Iranian Crown Jewels
The Iranian National Jewels the Iranian Crown Jewels, include elaborate crowns, thirty tiaras, numerous aigrettes, a dozen bejeweled swords and shields, a number of unset precious gems, numerous plates and other dining services cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems, several other more unusual items collected or worn by the Persian monarchs from the 16th century on. The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels, it is situated inside the Central Bank of Iran on Tehran's Ferdowsi Avenue. The museum is open to the public from 14:00 to 16:30 hrs except on Wednesday and Friday; the museum has onsite guides with knowledge of Persian, English and Russian languages. There are guide booklets available in English, French, German and Arabic; the majority of the items now in the collection were acquired by the Safavid dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1502 to 1736 AD. Afghans invaded Iran in 1719 and sacked the capital of Isfahan and took the Iranian crown jewels as plunder. By 1729, after an internal struggle of nearly a decade, Nader Shah Afshar drove the Afghans from Iran.
In 1738, the Shah launched his own campaign against the Afghan homeland. After taking and raiding the cities of Kandahar and Kabul as well as several principalities in far-off northern India, sacking Delhi, the victorious Nader Shah returned to Iran with what remained of the plundered crown jewels as well as several other precious objects now found in the Iranian Treasury; these included diamonds, rubies and other precious gemstones. Four of the most prominent acquisitions from this conquest were the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds, the Peacock Throne, the Samarian Spinel; the crown jewels were last used by the last to rule Iran. The splendor of the collection came to the attention of the western world through their use by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi during official ceremonies and state visits; the Iranian crown jewels are considered so valuable that they are still used as a reserve to back Iranian currency. In 1937, during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, ownership of the Imperial treasury was transferred to the state.
The jewels were placed in the vaults of the National Bank of Iran, where they were used as collateral to strengthen the financial power of the institution and to back the national monetary system. This important economic role is one reason why these jewels, undeniable symbols of Iran's monarchic past, have been retained by the current Islamic Republic; because of their great value and economic significance, the Iranian crown jewels were for centuries kept far from public view in the vaults of the Imperial treasury. However, as the first Pahlavi Shah had transferred ownership of the crown jewels to the state, his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, decreed that the most spectacular of the jewels should be put on public display at the Central Bank of Iran; when the Iranian revolution toppled the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, it was feared that in the chaos the Iranian crown jewels had been stolen or sold by the revolutionaries. Although in fact some smaller items were stolen and smuggled across Iran's borders, the bulk of the collection remained intact.
This became evident when the revolutionary government under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani re-opened the permanent exhibition of the Iranian crown jewels to the public in the 1990s. They remain on public display; the Royal Mace of Iran is a part of the Iranian Crown Jewels. It was a favorite of Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar, shown holding it in his miniature portraits; the mace is encrusted from end to end. It is 73 cm long; the largest diamond weighs 17 carats, is located on the top of the mace. The largest spinels are the six surrounding the top of each weighing 40 carats. Princess Ashraf Ruby Tiara Empress Farah Emerald Tiara The Sword of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar The Great Globe The Sun Throne Sword of Nader Shah Shield of Nader Shah Media related to Crown jewels of Iran at Wikimedia Commons Crown jewels Treasury of National Jewels National Museum of Iran Saltman Culture of Iran History of Iran Tourism in Iran Geography of Iran International rankings of Iran Category:Crown jewels of Iran Malecka, A.
