In Karnataka, Ashoka's missionary zeal was persuaded by the Chutus and Satakarnis and Budhism was about to set a strong foothold. But soon it received a set back when Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Talkad patronized Jainism thus bringing back Jainism to the Deccan. Jainism was promoted greatly by Samanta Bhadra and Akalanka. It was about 10th century AD, the Jainism must have made its headway in South Canara (Dakshina Kannada). The South Canara was mainly ruled by two dynasties namely Santaras and Alupas, and it is around the same time, they became very close with the matrimonial alliance between them. Udupi lies along the western sea coast near Mangalore of Karnataka. The region between Mangalore and Udupi were ruled by the Alupas. The Alupas were basically Jains in religion, but claimed their ethnic link to the Pandyas and they ruled under the common title "Sri Pandya Dhanamjaya". Historical evidence reveals that the Alupas ruled even much earlier than 7th century AD, but 11th to 14th century could be stated as the golden period of their rule.
The Alupas ruled Udupi and Mangalore under the suzerainty of Western Chalukyas and the Hoysalas, the era seemed to be prosperous as seen from their monetary economy. They ruled the kingdom from their capital town of Udhyavara, now located near Udupi, (after Kapu, between Mangalore and Udupi). After the downfall of the Hoysalas, the region was annexed to the Vijayanagara kingdom around 1336 and Alupas slowly faded as feudatories of Vijayanagara rulers.
The Pagodas and Fanams were the common coinage of all the Alupa kings. The obverse of the coins carried the royal emblem "Two Fishes" and the reverse had the legend "Sri Pandya Dhanamjaya" either in Nagari or old (Hale) Kannada. These coins were initially assumed to be of Pandya dynasty until Sri Mangalore Mukunda Prabhu deciphered them. The die variations of the coins and the gold purity are used as a reference to define the period of issue, but no explanation has been found on why did the gold purity go down along the time line.
The Alupas minted their coins at both Udupi and Mangalore. The coins with Kannada legends seems to have been minted at Mangalore whereas the Nagari legend comes from the Udupi mint. The initial issues contained more gold, and the latter issues are more debased. The dagger (commonly seen in the Vijyanagara coinage such as Vira Harihara, Bukka and Devaraya) in their coinage suggests that the kingdom existed even after the Vijaynagara kingdom absorbed the land of Hoysalas. The coins said to have been circulated as far as Cannanore, the southernmost district of Alupa kingdom.
LAST UPDATED 1st Nov 2001
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