Sunday, 21 April 2019

Lord Kallazhagar getting into the Vaigai river in Madurai, a great temple festival of Tamil Nadu - 2019

Lord Kallazhagar entering the Vaigai river in Madurai, The Hindu
Madurai: Lord Kalazhagar getting into vaigai river.
There is no dearth of Hindu temple festivals in India and almost every month there will be some kind of temple festival associated with certain popular Hindu temples, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The third largest city in TN - Madurai is synonymous with three important  tourist attractions plus pilgrimage. The famous Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple associated with Meenakshi-Sundarar thirukalyanam (celestial wedding), Perumal Kallazhagar getting into the Vaigai river as part of his sojourn in this city to  attend the celestial wedding and the third being Tiruparamkundram close to Madurai, one of the six abodes of Lord Karthikaya (Murugan). The month of Chitrai  (April -May) marks the celebration of many Hindu temple festivals that are held with devotion, despite the hot summer heat and sultry weather conditions.
Madurai city. location map.
The entry of Lord Kallazhagar into Vaigai river, the highlight  of the annual Chitrai festival in Madurai,  was a unique event  held with grandeur and festivities. This particular festival has been around for centuries far beyond the colonial period. It was a popular event during the great rulers of Pandya.  This is an ancient city that has been around before 3rd century  and it also goes by the name of Koodal Nagar. Koodal  refers to an assembly or congregation of scholarly people, implying  the three Tamil Sangams held at Madurai. According to  Iravatham Mahadevan, a 2nd-century BCE Tamil-Brahmi inscription refers to the city as matiray, an Old Tamil word meaning a "walled city". This year, lakhs of people attended this annual event that took place during the election time (election to the Delhi Parliament). No doubt, the people occupied the  vantage space close to the river Vaigai where traditionally Kallazhagar  of Azhagarkovil (close to Madurai) would get into the river to cross it. This year because of inadequate rain, the river bed was dry and this helped the devotee watch the Lord on the horse mount closely.
Earlier, the deity from his abode in  Azhagarkoil hills  reached Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple in Tallakulam here on Tuesday night. On the early  Wednesday morning lord Kallazhagar mounted on a golden stallion, accompanied by his  countless devotees along with dance groups and  music, began  his long journey to the river. Dressed in fine silk, the idol looked impressive and  hundreds of devotees  physically carried the  huge mount with the lord. Around 6.20 am the  lord entered the Vaigai river and  he was received by Lord Veera Raghava Perumal from the temple in South Masi Street at the  makeshift Mandapam put up  on the Vaigai river bed for the event. Soon after the rituals at the Mandapam, the huge procession  moved over to Ramarayar Mandapam for the theerthavari ceremony. Here,  thousands of devotees dressed as Lord Kallazhagar and Pathinetampadi Karuppu  sprayed water at the Lord as per tradition. This is an unbroken tradition and lots of them do it with religious fervor.
The areas surrounding Goripalayam and Tallakulam,  were charged with devotion as they happened to be procession routes. To cover wider audience, the  district administration had set up 16 LED screens at various spots in and around the area for the devotees to witness the event.

 Alagar Koyil TempleMadurai Tour Packages
Drinking water and mobile toilet facilities had been set up at many places for the benefit of the people. But the crowd was a huge one. However, the police and the government agencies did their best to make it  a memorable festival.  Indeed, the entire city was in a state of religious frenzy and it showed that how much emotional and religious attachments the people of this old city have for the Lords Kallazhagar (Vishnu) and Sunderer (lord Shiva).

Thanjavur Big temple Car festival: a great event that was revived in 2015

Thanjavur big temple, flag hoisting, chitrai festival.
Hindu Temple cars are chariots  with a strong  well- carved wooden base and they  are used to carry representations of Hindu gods (utchavars) around the temple streets. The cars are taken out from the shed and are  used on annual festival days called 'Ther Thiruvizha' ( in Tamil), during which countless people gather around and pull the heavy  decorated chariots with a colorful canopy.  This festival is also referred to  as Ratha Yatra in states like Odisha; ex. Puri jagannath Rath Yatra.
rich carved stone chariot,the Vittala Hindu temple.Hampi Karnataka Depositphotos

