05. Mysterious Malhar Symbol
After having traced the Magha’s origin at Malhar, it would be pertinent to dwell on the mysterious “Angular Nandipada” or the Malhar Symbol. This is purely native to South Kosala as indicated by coin finds. Occurrence of this device had been rare elsewhere excepting perhaps on coins from Kausabi reported by Altekar (JNSI IV p.1 & JNSI VII p.7). The coins reported have been counter struck with Nandipada symbol. This is indicative of the period during which Maghas gained control over Kausambi. The ruler named ‘Pothamitra’ could have preceded Maghas thereat. Coming down to Malhar, we find coins of a king named Silalusiri (who could have been a Saka chief) immediately before the advent of Raja Maghashri (Ranjo Maghasirisa).We come across lead coins of the former king counter struck with the Malhar Device. We have one copper and four lead coins of Silalusiri with and without the so called mint mark. Instead of considering this device as a mint mark for Malhar, we could assume that, to begin with the Magha ruler used his initial letter ‘Ma’ for stamping the coins of the erstwhile rulers to indicate his suzerinity and used the same device for his own issues for smaller denominations.
This symbol is seen in all the coins from Malhar being used by (different or may be by the same dynasty) issues upto the 4th century AD.
A friend of mine, after examining my coins, was in favour of calling it a religious symbol – a Fire Altar. This can not, however, be ruled out. The rulers could have been fire worshippers.