"The Mystery of the Nur al-Ayn Diamond", in: Gems & Jewellery: The Gemmological Association of Great Britain vol. 23, no. 6, July 2014, pp. 20–22. Https://issuu.com/jeweller/docs/jeweller_g_j__sept_2014_/58 Malecka, A. "Daryā-ye Nur: History and Myth of a Crown Jewel of Iran", Iranian Studies vol. 51, https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00210862.2017.1362952 Meen, V. B, Tushingham, A. D. Crown jewels of Iran, Toronto 1968. Treasury of National Jewels Amazing Iran Iran Crown Jewels with Photos Imperial Iran of the Pahlavi Dynasty The Imperial Jewels of Iran Treasury of National Jewels of Iran Sara Mashayekh, The Breathtaking Jewelry Museum of Iran, Rozaneh Magazine, January–February 2006. Crown jewels of Iran
Golkonda known as Golconda, Gol konda, or Golla konda, is a citadel and fort in Southern India and was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, is situated 11 km west of Hyderabad. It is a tehsil of Hyderabad district, India; the region is known for the mines that have produced some of the world's most famous gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Hope Diamond, Nassak Diamond and the Noor-ul-Ain. Golkonda was known as Mankal. Golkonda Fort was first built by the Kakatiyas as part of their western defenses along the lines of the Kondapalli Fort; the city and the fortress were built on a granite hill, 120 meters high, surrounded by massive battlements. The fort was strengthened by Rani Rudrama Devi and her successor Prataparudra; the fort came under the control of the Musunuri Nayaks, who defeated the Tughlaqi army occupying Warangal. It was ceded by the Musunuri Kapaya Bhupathi to the Bahmani Sultanate as part of a treaty in 1364. Under the Bahmani Sultanate, Golkonda rose to prominence.
Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, sent as a governor of Telangana, established it as the seat of his government around 1501. Bahmani rule weakened during this period, Sultan Quli formally became independent in 1538, establishing the Qutb Shahi dynasty based in Golkonda. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans into the present structure, a massive fortification of granite extending around 5 km in circumference, it remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort; the fort fell into ruin in 1687, after an eight-month-long siege led to its fall at the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Golkonda Fort used to have a vault where the famous Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds were once stored along with other diamonds. Golkonda is renowned for the diamonds found on the south-east at Kollur Mine near Kollur, Guntur district and Atkur in Krishna district and cut in the city during the Kakatiya reign.
At that time, India had the only known diamond mines in the world. Golkonda's mines yielded many diamonds. Golkonda was the market city of the diamond trade, gems sold there came from a number of mines; the fortress-city within the walls was famous for diamond trade. However, Europeans believed. Magnificent diamonds were taken from the mines in the region surrounding Golkonda, including the Daria-i-Noor or "Sea of Light", at 185 carats, the largest and finest diamond of the crown jewels of Iran, its name has come to be associated with great wealth. Gemologists use this classification to denote a diamond with a complete lack of nitrogen. Many famed diamonds are believed to have been excavated from the mines of Golkonda, such as: Daria-i-Noor Noor-ul-Ain Koh-i-Noor Hope Diamond Princie Diamond Regent Diamond Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond By the 1880s, "Golkonda" was being used generically by English speakers to refer to any rich mine, to any source of great wealth. During the Renaissance and the early modern eras, the name "Golkonda" acquired a legendary aura and became synonymous for vast wealth.
The mines brought riches to the Qutb Shahis of Hyderabad State, who ruled Golkonda up to 1687 to the Nizam of Hyderabad, who ruled after the independence from the Mughal Empire in 1724 until 1948, when the Indian integration of Hyderabad occurred. The Golkonda fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official "List of Monuments" prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Golkonda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions, eight gateways, four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, mosques, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure into which we enter by the "Fateh Darwaza" studded with giant iron spikes near the south-eastern corner. An acoustic effect can be experienced at Fateh Darwazaan, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard at the'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point a kilometer away.
This worked. The whole of the Golkonda Fort complex and its surrounding spreads across 11 km of total area and discovering its every nook is an arduous task. A visit to the fort reveals the architectural beauty in many of the pavilions, gates and domes. Divided into four district forts, the architectural valour still gleams in each of the apartments, temples and stables; the graceful gardens of the fort may have lost their fragrance, for which they were known 400 years ago, yet a walk in these former gardens should be in your schedule when exploring the past glories of Golkonda Fort. Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side, it has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scroll work. The spandrels have yalis and decorated roundels; the area above the door has peacocks with ornate tails flanking an ornamental arched niche. The granite block lintel below has sculpted yalis flanking a disc; the design of peacocks and lions is t
A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality no gem-sized natural diamonds are perfect; the color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink diamonds or blue diamonds can be more valuable. Of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest; the Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of colored diamonds, including red diamonds. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors—steel gray, blue, orange, green, pink to purple and black. Colored diamonds contain interstitial impurities or structural defects that cause the coloration, pure diamonds are transparent and colorless. Diamonds are scientifically classed into two main types and several subtypes, according to the nature of impurities present and how these impurities affect light absorption: Type I diamonds have nitrogen atoms as the main impurity at a concentration of 0.1%.