The annual Chitrai festival at Thanjavur Big temple dedicated to lord Shiva (Brigatheeswarar) commenced with flag hoisting here  recently. The  procession of temple chariot is part of the annual festival and it was held recently  on April 16, exactly two days before the election to the Parliament and to the state assembly of TN for 17 seats only that fell vacant on account of a Judicial court order, Madras High Court, Chennai.
Thanjavur car festival Hinduism Today
As temple tradition has it, the festival flag was taken out in a procession through the four  main streets of Thanjavur, TN and  later hoisted in the flag pole (Dwajasthambam)  at the Big temple just across the  main shrine by the  Sivachariyars amidst chanting of hymns between 7 and 8 am. Prominent citizens and temple officials were present during this important  event at the temple.  'Deepa' worship was also performed to the flag mast. Earlier, a special puja and abishekam were performed to Peruvudaiyar (Shiva Lingam) in the garbagriha/ sanctum sanctorum.

The chariot festival of the ancient Brihadeeswarar temple was held  at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu in April, 2015 after a long hiatus of  100 years. For unknown reasons, the car was damaged during the late colonial period and for 100 years the people of Thanajavur missed the Therottam (Chariot run).  This 1000 plus year  old temple made entirely of granite rocks was built by the great Chola King Raja Raja II and it is a world heritage site recognized by the UNESCO.  This year the car festival was attended by about 100000 people  who came from near-by villages. The 45 plus ton chariot with a sturdy wooden base was specifically made on orders from the then late CM Ms. Jayalalitha.
It took over 30 sculptors and 15 months to craft the chariot  as per temple specification and the trial run was held a couple of days  before the main event in 2015.  The late CM thus fulfilled the long pending demands of the people from this city. 

Just like earlier years, the people said this year's event was a grand one. The decorated chariot with the Utchavar idols stated off  at 6 am from the base on West Main Street opposite to Sankara Mutt and passed through all the main street and finally reached the base in the afternoon. As the traffic near the big temple is heavy the big temple is not a base for the temple car. So, the festival idols have to be taken all the way from the main temple to the Chariot's base on the West Main street. Before the journey began, special puja and deepa aradhana had been done by the temple priests. Ardent devotees pulled the giant ropes tied to the chariot and kept it moving carefully around the streets. An amazing feature is the devotees attended this grand annual event despite the sultry weather and hot summer heat.
After the event, the wooden base of the chariot will be kept in a shed made of transparent thick plastic  sheets
all around so that devotees and tourists can see it from out side the enclosure.

A naked cop and the sensational arrest of a nude drug lord in a sauna in Sweden!!

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Quote: “I'm dut  Quotefancy
Fugitive and the cop in a spa, Sweden.
Being a cop is not an easy job, particularly in a country, where the crime rate is very high. Besides physical and mental endurance, as the job involves control of law and order in a civilian society, social unrest, riots, robbery,  arresting criminals and killers, drug peddlers, etc., a police officer  has to have additional skills such as presence of mind, patience, ability to keep working on certain criminal cases including the ones that have gone  cold.  We have  often heard and seen  cops tailing the criminals in a high  speed car chase, physically running after the culprits with police dogs to pin down the hard-core cons who are dangerous to deal with.  We also do hear cops going incognito, for example wearing the Santa Clause dress to  outsmart criminals who may be in the same guise of the old man from the north pole during the Christmas holidays.
In Florida, a man wearing Santa Claus dress was selling drugs.
In  Sweden, a dutiful police officer did a different thing that other cops would hesitate to do. I have never ever heard of any   cop  stories of busting a tough and violent criminal in this particular fashion.  Please read it below ..............
On 29 March 2019 the daring  Swedish Police officer went one step further and arrested the drug lord without his police regalia. Surprised? Yes, undeterred by the risk involved to his own safety, with guts and  and cool mind  he arrested the con while they were both in the nude in a spa.

Christoffer Bohman, deputy police chief in the Stockholm district of Rinkeby, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT: "By a coincidence, and rather amusingly, they both recognized each other in the sauna.
"It's easier to take action when you have your colleagues with you, and all your tools and equipment''. Police spoke woman Carina Skagerlind said the officer was off-duty relaxing in a spa and he never expected the arrest of a con right there.

