Home Historical, Article History of the Koh-i-noor Diamond

History of the Koh-i-noor Diamond

Suprabhat Sen

A Mythological Look

The Koh-i-noor diamond is not only set in the books of Indian History. The history of the Koh-i-noor dates back to Hindu mythology as well, even having connections with Lord Krishna. Author William Dalrymple wrote in his book, “The history of Kohinoor”, that according to the two Puranas, the greatest of all gems was the legendary Syamantaka – the “prince of the gem star”. The two Puranas set the Kohinoor down as an important gemstone in the annals of Hindu mythology. However, it did not go by the name Kohinoor back then.

The author even said that the Kohinoor was earlier referred to as “Syamantaka”, and belonged to the Sun God before it was rewarded to human beings.

Since the Puranas may have been distorted over time, it is difficult to understand whether it was a diamond or a ruby. However, the mythological origins of the Syamantaka are quite strong and well-known in Hindu households.

The original owner of the Syamantaka was the Sun God. He was called Surya and the Syamantaka lent Surya the bright, blinding glare.

As per the Bhagavata Purana, the Yadava King of Dwarka, Satrajit, came before the Sun God. Satrajit was an ardent devotee of the Sun God and so, the Sun God appeared before him in all his glare. King Satrajit could not see Surya in all of his glare and so he asked Surya kindly to come in a less dazzling form. Surya understood the problem that Satrajit was facing. He opened the Syamantaka from his neck. Now, before Satrajit, stood a small figure with a burnished copper appearance – the Sun God, Surya – devoid of that blinding glare. Satrajit knelt and adored Surya. Happy with his devotee, Surya decided to reward the Syamantaka to King Satrajit.

When the king returned to his kingdom at Dwarka, people were almost frightened by his dazzle. They believed that the Sun God had come down and made a visit. But Krishna understood that the person was not Surya. It was actually the jewel Syamantaka which gave out that dazzling glow that surrounded King Satrajit.

Later in life, Satrajit’s brother got hold of the Syamantaka. One day, he went hunting, carrying the gem with him. However, an unfortunate incident befell him. While hunting a lion, he himself got killed. The lion took the gemstone in his mouth. Later on, Jambavan, the king of Bears, found the lion and killed him. He acquired the dazzling gemstone and gave it to his son as a toy.

The people of Dwarka did not know about the whereabouts of the missing brother of Satrajit. They began to suspect Krishna. Krishna must have wanted the Syamantaka and so, he killed Satrajit and took the gem with him. One day, even King Satrajit accused Krishna of murder and theft.

Krishna wanted to be absolved of any allegation and so, he decided to go to the forest where Satrajit’s brother went and follow the tracks. Eventually, the tracks showed Krishna that Satrajit was killed while hunting. He kept following the tracks and came to the cave of the lion. From then on, he eventually went to the lair of Jambavan, the bear king. Krishna noticed that the Syamantaka was with Jambavan. He asked kindly for the Syamantaka but Jambavan denied. When no amount of persuading worked, a great battle began between Krishna and Jambavan. After 28 days, Jambavan accepted his defeat, bowed down, and surrendered the Syamantaka to Krishna.

When Krishna returned to Dwarka bringing back the Syamantaka to its home, Satrajit was delighted. He offered his daughter Satyabhamma’s hand to Krishna. It was a happy marriage.

But even then, the Syamantaka lured greedy people. Once the wedding was over, Prince Satadhanna and his two brothers wanted to steal the gem. When they found out that Krishna was absent from the palace, they entered it, killed the king, and took away the Syamantaka. Princess Satyabhamma saw every event from her hiding. With tears in her eyes, she ran to Krishna and told him everything.

An enraged Krishna cut off the head of Satadhanna with his legendary Sudarshan Chakra.

And even now, Hindus equate the presence of the Koh-i-noor with the mythical Syamantaka gemstone.

But history, as we know, tells a different tale.

Image Credit: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/money”>Money photo created by Racool_studio – www.freepik.com</a>


Suprabhat Sen

A renowned jeweller from the City of Joy and a real estate firm owner. He had also graduated in Jewellery Designing. He is a collector of Antiques and he takes interest in Unique and Antique jewellery collection.







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