A name given to both a gold and silver coin current in Madras, Chandergerry, and many parts of Southern India. For an extensive history of the derivation of the term see Thurston (p.11).
The Tamil name is Varaha, i.e., a boar, due to the circumstance that some of the older types had on the obverse the figure of this animal. The Hindustani name of the Pagoda is Hun, a word probably derived from Honnu, the Kanarese name for the half Pagoda. See Pana.
The modern Pagoda can be traced to the early part of the seventeeth century and among the more prominent varieties are the Lakshmi, the Swami, the Star, and the Porto Novo Pagoda, all of which are separately referred to.
The divisions of the Pagoda are usually computed as follows:
20 Kas = 1 Fels.
4 Falus = 1 Fanam.
42 Fanams = 1 Pagoda.
"But," says Codrington (p.121), "owing to attempts made by orders to equalize the currencies of the Presidencies, the relative value of the coins became altered, and we have copper coins of Madras with a variety of legends stating their value."
The French equivalent, Pagode, is applied to a gold coin struck in the reign of Louis XV for Pondichery. See Zay (p. 298).
The Dutch introduced the Pagoda at Paliakate in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and rated it at one hundred and twenty Sous. Tavernier, in his Voyages , Paris, 1676, describes it.
Source: Frey's Dictionary (American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. 50, 1916)