A post on the official Polisen Rinkeby police department's Facebook page praised the officer for his bravery, in the sense, barring everything to fulfill his police duty. It mentioned: "To our dear colleague who kept your head cool when it was heating up to a potentially dangerous situation, despite being on your day off and relaxing in a spa''. It was a tight situation finding himself boxed in a packed sauna with a tough criminal in a stem room. Surprisingly, both were in Adam's dress and, as the saying goes, the good prevailed over the evil. The  nude cop arrested the  naked drug lord without any untoward incident.
Cops and caveman CartoonStock
The fugitive, who had dodged a jail sentence for aggravated assault, among other offences was finally netted in a stem tub. What a strange way to effect an arrest, a cop and a  fugitive with no cloths on!! Mind you if you are a con at large, there is no way you can remain uncaught by the long arm of the law in Sweden. Not even sitting naked in a sauna.  Perhaps not even the scuba-diving will guarantee the cons' safety!!

Friday, 5 April 2019

Stolen jewels of Uppiliappan Kovil, Tamil Nadu: HR & CE promptly took action on their own staff!!

.. Sri Oppiliappan Temple, Tamil Nadu temple Advisor
 In the first week of April 2016, an Executive Officer of the Vadapalani Subramaniya swamy temple in Chennai city, TN was arrested  by the state government's CB-CID officers for the theft of gold jewels and gemstones including valuable diamonds to be worn by the deities (utchavers) during the temple festivals at the Uppiliappan temple, a Vaishnavite shrine at Tirunageswaram near Kumbakonam, Thanjavur district.
Sri Oppiliappan Temple, Tamil NaduTemple Advisor
A case had been  registered by the CB-CID on a complaint lodged by the Executive Officer of the temple who mentioned that gold jewels and valuable precious stones were tampered with and replaced by fake ones during the tenure of the Executive officer. As it was a  serious crime committed on the temple premises, involving jewels normally worn by the procession deities (Utchavars) during the festival times, the crime branch stepped in quickly  to get to the bottom of the case. Further, additional pressure was given by a detailed enquiry conducted by the Joint Commissioner of the Hindu a Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department and it it helped speed up the investigation. One person having been already arrested, the enquiry  led to the arrest of the Executive officer who was with a Chennai temple on transfer. The local police had swung into action to retrieve the stolen temple jewels based on the information given by the accused.
Uppiliappan with Markandeya and Bhudevi at
 The culprits used a simple modus operandi before the start of a major temple festival.  Under the pretext of melting the old gold jewels to make a gold shield  for the god, they initiated  the process of melting the gold and later replaced the old jewels with fake ones. The offenders' assumption was that, during the hectic festival times, no officials  would notice the fake ones because their preoccupation would be on the successful conduct of the temple festivals and crowd control. This theft was well planned and executed with meticulous care.
Hindu temple robbery.

This illegal  operation, though done on a low key level, it  raised the suspicion of some  dedicated and duty-bound officials. Based on their observation,   the HR & CE Department ordered a probe by a Joint Commissioner.  As the investigation intensified the officials tracked down,they were surprised that  the brainchild of this daring temple robbery was the Executive officer. Though he was arrested, the police were trying to flush out the other suspects who were either at large or had  reminded   unexposed.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Theft of Hindu idols in Tamil Nadu and safety precautions taken by the state government and ASI

