25. On turning to the tables annexed to this chapter it will be seen at once  that  all,whether of India  or Ceylon has close family resemblance. For purpose of meteorology and numismatics, The Island separated from the mainland, the very names of many of the weights being derived from the Tamil, a fact sufficiently explained by geographical position, as well  as by the constant intercourse between the two countries. The tables differ in the values of (a) the panam and its synonyms discussed above ; and (b) the karsham and its equivalent. This last is always  the fourth of the palam. and thus corresponds with Manu’s karsha or suvarna, the designation perpetuated in the Sinhalese huna. In Ceylon the number of kalanjus in the palam varied with the article weighed from 8 to 10 or 12, and in the seventeenth century to 20. According to the Sinhalese commentary inserted in the medical  work Sarartha Sangraha, the first kind of palam is used in weighing all liquid poisons, the second all spices, the third all kinds of roots, it was this last which was employed by the goldsmiths. The different value of the Malabar karsham and its corresponding weights in the other tables is sufficiently accounted for by, this variations of the palam, which probably was not confined to Ceylon ; such is still found in the present commercial  tulam and param similar practice existed with regard to the ayamani, the first of these two weights, in Magadha  in the fourth century, before  Christ (Arthasastra, Appendix C, l).

Moggallana’s table, composed in the twelfth century, is in substantial agreement with the others but present certain notable differences. His value of pala is confirmed by the Tika of the contemporary Vinayantaha Manjusa, which incidentally states in the introduction that ten kalandas of sugar make a pala (eka palan nama das Kalanjanti vadanti) But his statement that five dharanas  are a Suvanna (and) five of these a nikkha. Has no counterpart in Southern usage. His table is Perhaps a compilation from various inconsistent sources.

It will be observed that the differentiates the nikkha from the pala. The equation of five suvvana  and one Nikkha  is found- in the Visakhaya vatthu in the tenth century Dampiya Atuve getapadaya, in th pali of Ummaga Jathikaya , and also in Yajnavalkya, where the pala ar nishka consists of 4 or 5  suvunnas. I am unable to check the source of the suvanna  of five Dharanas.Nishka in medical works is used as the Sanskrit equivalent of kalanju.

26. In Ceylon the seeds now generally employed by the people for weighing small quantities: medical preparations the those of the mavi [ Tamil,periyavellai) variety paddy ; they are not selected  for size, all of mature growth being accepted,

Jaffna 1,000 seeds 593.52  gr ., or 0.593 gr. a seed
Polonnaruva do 400.32 do          0.400 do
Matale do 46l.74  do          0.618 do

The weight of the manjadi ar madeta also seems to increase with the dryness of the locality  though it is difficult to account for the lack weight in the Polonnaruwa specimens :-

Average of Gr
Puttalam 70 4.28
28 4.60
selected by eye 4.40
Anuradhapura 800 selected by Gold smith 4.08
212 4.21
20 selected by eye 4.54
Polonnanwa 200 3.19
300 3.20
20 selected by eye 3.49
Matale 100 selected by a native doctor 3.46
60       do 3.51
Kegalla 100 3.27
30 selected by eye 3.6

These last agree with Daly’s- experiments , by which the madeta weighed between 3 and 3.9 grains.with an average of 3.6 grains (Interior Ceylon).The Gunja or Olinda seed also varies , the average of 30 from Kegalle being 1.82, of 400 from Tanamankaduwa (Pollonaruva).  1.590, and of 50 from Puttalam 1.65 grains.

The weight of the kalanda as obtained from the seeds tests is as follows:-


 Each Grains weight Kalanda weight inGrains
0.4617 87
0.4003 64.0
0.5935 94.96


Gr. Gr
3.60 72 4-28 85.6
3-51 70.24 4.60 92
3.M 4.4 88
3.19 63.98 4.08 81.74
3.20 64.03 4.2t 84.20
3.49 69.8 4.ffi 92.8

The light kalanda based on the paddy seed is thus slightly in excess of the lighter two derived from the madeta. with tThe light kalanda based on the paddy seed is thus slightly in excess of the lighter of the two derived from the madeta. We probably shall not be far wrong if we take the ideal weight as about Z0 to 72 grains,For the weight of the Sinhalese kalanda as actually used various tests exist, all, however, of modern times :-

(l) The Inventories do Thesouro do Rei de Ceyao of l55l gives 52 ½  calanjas  as equal to one mark ;the ” calanja ” therefore, was 67.457, and the ” mangelim “, 3.372 English grains.

(2) Nunes in his.Lyvro dos Pesos of 1554 gives underCeylon: 8 grains of rice= 1 mamgelim,

20 mamgelins = l calanja, and states that 8 calanjas 2 mamgelins equaled in weight one portuguez. This coin, according to M. B. L. Fernandes’ Memoria das Moedas correntes emPortugal (Lisbon,1856, was 712 ½  graos or 547.585 English grains. Thus, the .calanja  and the .mamgelins were 67.603 and 3.380 grains respectively.