If the nitrogen atoms are in pairs they do not affect the diamond's color. If the nitrogen atoms are in large even-numbered aggregates they impart a yellow to brown tint. About 98% of gem diamonds are type Ia, most of these are a mixture of IaA and IaB material: these diamonds belong to the Cape series, named after the diamond-rich region known as Cape Province in North Africa, whose deposits are Type Ia. If the nitrogen atoms are dispersed throughout the crystal in isolated sites, they give the stone an intense yellow or brown tint. Synthetic diamond containing nitrogen is Type Ib. Type I diamonds absorb from 320 nm, they have a characteristic fluorescence and visible absorption spectrum. Type II diamonds have no measurable nitrogen impurities. Type II diamonds absorb in a different region of the infrared, transmit in the ultraviolet below 225 nm, unlike Type I diamonds, they have differing fluorescence characteristics, but no discernible visible absorption spectrum. Type IIa diamond can be colored pink, red, or brown due to structural anomalies arising through plastic deformation during crystal growth—these diamonds are rare, but constitute a large percentage of Australian production.
Type IIb diamonds, which account for 0.1% of gem diamonds, are light blue due to scattered boron within the crystal matrix. However, a blue-grey color may occur in Type Ia diamonds and be unrelated to boron. Not restricted to type are green diamonds, whose color is caused by GR1 color centers in the crystal lattice produced by exposure to varying quantities of radiation. Pink and red are caused by plastic deformation of the crystal lattice from pressure. Black diamonds are caused by microscopic black or gray inclusions of other materials such as graphite or sulfides and/or microscopic fractures. Opaque or opalescent white diamonds are caused by microscopic inclusions. Purple diamonds are caused by a combination of high hydrogen content; the majority of diamonds that are mined are in a range of pale yellow or brown color, termed the normal color range. Diamonds that are of intense yellow or brown, or any other color are called fancy color diamonds. Diamonds that are of the highest purity are colorless, appear a bright white.
The degree to which diamonds exhibit body color is one of the four value factors by which diamonds are assessed. Diamonds have a color grading system; this system goes from D to Z. The more colorless a diamond is, the rarer and more valuable it is because it appears white and brighter to the eye. Color grading of diamonds was performed as a step of sorting rough diamonds for sale by the London Diamond Syndicate; as the diamond trade developed, early diamond grades were introduced by various parties in the diamond trade. Without any co-operative development these early grading systems lacked standard nomenclature, consistency; some early grading scales were. Numerous terms developed to describe diamonds of particular colors: golconda, jagers, blue white, fine white, gem blue, etc. Refers to a grading scale for diamonds in the normal color range used by internationally recognized laboratories; the scale ranges from D, colorless to Z, a pale yellow or brown color. Brown diamonds darker than K color are described using their letter grade, a descriptive phrase, for example M Faint Brown.
Diamonds with more depth of color than Z color fall into the fancy color diamond range. Diamond color is graded by comparing a sample stone to a master stone set of diamonds; each master stone is known to exhibit the least amount of body color that a diamond in that color grade may exhibit. A trained diamond grader compares a diamond of unknown grade against the series of master stones, assessing where in the range of color the diamond resides; this process occurs in a lighting box, fitted with daylight equivalent lamps. Accurate color grading can only be performed with diamond unset, as the comparison with master
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is a 31.06-carat deep-blue diamond with internally flawless clarity. Laurence Graff purchased the Wittelsbach Diamond in 2008 for £16.4 million. In 2010, Graff revealed; the diamond was renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond. There is controversy, as critics claim the recutting has so altered the diamond as to make it unrecognisable, compromising its historical integrity; the original Wittelsbach Diamond known as Der Blaue Wittelsbacher, was a 35.56-carat fancy, greyish-blue diamond with VS2 clarity, part of both the Austrian and the Bavarian Crown jewels. Its colour and clarity had been compared to the Hope Diamond; the diamond had measured 8.29 millimetres in depth. It had 82 facets arranged in an atypical pattern; the star facets on the crown were vertically split, the pavilion had sixteen needle-like facets arranged in pairs, pointing outward from the culet facet. The diamond originates from the Kollur mines of Guntur District in India; the story that King Philip IV of Spain purchased the jewel and included it in the dowry of his teenage daughter, Margaret Teresa, in 1664 is apocryphal.