stolen ancient Hindu idols. smuggled abroad. Times of India
I have neither read any media news  nor heard of  large scale theft of idols of Hindu deities in other parts of India other than Tamil Nadu, a haven for idol thieves and smugglers.
Temple thefts do occur in other states in India  and it is not on a scale that we find in Tamil Nadu where the temple officials wantonly commit the crime, unmindful of the sanctified place, involving divinity revered by the Hindu devotes. The nabbing of a two member gang for idol theft by Rachakonda police, Telengana  and the Panchkula temple (Haryana state)  jewelry theft may  be worth  mentioning.  The large scale theft of  ancient temple metal idols steeped in history  in the last one decade or so in Tamil Nadu is a sad news and, the culprits in most cases, operate in collusion with  the  shameful officials of the HR & CE - Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment, an arm of the  Tamil Nadu government that controls more than 37,000 Hindu temples, their antique and valuable  jewelry collections, and vast movable and immovable properties.  In 1923, during the colonial rule. Madras Hindu Religious Endowments Act was passed by Madras Presidency.  It was in 1925, the Government constituted "The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board" consisting of a President and two to four Commissioners nominated by the Government to function as a statutory body.  In 1960, modifications were made  and  it became The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department  (HR & CE) by Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act XXII of 1959 which came into force with effect from 1 January 1960. It was the Justice party that ruled the government then   first put the  Hindu temples under the government control and this was done to avoid mismanagement of temple properties, etc by certain local unscrupulous, influential  rich men.  
In the last few years several higher-ups in the HR & CE department had hoodwinked the public and stolen highly valuable idols and jewelry worth crores of rupees from the holy temples. They  were meant for the international market for a hefty price. The officials who  are supposed to be the guardians and custodians of the Hindu temples, have turned to be much worse than Sicilian mafiosi, swindling public properties for personal gains. Good examples are the temple jewelry of Uppiliappan kovil (near Kumbakonam: vide The Hindu, dtd. 8 April 2016) that were replaced with fake ones and    Kanchipuram Ekampareswarer temple (vide 'Swarajya', dtd 15 March 2019) where  the officials tampered with  two essential utchavar idols weighing  110 kg gold and  misappropriated  the gold.  The unpalatable matter is both criminal offenses  were committed by senior officials of HR & CE, in the latter case, the culprit was the former HR & CE commissioner. In both cases the  offenders and their accomplices are behind the bar. Thanks to the crime branch of the Tamil Nadu Government for their sweeping action to bring the cheats to face punishment.  No doubt there are   countless dedicated  and god-fearing staff in the HR & CE, because of a small  group of wolves who seem to have atheist orientation, the entire department has earned the displeasure of the Hindu community in this state. It is unfortunate that people and media reports point out that such people who steal temple properties and idols have neither scruples nor  have respect for the Hindu religion. These offenders who are  believed to be anti- Hindu or not religious  are responsible for losing our  valuable ancients treasures that carry heritage value.In this regard, they are as bad as anti nationalists. In the case of icon center at the Tyagaraja Swamy temple, Tiruvarur, though  officials installed an elaborate system to safeguard the precious idols,  some  temple staff  remain as vulnerable as ever and thefts do occur. So, when the idols of different temples are taken out  and brought back after  temple festivals at the respective places,  elaborate check is made with the help of temple priests and others by the security officers from the Idol Wing CID and ASI. Besides, they also verify the antiquity of the idols from the knowledgeable priests. Somasundara Gurukkal, the priest of Thirukottaram temple mentioned about his temple idol, "This is Villendhivelan. Lord Muruga is holding a bow and such depiction could be seen in very few temples". It is a rare  ancient idol. About the Nataraja idol he said, ''We have a Nataraja statue bigger than what is in the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple''.  This is routinely done at the icon center to keep an eye on the idol.

As for the Idumbeswarar temple near Kumbakonam, for instance, an old temple priest  of that temple was shocked when he found the ancient Manickavasagar idol  had been replaced by a replica made just a few years ago. Likewise, in Pandanallur, 62 idols in the Pasupatheeswarar temple  built by Chola King Kulotunga-I, had been been found to be of recent origin. What happened to the ancient metal idols. They disappeared over a period of time and the lethargic  temple officials would have been either careless or purposely overlooked the offense.  Well-known Archaeologist R. Nagaswamy has noted, “Pandanallur is referred to as Viruthiraja Payankara Vazhanadu. The term speaks for its wealth. How could idols, less than 100 years old, gain entry into such an ancient temple?”.

Responding to the  the directives of a Division Bench of the Madras High Court, comprising Justices R. Mahadevan and P.D. Adikesavalu, on a petition filed by Mr. Pon Manickavel, the Idol Wing-CID and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are checking the antiquity of idols that are currently stored at the Icon Centre in Thiyagarajaswamy temple in Tiruvarur. Advanced X-ray fluorescence analyzer (XFR) and other techniques are used by the Central government scientists to  find out the composition  of the metal idols and their age. Idols with more bass mean they are from different periods. Normally, copper is the main component, followed by tin, lead. zinc and traces of iron and phosphorus. The results are obtained in a jiff to find out whether the ancient idols are real one or tampered with by the crooks. The good news is last year in June, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had begun to take the first step in the right direction to put down the plundering and tampering of temple idols, jewels, etc by starting the headcount of more than one lakh (100000) ancient metal idols kept at various temples. The ASI needs additional staff to carry on this mammoth survey as it is a time-consuming one.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Azhi Ther - massive temple chariot of Tiruvarur (Tamil Nadu), Tyagaraja temple 2019

