At once, aspirational, devotional and captivating, gold has stood at the core of all things Indian. But, like all things truly Indian, the love of gold didn’t happen by chance. It sits at the very foundation of Indian mythology, history and Hinduism.
According to Vedic belief, Lord Brahma was born from gold. It is believed, that the creator dropped a seed into the water when the world was still dark and lifeless. This seed turned into a radiant golden egg, said to mirror the brightness of the sun itself. And, from this golden egg emerged Lord Brahma or Hiranyagarbha, ‘the one born from gold’.
Sacred Hindu texts also tell of gold being the seed of Agni – the Fire God. One of the most revered and invoked gods of Hinduism, Agni is believed to have consummated with water through pure gold. And so, gold stands at the pinnacle of purity, deity and power. Through the ages, gold has marked the most sacred and auspicious Indian ceremonies. From birth to marriage, and beyond, it is used as a symbol of blessing and prosperity across Indian tradition and culture.
Gold is thought to have first appeared in ancient India as far back as 100 BC. It was bought, hoarded and displayed by kings and gods alike as a show of wealth, affluence and power. Wars were waged, kingdoms pillaged, and dynasties toppled, all for the captivating allure of gold.
Even the founding of the Mughal empire in India is believed to have been rooted in the enigma of gold. According to Babur’s journal, “the one nice aspect of Hindustan is that it is a large country with lots of gold”. It became his primary reason for invading India, toppling the rule of Ibrahim Lodi and changing the course of Indian history forever.
Gold continues to hold sway over the length and breadth of India with the country consuming about a fifth of the world’s supply. Its glitter touching every aspect of Indian tradition, culture and economy in ways so intrinsic that it is ubiquitous.
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