As suggested above, it is also possible that coins of type 14 continued to be struck there after the closure of the main mint at Jhalra Patan.  The mint name on these later coins is always off the flan, or is recognisable as part of the name “Jhalawar” very crudely inscribed, on all specimens known to the authors.  Therefore, no confirmation has been possible, and could only be envisaged if a very off-centred coin of that type were to be noted, bearing a sufficiently large part of the mint name “Qila Shahabad” to make its identification certain.