Joint Coins of Prithviraj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori

Prithviraj Chauhan (r: 11??-1192) also known as Rai Pithaura was the king of Ajmer. In the second battle of Tarain in 1192, Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated by Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Bin Sam, otherwise known as Muhammad Ghori (r: 1173-1206), the governor of Ghazni, and afterwards the king of Ghor.

The obverse of Prithviraj Chauhan's coins features a horseman holding a lance to the right, along with the inscription "Sri Prithvirajadeva" in Devanagari script. On the reverse side, there is a depiction of a recumbent humped bull with the inscription "Asavari Sri Samanta Deva." These coins were typically made of billon and are commonly referred to as Dilliwals.

Join Coins of Prithviraj Chauhan and Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori:

After his victory, Muhammad Ghori issued many coins that followed the pattern of the Chahamana and Gahadavala coins. Some of these coins featured the name of Ghori on one side and Prithviraj on the other.

A Chahamana horseman-bull type coin issued by Muhammad Ghori

According to Cunningham, the occurrence of both Prithviraj and Ghori's names on the same coin indicates that Prithviraj had become a vassal of Ghori. Many scholars, including Dasaratha Sharma, share the belief that Prithviraj acknowledged Ghori's sovereignty after his defeat and minted coins that bore his master's name alongside his own.

It is not clear what happened to Prithviraj after the battle of Tarain in 1192. While some historians claim that he was taken prisoner, others suggest that he was captured and executed.

According to Tajul Ma'asir of Hasan Nizami, Prithviraj was captured during the battle, but his life was spared. The Rai, who had managed to secure his release, held a long-standing grudge against the Musalmans, which he kept hidden deep within his heart. Unfortunately, he was caught up in some sort of scheme, and as a result, orders were given for his execution. The only thing we know for certain is that Prithviraj was executed for reasons unknown, and his son was granted control of Ajmer as a tributary.

Numismatist P. L. Gupta rejects this theory of the joint rule. He argues that the joint coins are actually mules, which were the result of a mistake made by Ghori's mint officers. These officers mistakenly put Prithviraj's name on the obverse, which should have carried the Sultan's title Hammir. When the mistake was noticed, the issues were stopped, and fresh coins were made by replacing Prithviraj's name with the Sultan's title Hammir.

A. S. Altekar supports Gupta's view and adds that when officers of Ghori occupied Prithviraj's royal mint after subduing his kingdom, there were a large number of dies of Prithviraj showing the bull and Samantadeva on one side and horseman and Prithviraj's name on the other. Muhammad Ghori wanted to issue for his Indian subjects the coin type having the bull and the legend Samantadeva on one side and the horse man, and the legend Sri Hammir on the other. At the early stage when all the previous dies had not been removed from the mint, by mistake a mint employee may have put the obverse die of the earlier reign along with the reverse die of the new one. "The mistake must have been seen before half a dozen coins were issued and corrected immediately by putting the proper obverse die of the new reign", he observes.

The term mule refers to the manufacture of coins by dies of two different rulers of a dominion in the same mint. Similar coins were issued in India by the British bearing an obverse of William IV and a reverse of Victoria dated 1840, but they were struck in one mint. However, Ghori had several mints in India, and Gupta does not mention the minting place of these coins.

According to D. C. Sircar, it is highly unlikely that the mint officers of Ghori could have made such a strange mistake and taken considerable amount of time to detect it. 'Moreover, such a mistake on the part of a Hindu officer so soon after the overthrow of Hindu rule, must have been regarded as high treason by his Turkish master', he observes.

Interestingly, the joint coins featuring Prithviraj's legend have been written in different ways. Cunnigham's coin reads "Sri Prithviraja," while Thomas's reads "Prithvi" and H. N. Wright's "Sri Prithvirajadeva." This suggests that different obverse dies were used in the production of these coins, indicating that they were not made by mistake. Additionally, these coins varied in weight and size. Moreover, no coins of Muhammad Ghori with the word "Samanta Deva" have been discovered.

Thomas suggested that these joint coins may have been struck in the name of Prithviraj's son, under authority of the headquarters, for special circulation in his government. D. C. Sircar also thinks that a son of Prithviraj Chauhan, who was a tributary of Ghori, could have issued such coins in the name of both his present and former suzerains.

However, it appears improbable that a subordinate ruler would inscribe the name of his deceased father on his coins instead of his own. P. N. Singh highlights that if the joint coins were indeed issued by Prithviraj's son, then the name of the issuer should have been present on the coins as well.

Who Issued these Joint Coins?

According to H. N. Wright, the coin in question was likely issued by Muhammad Ghori as a symbol of his suzerainty over Prithviraj Chauhan. This coin represents a transitional period - one side bears the name of the conqueror, while the other side bears the name of the conquered Prithviraj. Later versions of the coin omitted Prithviraj's name entirely, instead featuring the words "Sri Hammir" in Nagari letters, which is equivalent to the Persian title "Amir" used by the Ghaznavid and Ghurid kings.

Kunwar Devi Singh believes that Muhammad Ghori chose to retain the name of Prithviraj on the coin for some time after his conquest, in order to maintain popularity in the newly conquered territory.

P. C. Roy suggests that the joint coins were issued by Muhammad Ghori, most likely from the Delhi mint. After conquering Ajmer and Delhi, Ghori may have considered issuing coins with the legend "Hammir" on the obverse and his name "Muhammad Sama" in Nagari characters on the reverse. However, he realized that a sudden change in the legends of existing coins would not be widely accepted. Therefore, he did not remove the obverse legend with the name of Prithviraj. Instead, he replaced the legend "Asavari Sri Samanta Deva" with "Sri Mahamada Sama." The use of Prithviraj's legend served his purpose of ensuring smoother circulation.

A Gahadavala goddess Lakshmi type coin issued by Muhammad Ghori

In the collection of N. M. Kansal lies a unique Lakshmi type gold coin, bearing the names Ghori and Prithviraj. This coin effectively negates the mule theory of P. L. Gupta, as there are no Lakshmi type coins in the Chauhan dynasty.

Ghori conquered the Gahadavala capital Kannauj after defeating Raja Jaichand in the battle of Chandawar in 1193. He then adopted the seated goddess Lakshmi type coins of the Gahadavalas for circulation, not only in their territories but also in Delhi and Ajmer.

The obverse of this coin features an Arabic inscription that reads 'Sultan Muhammad' and 'Bin Sam' written below it. On the right side, there is a Nagari inscription that reads "Prithvi." The reverse side of the coin depicts a rude figure of goddess Lakshmi, bordered by beads.

According to H. D. Pathak and N. M. Kanshal, the joint coins were issued by Muhammad Ghori to show his victory over Prithviraj in the battle of Tarain in 1192. These joint issues appear to be Ghori's earliest coins, as on his later issues, the legend of Prithviraj is replaced with Hammir.


The name of Chahadadeva appears on some coins of Iltutmish, alongside that of the Sultan.


The Coinage of Northern India: The Early Rajaputa Dynasties from the 11th to the 13th Centuries A.D. By Prafulla Chandra Roy

A Joint Issue of Muhammad Bin Sam and Prithviraja III By H. D. Pathak & N. M. Kanshal