Thursday, June 3, 2010
The origin of the diamond is unclear, although rumors abound. According to some sources, the Koh-i-noor was originally found more than 5000 years ago, and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings under the name Syamantaka.[original research?] According to some Hindu mythological accounts, Krishna obtained the diamond from Jambavantha, whose daughter Jambavati later married Krishna. The legend says that the diamond was from the Sun God to Satrajith (father of Satyabhama) which produces 1000 kg of gold daily. Krishna got the blame of stealing the diamond from Satrajith's brother who is killed by a lion which in turn was killed by Jambavantha. Satrajith had alleged that "Krishna probably killed my brother, who went to the forest wearing the jewel on his neck." Krishna, to restore his reputation, fought a fierce battle with Jambavan and gave the stone back to Satrajith. Now being ashamed with himself Satrajith offered his daughter's hand to Krishna along with the stone. Krishna accepted his daughter Satyabhama's hand but refused to take the Syamantaka.
Historical evidence suggests that the Kohinoor originated in the Guntur region of Kakatiya kingdom, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, one of the world's earliest diamond producing regions. This region was the only known source for diamonds until 1730 when diamonds were discovered in Brazil. The term "Golconda" diamond has come to define diamonds of the finest white color, clarity and transparency. They are very rare and highly sought after.
The diamond was mined in the Kollur mines near the village Paritala in the present day Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.The diamond became the property of Kakatiya kings. The Khilji dynasty at Delhi ended in 1320 A.D. and Ghiyas ud din Tughluq Shah I ascended the Delhi throne. Tughlaq sent his commander Ulugh Khan in 1323 to defeat the Kakatiya king Prataparudra. Ulugh Khan’s raid was repulsed but he returned in a month with a larger and determined army. The unprepared army of Kakatiya was defeated. The loot, plunder and destruction of Orugallu (present day Warangal), the capital of Kakatiya Kingdom, continued for months. Loads of gold, diamonds, pearls and ivory were carried away to Delhi on elephants, horses and camels. The Koh-i-noor diamond was part of the bounty. From then onwards, the stone passed through the hands of successive rulers of the Delhi sultanate, finally passing to Babur, the first Mughal emperor, in 1526.
The curse of the Koh-i-Noor
It is believed that the Koh-i-Noor carries with it a curse and only when in the possession of a woman will the curse not work. All the men who owned it have either lost their throne or had other misfortunes befall them. The British are wary of this curse and so far, only Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have adorned the gem as sovereigns. Since Queen Victoria the diamond has always gone to the wife of the male heir to the throne.
The possibility of a curse pertaining to ownership of the diamond dates back to a Hindu text relating to the first authenticated appearance of the diamond in 1306: "He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity."
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