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Kahapana was the name of an ancient Indian coin. It was either made of copper, silver, or gold. Their shape was round or rectangular. In Sanskrit it was also called Purana , in English it is now called elding .

Kahapanas are mentioned in early Buddhist literature, but their role as a means of payment on the Indian subcontinent of antiquity has also been proven by excavations.


The story of the cat (Babbu-Jataka) of the Pali Canon tells of a rich mouse who worshiped the Buddha so much that she brought him a kahapana every day, from which the Buddha bought meat for her. With this very meat she bought herself free from the clutches of cats.


The Mahavansha , a Pali chronicle of the kings of Sri Lanka, reports on King Dutugamunu , who lived from 161 to 137 BC. Should have ruled. Dutugamunu paid 800,000 gold hirannas as wages to build a palace, which corresponds to 6,400,000 kahapanas.


The Kahapanas found are made of hammered silver. Your weight varies. 3.73 grams are assumed as a guide. Kahapanas can be seen in the Coin Museum of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.


  • Johannes Mehlig (Ed.): Buddhist fairy tales . Insel Verlag Anton Kippenberg, Leipzig 1982, ISBN 3-458-16252-6 .

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