(3) Knox (1660-1679) gives 20 ” red Berries ” or ” Seeds ” as equal to a collonda, of which.. six make just a piece-of-eight. and twenty a ” pallum ” (Historical Relation of Ceylon, Pt. III, Chap.VIII). If the piece-of-eight weighs 418-420 grains, the kalanda will be 69.9-7O and the madeta 3.48-3.5 grains. A forty-palam weight in theKandyMuseum weighs 8 lb. 1 ¾  oz. avoirdupois or 56,765.625 grains; the twentieth therefore is 70.957, and the seed  3.547 grains.

(4) A gold bowl in the Kandy Dalada Maligawa, presented in Saka 1713 (AD. 1791) by King Rdjddhirajasinha to secure merit for his queen, bears an inscription to the effect that it and its cover weighed 462 kalandas 9 mandetas. The bowl by itself weighs 23,547.125 grains ; the cover was said to be missing, but one used for another bowl, which, however, it did not fit, ,while of the exact size of the ,. bowl under discussion, weighs 7,049.5 grains, giving a total of 30,596,625 grains. The Madeta and kalanda should, therefore, weigh 3.308 and 66.160 grains. The bowl and cover, however, are . considerably worn, having been in use thrice daily. with few interruptions since the date of presentation.

5) The iraf of the stuiver piece of 1815, which weigh-ed 137 grains, is traditionally said to have been

(5) Half a Stiver piece of 1815, which weigh 137 grains, is traditionally said to have been used a kalanda weight, which accordingly is 68.5 grains. Three Dutch East India  Company duits or challies ” were and are still reckoned as two kalanda. In 1791, 160 of these coins, presumably in mint condition, were equal to theAmsterdam pound, yielding Kalanda.of.71.4grains: with the worn specimens in actual use this approximates to the weight of the British half stuiver.

(6)In Jaffna the majandi is selected so that 16 go to the Pagoda of 53.3grains; one and a quarter pagodas are reckoned as equal to a kalanju, which thus is 66.6 grains, Among native physicians it is variously counted as 1/96  pound or 2/5  rupee ; accordingly its value is 72.9 or 72 grains.The weight of the Ceylon kalanju is thus remarkably uniform from the sixteenth century onwards, and, judging from the so called lankeswara  coins (vide  Chapter V), was the same before the Tamil invasion of the eleventh century. The kalanju, now sometimes known to the Sinhalese as the maduru  kalanda is based on the heavier manjadi of 4-5 grains ; Valentyn mentions it about 1726 as equal  to 20 “Mangeli,” and in Dutch reckoning 11 ½ (lege112 ½ ) greyn, or 3 ¾  enjelzen, the kalanju thus being 89 end the manjadi-.4.45 grains. The Kalanju is now  generally relegated to the  practice of medicine, the one Cent piece of 72 9 grains usually being employed; it has been superseded elsewhere by the pagoda and the rupee.


AMRAKOSA, c A.D. 700

5           gunjas 1       mashaka
80             do. 16           do 1 suvarna, aksha or karsha
320           do 64           do 4       do. 1        Pala
32000       do 6400       do 400   do. 100     do 1      tula
640000     do 128000   do… 8000 do 2000   do 20     do 1 bhara


4 nenmani(grains of Paddy)or vlsatn 1 kupikuru
8       do 2    do 1  Mancadi
16     do. 4    do 2        do  1 Panattakukam
160   do 40  do 20      do. 10       do 1 kalancu
480   do 120 do 60      do 30       do 3    do 1 karshan
1929 do . 100    do. 120     do 12 do 4    do 1 Palam



4 ratis 1 cina
40 do 10   do 1  Marha
320 do 80   do 8   do I Pala

Abhidanappadipika [ Appendix – C]

4 viha (Paddy) 1 gunga
8 do 2 do  1 Masaka
20 do 5 do. 2 ½  do 1 Akkha
160 do 40 do 20 do 8 do I dharana
800 do 200 do 100 do 40 do 5  do 1 suvanna
1,600 do 400 do 200 do 80 do 10 do 2  do 1       Pala
25  do 5  do 1 Nikkha
100    do. I Tula
2,000 do 1 bhara

Yoganava (Appendix C)


8   Vi-ata (Paddy) 1      Madata
160      do 20      do I kalanda
480      do 60     do. 3 do 1 huna
1920    do 240   do 12 do 4 do I Palama
20        do  1      aka
160      do.  8         do  1    do

5 thoughts on “COINS and CURRENCY – CHAPTER I

  1. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.

    I know my readers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  2. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles
    for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested.

    Thank you!

  3. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s