Thyagarajaswamy Temple: Ther (Car) festival of Thiruvarur TripAdvisor
Today (first of April, 2019) a popular car festival takes place at Tiruvarur town, the district capital of Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu. This  temple festival  is part of Paguni Uthiram and the Azhi Ther (big chariot) of Sri Tyagaraja Swamy (Lord Shiva) temple attracts lots of devotees. People  in lakhs from this district and other parts of Tamil Nadu  will converge at the venue to participate in this spiritual event. This festival, also called Azhi Therotam is  very old and the Tamil Savite saints like Appar, Sundarar, et al  mentioned about this important festival that is held in the month of Panguni. There is an old saying in Tamil about the chariot: "Thiruvarur Ther Azagu".  The sight  of the temple car moving  slowly along the broad streets  is quite inspiring in an atmosphere charged with utmost devotion and bhakti.
Tiruvarur Azhi Ther- temple chariot

. Thiruvarur Sri Thiyagarajar Big Temple East RajagopuramFlickr
This huge chariot, believed to be one of the few giant  temple cars in India  will be pulled by devotees in thousands and it will go around the four streets adjacent  to the temple. The journey will begin around 7 am and the chariot will return to the temple in the same  afternoon.  What is so unique about this chariot? It is a missive one weighing as much as around 400 tons, base alone weighs 220 tons  and additional decorations, canopy, etc add up extra weight. Including the canopy, the temple car stands  roughly 96 feel tall with a wide platform  (35 feet) that carries the presiding deities of the temple. The base of the wooden car is roughly 30 feet tall and is intricately  carved with impressive small images of gods and goddesses. There are scenes  depicted from the holy Hindu  scriptures.   Pushing and stopping such a huge car is a tough one and a special hydraulic break-system is provided for safety purpose. Besides, bulldozers in the back of the chariot give the additional push to help the devotees  pull the giant ropes with considerable ease.   It was in 1988 steel wheels were fixed to bear the enormous weight as part  of major restoration work. Prior to last year car festival, there was a big gap because the entire chariot underwent renovation at a cost of Rs. 2 crores. The original Azhi Ther was severely damaged due to a freak fire accident in 1922 and the chariot was rebuilt later. After 1848, Azhi Ther, for unknown reasons, stopped running. Only after 1988 the temple car began to run during the Punguni Uttiram festivals.

An interesting fact about the temple  is befitting the huge temple  car, it  owns more than 1000 acres of fertile land and   centuries old temple tank, one of the largest in India covering 15 acres  with a mandapam dedicated to Naganathar  at the middle of the tank. The water in the tank never dries  as it is replenished by several  underground springs below. Even if there has been a dry spell with no rain, the temple tank is not affected. I have heard  the people say that the  temple itself has a vast collection of iyempon (made of five metals ) idols of various deities and besides, there is an icon center functioning in the temple for the past several years. This center has a vast collection of metal idols from many parts of Tamil Nadu for safe custody.  

The main deity in the temple is Tyagaraja  (lord Shiva) and his consort is Kamalambika.  Here, Kamalambika is perpetually praying to lord Shiva, who is believed to be in trance. Here prayer  to marry the lord remains unfulfilled. In this respect there is a Tamil saying quite prevalent locally. '' Kallu ther odinaal, Kaalamadu Paal kodutha, Kamalalayam Vathi ponaal , Kamalambikavikku kalyanam'' (meaning: ''If the stone chariot (ther)  could run, if an ox could produce milk and  if Kamalalayam could get dried up, only then  will  Kamalambika  be married"). This signifies the perennial nature of the tank and how ingeniously the  ancient builders of this vast temple had planned this temple tank.
On this day, lord Tyagaraja with his consort ''Kondi'' (Parvathi) comes out of the temple and bless the devotees who take so much pain to visit his abode  all through the year  to get his blessings.,_Tiruvarur

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Lady Emelda Marcos' famous pink diamond that is rarely mined nowadays

Pink Diamond from the collection of  first lady Imelda Marcos Reuters
 Diamond is a symbol of  lasting love  and care normally presented by romantic  rich man to  his wife or girl friend. Equally impressive is the fact it is  highly valuable and also a symbol of power and wealth. In the case of color-diamonds, its aura is amazing.  Among the color diamonds, the one with pink color is a rare  and is a valuable possession.
Pink diamonds  are classified under the subcategory of diamonds called fancy color diamonds. This subcategory consists of any diamonds that exhibit any sort of color and it is often believed such colored diamonds are in  in demand  among the very rich people as possession of valuable diamonds is a symbol of  aristocracy and affluence. To the ordinary people who can not dream of such costly diamonds, it is a symbol of arrogance and vanity. There are records of Pink diamonds  with internally flawless clarity and among them one is known to be completely flawless,  and it goes by the name of  Pink Dream after it is diverted to Southey's of England. 

