Koh-i-Noor diamond has been a part of the crown of the Queen of England after the colonial British empire snatched it away from India; yet the earliest history of this iconic diamond is still shrouded in mystery.
It’s well documented journey starts from the time Allaudin Khilji defeated the Kakatiyas rulers of Telangana and took the diamond as part of its bounty. But where was the diamond when the Kakatiyas owned it? They were the ones who mined it from the Kollur mine, which back then was one of the only few such mines in the world.
So when I was in Warangal recently, I decided to make a visit to the temple which is also the oldest temple of the region. It was actually built in the 7th century by the Chalukya kings, much before the Kakatiyas ruled the region.
Unfortunately when Delhi sultanate took over the region, the Bhadrakali temple was also destroyed along with all the other temples. The eye of the goddess, Koh-i-Noor, traveled with the victors to Delhi and with that the journey of the diamond across the continents started. From Khilji it moved to the Mughals, then to the Shahs of Persia, followed by Afghans, Sikhs and finally to the British. The last legal owner, Ranjit Singh willed it to the Jagannath Temple of Puri. However, after his death the will was not executed and the British took it to their queen and made it a part of the crown.
From a journey that started from a temple, the diamond almost came back to another temple which is barely 100 km away from its original home. However, that never happened.
The present day temple was revived in the 1950s when a group of rich merchants came together to bring the temple back to life. Today it’s a thriving temple and visited my thousands every year.
The temple, also sometimes referred to as the Golden Temple of south India, is built in the traditional Chalukya style and one of the reasons to visit it would be to marvel at it's architectural beauty. Go during sunrise or sunset to see it glow during the Golden hour! It's a sight to behold.
Right next to the temple is a lake called Bhadrakali Lake, which makes for some lovely pictures. People are not allowed to step in or bathe in it's waters.
Finally, visit the temple to gaze over the beautiful image of goddess Bhadrakali and offer prayers. She is known to not send her disciples empty handed.