Kushan Inscription At Ladakh (India) & Shiva On Kushan Coins

Kushan Inscription At Ladakh (India)

~2000 yrs ago, Ladakh was ruled by शिवपूजक Kushan king Vima Kadphises (Father of Kanishka) as per his Inscription. • Place – Khaltse Village • Language – Sanskrit (?) • Script – Kharoshthi.

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Location of Khaltse Village in Ladakh (India)
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Information of Inscription

Inscription is of two lines only but contains name of the king as Uvima and year 184 or 187 (100+20+20+20+20+4+3?). With this info, king is identified as Kushan King Vima who was a devotee of Shiva. His devotion to Shiva is clear from his many coins.

Shiva On Kushan Coins

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Shiva on Coin of King Vima
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Coins of King Vima Depicting Shiva

In fact, Vima Kadphises was exclusively Hindu and Shaivite. He inscribed Shiva on all of his coins. No other deity was represented on his coins. Shiva is available on many coins (26%) of Kanishka, too.

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Gold Coins of Kanishka Depicting Shiva

Four armed Shiva holding Trishula, Damaru and the Deer are depicted in coins of Kanishka. Kushans worshiped Shiva, identifying him with their native Iranic deity Oesho. Shiva featured in the majority of Kanishka’s coins. Buddha was not minted by Vima Kadphises. Buddha is the least common of Indian deities to appear on Kanishka’s coins (1%).

Coins (Non Gold) of Kanishka depicting Shiva Just like Gold Coins

Buddha was COMPLETELY ignored on the coins of Kanishka’s successors Huvishka, Vasudeva and others. The later Kushans succeeding Vasudeva ignored the Iranic deities as well. They depicted only Shiva and Ardoksho (Lakshmi) on their coins. The transformation into Shaivism was complete.

References –

  1. Khaltse Inscription
  2. Shiva on Kushan Coins Info : https://twitter.com/BharadwajSpeaks/status/1467378969171218435
  3. Images – Internet

Published by Hiren Dave

Student of Sanskrit, History, Epigraphy, Literature and Indology contents.

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