The first time the diamond was mentioned is about fifty years when it was in Vienna. It was in the possession of the Habsburg family and came to Munich when, in 1722, Maria Amalia married Charles of Bavaria, a member of the Wittelsbach family. In 1745, the Wittelsbach Diamond was first mounted on the Bavarian Elector's Order of the Golden Fleece; when Maximilian IV Joseph von Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806, he commissioned a royal crown that prominently displayed the diamond. Until 1918, the jewel remained on top of the Bavarian crown, it was seen last in public at Ludwig III of Bavaria's funeral in 1921. The Wittelsbach family tried to sell the diamond in 1931 during the Great Depression but found no buyers, it sold the jewel in 1951. In 1958, the stone was exhibited at the World Expo in Brussels. In the 1960s, the Goldmuntz family asked Joseph Komkommer, a jeweller, to re-cut the diamond, but Komkommer recognised its historical significance and refused. Instead, he joined a group of dealers.
The diamond had been in a private collection since 1964. On 10 December 2008, the 35.56-carat Wittelsbach Diamond was sold to London-based jeweller Laurence Graff for £16.4 million sterling, or US$23.4 million, at the time the highest price paid at auction for a diamond. The record was eclipsed on 16 November 2010, when a 24.78 carat pink diamond was sold for £29 million Sterling, or US$46 million, again to Mr. Graff. In June 2011, Graff sold the diamond to the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, for at least US$80 million. Following the sale, Graff announced his intention to recut the gem to remove damage to the girdle and enhance the colour. On 7 January 2010, it was reported that the diamond had been recut to enhance the stone's colour and clarity, losing over 4.45 carats in the process. The resulting stone has been renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff; the move was met with heavy criticism by some experts: Gabriel Tolkowsky called it "the end of culture." Shortly after the auction of the diamond, American gem cutter and replicator of famous diamonds Scott Sucher stated, "In the case of the Wittelsbach, what's at stake is at minimum over 350 years of history, as every nick and scratch has a story to tell.
Just because we can't decipher these stories doesn't mean they don't exist." The alteration of the historical stone has been compared by Professor Hans Ottomeyer, director of the Deutsches Historisches Museum of Berlin, to the overpainting of a painting by Rembrandt. It is opined that the recutting was done to increase its market value and, by extension, that of other "fancy diamonds"; as a result of the recut, which removed some chips and reduced the size of the culet by 40%, the gem has been re-evaluated by the Gemological Institute of America and its colour grade revised from "fancy deep grayish-blue", the same grade given by GIA to The Hope, to the more desirable "fancy deep blue". The diamond's clarity had been revised upward from "very included" to "internally flawless". List of famous diamonds Rudolf Dröschel, Jürgen Evers, Hans Ottomeyer: The Wittelsbach Blue, in: Gems and Gemology ISSN 0016-626X, 44, P. 348–363 Jürgen Evers, Leonhard Möckl, Heinrich Nöth: Der Wittelsbacher und der Hope-Diamant, in: Chemie in Unserer Zeit ISSN 0009-2851, 46, P. 356–364 Wise, Richard W. Secrets of the Gem Trade, The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious gemstones, ISBN 0-9728223-8-0 Fancy Blue Diamonds, p. 235-236
The Noor-ul-Ain is one of the largest pink diamonds in the world, the centre piece of the tiara of the same name. The diamond is believed to have been recovered from the Vijayanagara mines in India and was brought into the Iranian Imperial collection after Persian king Nader Shah Afshar looted Delhi in the 18th century; the Noor-ul-Ain is believed to have once formed part of an larger gem called the Great Table diamond. That larger diamond is thought to have been cut in two, with one section becoming the Noor-ul-Ain and the other the Daria-i-Noor diamond. Both of these pieces are part of the Iranian Crown Jewels; the Noor-ul-Ain is the principal diamond mounted in a tiara of the same name made for Iranian Empress Farah Pahlavi's wedding to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1958. The tiara was designed by Harry Winston, it is a modern design, featuring 324 pink and white diamonds set in platinum. It is said to weigh around 2 kg; the tiara forms part of the Iranian crown jewels, held at the National Treasury of Iran in the Central Bank in Tehran.
