According to history, the kingdom of Chittor of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan has withstood three major invasions.
It was first invaded in 1303 by Allauddin Khalji, the Sultan of the Khalji dynasty.
It would go on to be invade two more times, once almost two hundred years later by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat in 1535, who annexed it and later in 1567, when it finally fell under the hands of the erstwhile Mughal Emperor Akbar.
It is the first invasion by Allauddin Khalji, which, however, has become the stuff legends are made up of.
According to legend, Khalji’s obsession with Chittorgarh stemmed from the fact that it housed one of the most beautiful women of the time, Rani Padmavati.
The first known mention was in Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi's self-confessed, elaborate work of fiction, Padmavat, in 1540 — roughly 224 years after Khalji’s death.
Padmavat, an epic poem written in Awadhi, speaks of the legendary queen, her admirable courage and beauty.
Recent times have seen numerous agitations and disturbances against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie based on the legend and despite the Supreme Court’s order for a nation-wide release of ‘Padmaavat’, sporadic incidents of violence were reported from several states since Wednesday.
While the nation tightens its security forces in anticipation of its release on Thursday, we look at 10 lesser known facts about the legendary Queen of Chittorgarh.
- Rani Padmavati was not Indian But Sri Lankan, she was princess of Singhal kingdom which was in Sri Lanka.
- Rani Padmavati was extremely beautiful that she was known widely for her breathtaking beauty. In fact her husband Ratan Sen heard about her beauty from a talking parrot named Hiraman. Ratan Singh was instantly mesmerized with Rani Padmavati’s beauty
- The parrot Hiraman was owned by Rani Padmavati herself. But her father, who disliked her obsession with the bird, had ordered it to be killed. While the bird was able to fly away and save its life, it later fell into the hands of a bird catcher who sold it to a Brahmin. Once the Brahmin brought the bird to Chittor, impressed by its ability to talk, the local king Ratan Sen purchased it from him. The parrot incessantly praised Padmavati’s heavenly beauty, which enamored the king who decided to embark on a quest to marry the princess.
- According to legend, Padmavati was well-trained and a brave warrior as well. She was brought up with education in war strategies and skills for battleship. At the time of her marriage, a swayamvar was organised, which saw many Kings and Princes claiming their hand over her rightful ownership, but it wasn’t an ordinary Swayamvar.
- However, whosoever defeated the designated fighter in the sword battle, could marry her. No one knew the fact that it was Princess Padmini herself in the disguise. She fought and lost to King Rawal Ratan Singh of Chittor, who she duly married.
- Raghav Chaitanya played an important role in life of Rani Padmavati because it was him who told Alauddin Khilji of her beauty which forced Khilji to attack Chittor. He served in Rana Ratan’s Singh’s court as Raj Purohit. But he was a sorcerer in real who had a great hold on black magic. After Ratan Singh came to know about his reality, he banished Raghav after insulting him. To avenge his insult, Raghav reached Delhi and told Alauddin Khilji about the beauty of Rani Padmini.
- Desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty of Padmini, Khilji sent word to King Rawal Ratan Singh that he wished to see the real beauty of Chittor and see if the rumors were in fact true. Sensing no danger, Rawal Ratan Singh agreed and requested his wife Padmavati to come and meet him. And, under the disguise of this meeting, Khilji brought his best army men, who took notes of Chittorgarh fort’s defence loopholes.
- However, Rani Padmini was wary of meeting Khilji in person and requested instead to let him see her reflection only. However, Khilji got obsessed with Rani Padmini and fell head over heels for her.
- But before Allaudin Khilji’s troop could reach the Chittor fort, Rani Padmini along with hundred other Rajput women committed Jauher, a Hindu custom of self immolation. Women in ancient time used to commit this in order to avoid rape or imprisonment by enemy forces.