Bundi is located in northwest part of Rajasthan. It was founded by the Chauhan Rajput, Rao Dewa in 1342 AD. The Rajputs of Bundi were called ‘Rao’ but they were later titled as ‘Raja’ by the Mughal. This state faced most oppression by the Maratha’s powers like Holkars and Sindhias till the 19th century. It came under British control in 1818 and remained so until 1947 AD.
Maharao Raja Ram Singh grew up to be a much respected ruler who initiated economic and administrative reforms and established schools for the teaching of Sanskrit. On the throne for 68 years, he was described as a grand specimen of the Rajput gentleman and “the most conservative prince in conservative Rajputana.
Bundi was one of the smaller princely states of India. In the early 19th century, it accepted British protection – and from 1858 onward, the coins of Bundi carried the name of the local ruler (Ram Singh) together with the British ruler – Victoria, Edward VII and George V respectively.
Ram Singh issued gold, silver and copper coins in the name of Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah II but later it bears the name of British monarch. These coins reperesent the various symbols such as Katar, flower, tree and seated figure holding Katar. Legends inscribed on these coins are in Devanagari, Roman, and Persian script.
Unlike other coins of modern age, which are milled, coins of Bundi were hammered – making the quality uneven – with the impression not falling on the planchet completely. The silver rupee of Bundi was thicker than the standard British India rupee, with a lower diameter – 21-2 mm vs. 30-31 mm, and slightly lighter – 10.6-10.7 grams instead of the 11.66 grams.
Bundi was a small princely state with a population of less than 1 million, so fewer coins were minted. As a result, these coins are very hard to find.
Princely state coins used to follow this practice – name of local ruler on one side, and the British ruler on the other side. Bundi silver rupees bear the names of Victoria, Edward VII and George V.