Sunday, September 27, 2015

Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar

MARATHA PHILOSPHER QUEEN & MOTHER OF THE MALWAS AND PROTECTOR OF DHARMA .... ONE OF THE GREATEST OF HINDU WOMEN !!!
MAHARANI AHILYABAI HOLKAR ~ Her Highness Maharani Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Ahilya Bai Sahiba ~ Maratha Holkar Queen of Indore & Queen of the Malwa Kingdom

1 December 1767 – 13 August 1795
Coronation : 11 December 1767
Consort : Khanderao Holkar
Born May 31, 1725
Died August 13, 1795
Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar (31 May 1725 – 13 August 1795), was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha ruled Malwa kingdom, India. Rajmata Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi (चोंडी) in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra.
Malhar Rao Holkar, a commander in the service of the Peshwa Bajirao and lord of the Malwa territory, stopped in Chaundi on his way to Pune and, according to legend, saw the eight-year-old Ahilyabai at the temple service in the village. Recognising her piety and her character, he brought the girl to the Holkar territory as a bride for his son, Khanderao (1723–1754). She was married to Khanderao in 1733.
Ahilyabai's husband Khanderao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumbher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar, died. A year after that she was coronated as the queen of the Malwa kingdom. She tried to protect her kingdom from Thugs, the plunderers. She personally led armies into battle. She appointed Tukojirao Holkar as the Chief of Army.
She moved the capital to Maheshwar south of Indore on the Narmada River.Among Ahilyabai's accomplishments was the development of Indore from a small village to a prosperous and beautiful city; her own capital, however, was in nearby Maheshwar, a town on the banks of the Narmada river.
Maharani Ahilyabai was a great builder and patron of many Hindu temples which embellished Maheshwar and Indore. She also built temples and Dharmshala (free lodging) at sacred sites outside her kingdom, at prominent religious places like Dwarka in Gujarat east to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi on the Ganges, Ujjain, Nasik, Vishnupad Mandir, Gaya and Parali Baijnath in Maharashtra. Seeing the destroyed and desecrated temple in Somanath, Rani Ahilyabai built a temple where Lord Shiva is still worshipped by Hindus.
Ahilyabai never observed purdah but held daily public audience and was always accessible to anyone who needed her ear.There are many stories of her care for her people. She helped widows retain their husbands’ wealth. She made sure that a widow was allowed to adopt a son; in fact, in one instance, when her minister refused to allow the adoption unless he was suitably bribed, she is said to have sponsored the child herself, and given him clothes and jewels as part of the ritual.
Ahilyabai’s capital at Maheshwar was the scene of literary, musical, artistic and industrial enterprise. She entertained the famous Marathi poet, Moropant and the shahir, Anantaphandi from Maharashtra, and also patronised the Sanskrit scholar, Khushali Ram. Craftsmen, sculptors and artists received salaries and honours at her capital, and she even established a textile industry in the city of Maheshwar.
Maheshwar is also known for its distinctive handwoven sarees called Maheshwari exquisitely woven ‘Maheshwari’ sarees. Maheshwari Sarees were introduced into Maheshwar 250 years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, and are renowned throughout India for their unique weave. Woven mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari saree has a plain body and sometimes stripes or checks in several variations. The mat bordered designs have a wide range in leaf and floral patterns. The pallav is particularly distinctive with 5 stripes, 3 coloured and 2 white alternating, running along its width. Maheshwari has a reversible border, known as bugdi.