Sunday, February 11, 2007

Maharani Durgavati

Maharani Durgavati

Maharani Durgavati was a Chandel rajputani. She was born at the Kalinjar fort, Banda, Uttar Pradesh. Chandel rajputs were the builders of the beautiful city of Khajurao which had 85 magnificient temples of which 22 still survive.

Khajurao Temples were built by Chandel Rajputs.

She inherited the Gond Kingdom after her husband, Dalpat Shah, died in 1550 A.D. Her son, Bir Narayan was an infant and Rani Durgavati ruled the kingdom of Gond. Baj Bhadur after ascending the throne of Malwa in 1556 A.D., attacked the Gond kingdom but his army was routed. His defeat was so decisive that he never dared attack Rani Durgavati's kingdom ever again.

Akbar decided to invade Rani's kingdom and sent a cavalry of 50,000 with heavy artillery, under the command of Abdul Mazid Khan. Rani Durgavati organized her defences at a valley near Narrai (Madhya Pradesh). Her forces were flanked by hills on one side and the rivers Narmada and Gaur on the other. When Muslim forces entered from both sides of the valley, Rani's small army, which she was leading herself, fought with exemplary bravery and pushed back Mughals on both sides. Rani's army emerged victorious. During night time, her army came out of the valley and camped in the open areas. Rani Durgavati discussed further strategy with her generals and wanted to attack the Mughals in the night. But her generals dissuaded her against such an action. This delay allowed the Mughals to haul there heavy artillery near the battlefield.

Kalinjar fort, Banda, Uttar Pradesh.

Next morning (24th June, 1564) the battle started again. The young Bir Narayan pushed back Mughals thrice but was injured fighting and taken away from the battlefield. The Rani, riding her elephant, Samran, led the attack but she was ultimately stuck by two arrows and she realized the end was near. Her generals wanted her to retreat but she decided against it and instead used her "katar"(dagger) to enter Maha Samadhi (the abode of God). Rani Durgavati was an outstanding example of rajput bravery.

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