Color, clarity, cut and carat weight are the main criteria used to grade the pink diamonds. Of them, color is the main parameter in grading and determining its value, not to speak of the size of the diamond.  However, size is an important consideration in a pink diamond's value. A higher  value will be fixed if the pink diamond is larger  and has impressive color.  Among famous pink diamonds, the Daria-i-Noor is the largest pink diamond in the world,  weighing  at 182 carats; together with the Noor-ul-Ain, it is the oldest known pink diamond, both belonging to the Iranian crown jewels.  Both came from the Kollur Mines near Guntur, now part of  Telengana state, India.  The other  pink diamond is
the Pink Star, at 59.60-carats, this type  of diamond is the largest vivid pink diamond in the world. Pink diamonds can occur in  various hues ranging from brown-pink to purple-pink, although pink can also be a modifying color in other diamond colors and they are assessed based on their  hue, saturation and tone. 
The Argyle Mine is the main in the world's, producing  pink diamonds, and  unlike GIA, a special classification system is being followed  for  grading the diamonds from this mine. According to the GIA, More than 80% of pink diamonds display fluorescence and  and if they  don not display fluorescence, they  will  either fetch low value and may be considered as fake.
Imalda Marcos  Former Philippines first ladyGEMKonnect
Pink diamonds  are produced from   Brazil, Russia, Siberia, South Africa, Tanzania and Canada. However,  Pink diamonds were first discovered in India, in the Kollur mine (it was part of the Golconda kingdom), one of two of the earliest known diamonds are thought to have originated. Concurrently, and throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Pink diamonds were being discovered  in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. Today  80% of the world's pink diamonds are now mined in the Argyle mine in Kimberley, Western Australia. It is reported that out of the mine's 20 million carat annual output, only 0.1% are classified as pink diamonds.  Unlike the past, the present pink diamonds are small in size after  cutting and polishing. So, pink  diamonds are rare now.
Pink diamond PressReader
In the last week of November 2015 a rare 25-carat, barrel-shaped pink diamond   was referred to  Christie’s auction house for appraisal. It was found   among the  vast jewelry collection of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, according to  the auction house.  The Presidential Commission on Good Government, a body created to recover the millions of dollars stolen by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his allies, was preparing for a possible multi-million-dollar auctionThe flashy former first lady Imelda Marcos, and her children, were still disputing the ownership of part of the collection before the Supreme Court.  Reuters mentioned that it was the old briolette-cut diamond, with a distinct pink color.According to David Warren, director of jewelry at London-based Christie’s “ it could be valued at USD$5 million”and “pink diamonds are exceedingly rare”. In the past 250 years, only three pure, vivid pink diamonds of more than 10 carats have appeared for sale in almost 250 years of auction history. The main source was Golconda region in India which is known for the mines that have produced some of the world’s most famous gems including the Koh-i-Noor diamond.
Imelda Marcos  Former Philippines first ladyGEMKonnect
Above image: Imelda Romuáldez Marcos (born July 2, 1929) is a Filipino politician, the widow of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. She served as First Lady from 1965 to 1986. Soon after  the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. in 1983, there were  widespread riots and protests and the Marcos family was forced to go in to exile after his  removal from power. The flamboyant dictator’s widow, now 86 and a member of Congress,  was known more for her corrupt practices and excesses at a time when a large section of that country was  experiencing poverty.  Being a high profile lady, never had she failed  to hog the limelight and always adorned the front page of the newspapers and magazines. She was popular for  different reasons - her excesses, symbolized by her huge shoe collection and staggering jewelry collection.  The long-hidden collection, seized in three batches after Marcos was overthrown in 1986, was cited by critics as proof of how his family enriched itself while the nation sank deeper into poverty during his 20 years in power. We wonder who paid for such a gem? They first lived in Hawaii, USA during the exile. But since the late dictator died in exile in 1989, the family had made a political comeback with many members elected to prestigious positions. The son of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Junior, ran for vice-president in  the later  elections,

Any way  Lady Emelda's valuable pink diamond became internationally popular, and so were her family's dirty dealing and corrupt practices in a an economically troubled country.