It must be because of the stories that my grandmother used to tell me of feisty heroines from history like Rani Laxmi Bai and Rani Durgavati that I was drawn to visit the museum that has been named after the latter.
While Rani Durgavati Museum contains one of the best coin collections I have seen in India so far, I couldn’t find much to do with the Queen herself. There were a few murals depicting her bravery and two effigies, but that was about it. I guess that might be expected given that she was born nearly 500 years ago (in 1524). But then, we have swords of her contemporaries like Akbar on display in other museums, so it should just be a lack of preservation that is responsible for this lacuna.
Her family, the Chandel dynasty in Central India, is known for having constructed one of the most visited monuments in India, the Khajuraho group of temples in the state of Madhya Pradesh. However, her claim to fame was her courage in battle when few women were known to even step out of their homes.
Not only did she lead her army in defeating ambitious Malwa ruler Baz Bahadur when he assaulted her kingdom, she also temporarily overpowered the forces of Asaf Khan, a governor of Emperor Akbar. However, her lieutenants refused to attack Asaf Khan’s army that night and she was killed the next day when the latter, boosted by artillery reinforcements, struck once again.
If, you like me, find her story interesting, you could read more here – click here