It is a Type IIa diamond. Great Table diamond Koh-i-Noor diamond List of diamonds List of largest rough diamonds Elizabeth II's jewels Anna Malecka, "The Mystery of the Nur al-Ayn Diamond", Gems & Jewellery: The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, volume 23, August/September 2014, pp. 20-22.
A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape, but the symmetry and polish of a diamond; the cut of a diamond affects a diamond's brilliance. In order to best use a diamond gemstone's material properties, a number of different diamond cuts have been developed. A diamond cut constitutes a more or less symmetrical arrangement of facets, which together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal. Diamond cutters must consider several factors, such as the shape and size of the crystal, when choosing a cut; the practical history of diamond cuts can be traced back to the Middle Ages, while their theoretical basis was not developed until the turn of the 20th century. Design creation and innovation continue to the present day: new technology—notably laser cutting and computer-aided design—has enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, waste reduction were hitherto unthinkable.
The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. Popular are the fancy cuts, which come in a variety of shapes, many of which were derived from the round brilliant. A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark; the strictest standards are applied to the round brilliant. Different countries base their cut grading on different ideals: one may speak of the American Standard or the Scandinavian Standard, to give but two examples; the history of diamond cuts can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were employed in their natural octahedral state—anhedral diamonds were not used in jewelry. The first "improvements" on nature's design involved a simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces to create and unblemished facets, or to fashion the desired octahedral shape out of an otherwise unappealing piece of rough.
This was called the point cut and dates from the mid 14th century. By the mid 15th century, the point cut began to be improved upon: a little less than one half of the octahedron would be sawn off, creating the table cut; the importance of a culet was realised, some table-cut stones may possess one. The addition of four corner facets created the old single cut. Neither of these early cuts would reveal. At the time, diamond was valued chiefly for its adamantine superlative hardness. For this reason, colored gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were far more popular in jewelry of the era. In or around 1476, Lodewyk van Berquem, a Flemish polisher of Bruges, introduced the technique of absolute symmetry in the disposition of facets using a device of his own invention, the scaif, he cut stones in the shape known as briolette. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose or rosette was introduced in Antwerp: it consisted of triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical radiating pattern, but with the bottom of the stone left flat—essentially a crown without a pavilion.
Many large, famous Indian diamonds of old feature a rose-like cut. However, Indian "rose cuts" were far less symmetrical as their cutters had the primary interest of conserving carat weight, due to the divine status of diamond in India. In either event, the rose cut continued to evolve, with its depth and arrangements of facets being tweaked; the first brilliant cuts were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. Known as Mazarins, they had 17 facets on the crown, they are called double-cut brilliants as they are seen as a step up from old single cuts. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian polisher increased the number of crown facets from 17 to 33, thereby increasing the fire and brilliance of the cut gem, properties that in the Mazarin were incomparably better than in the rose, yet Peruzzi-cut diamonds, when seen nowadays, seem exceedingly dull compared to modern-cut brilliants. Because the practice of bruting had not yet been developed, these early brilliants were all rounded squares or rectangles in cross-section.
Given the general name of cushion—what are known today as old mine cuts—these were common by the early 18th century. Sometime the old European cut was developed, which had a shallower pavilion, more rounded shape, different arrangement of facets; the old European cut was the forerunner of modern brilliants and was the most advanced in use during the 19th century. Around 1900, the development of diamond saws and good jewelry lathes enabled the development of modern diamond cutting and diamond cuts, chief among them the round brilliant cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed this cut: his calculations took both brilliance and fire into consideration, creating a delicate balance between the two. Tolkowsky's calculations would serve as the basis for all future brilliant cut modifications and standards. Tolkowsky's model of the "ideal" cut is not perfect; the original mo
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle