Rani Padmavati, also known as Padmini was a legendary Indian queen of Medapata kingdom in 13-14th century. Rani Padmavati was the queen of Chittor, renowned across Indian land for her bewitching beauty. She was the second wife of Rawal Ratan Singh and the daughter of the contemporary Sinhala King Gandharvsen, according to the epic ‘Padmavat’.
10 lesser known facts of Rani Padmavati
Princess Padmini spent her life in Sinhala under the care of her father Gandharvsen and mother Champavati. She had a grand life with radiates nothing but the tales of her beauty, smartness, and bravery.
1. A myth or a legend
Many historians still debate over, whether the story of Rani Padmavati is factual or fictional. Most historians claim that Padmavati was just a legend and there is no reliable proof of her existence. They say that the Rajput queen was a figment of poet Jayasi’s fanciful imagination. She was first referenced in the epic ‘Padmavat’, written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi. However, she is a legendary figure and over years, she has become a historical figure too.
2. A princess of Sri Lanka
Padmavati was a princess of Singhal kingdom which was in Sri Lanka. In the descriptions in the poem Padmavat, the beautiful Padmini is shown to be the princess of a kingdom named Simhala-Dvipa, which is the island of present-day Sri Lanka.
3. A Talking Parrot – Hira-mani
Padmavati had a pet, who was her closest compatriot. Jayasi writes that Padmavati had a talking parrot named Hira-mani who was one of the closest confidantes of the princess. 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 Singh 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.
4. Rani Padmavati Was A Skilled warrior
It is surprising to know that Padmavati was a well-trained fighter and brave warrior as well. She was brought up with education in war strategies and skills for a battleship. A swayamvar was organized, at the time of her marriage, where many Kings and Princes offered their hand over her rightful ownership.
However, it was not just a simple Swayamvar. Princess Padmini herself, set the condition out that only the one to win over her designated fighter in the sword battle could marry her. Surprisingly, it was Princess Padmini herself in the disguise of the designated fighter. She fought and lost to King Rawal Ratan Singh of Chittor, who she duly married as per her condition.
5. Extremely Beautiful
Known widely for her breathtaking beauty, Rani Padmavati was extremely beautiful. In fact, her husband Ratan Singh heard about her beauty from a talking parrot named Hiraman. Raja Ratna Singh was instantly mesmerized with Rani Padmavati’s beauty. Moreover, Alauddin Khilji got fascinated by just seeing the reflection of Rani Padmavati and later attacked the fort to have her.
6. The Reflection of Padmavati
Meanwhile, Ratan Singh had banished a Brahmin courtier named Raghav Chetan for fraud. Later, Raghav Chetan went to the court of Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, and told him about the exceptionally beautiful Padmavati. When Alauddin Khilji came to know about Rani Padmavati, being the most beautiful queen of Chittor, he launched an attack on Chittor in order to capture her.
However, on reaching Chittor, Alauddin found the fort to be heavily defended. As he was desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty of Padmavati, he sent a message to King Rawal Ratan Singh that he would return to Delhi if Khilji could have a glimpse of Queen Padmavati’s face. Hence, in order to maintain peace and avoid loss of lives, Rawal Ratan Singh consulted his advisors and agreed to let Khilji see Padmavati’s reflection in the mirror. Khilji along with his bodyguards entered the fort and after looking at her in the mirror returned.
Finally, Alauddin feigned a peace treaty with Ratan Singh, where deceitfully captured Ratan Singh and took him to Delhi.
7. Rani Padmavati’s brother in the reflection
In the Rajput version, they have a slightly different story where they say that it in the reflection it was not the Queen herself but her brother in a saree. It was considered a shame to show king’s wife to another man and hence they decided to disguise queen’s brother who looked similar to her, as a lady and makes him sit on the steps of summer palace which are located in the middle of the lake. Still, it has less evidence for its support and all the other versions say that it was Padmavati herself and not her brother in the reflection.
8. Wise and Smart
Rani Padmavati was someone even with smartness and brains. When Khilji captivated the Rana, demanding the queen’s surrender in return for her husband’s life, the queen feigned submission and sent 700 soldiers dressed as maids in her palkis. She sought help from Ratan Singh’s loyal feudatories Gora and Badal, who reached Delhi with their followers, disguised as Padmavati and her female companions. While Gora and Badal were killed fighting the Delhi forces, Ratan Singh reached Chittor safely.
9. Self Immolation – Jauhar
In the meantime, when King Ratan Singh was escaping from Delhi, Devpal, the Rajput king of Kumbhalner proposed Rani Padmini for the marriage. And when Ratan Singh returned back to Chittor, he heard the news and fought with Devpal after which both Devpal and Ratan Singh killed each other.
After the death of Ratan Singh, once again, Alauddin invaded Chittor to obtain Rani Padmavati. Rani Padmini along with hundred other Rajput women committed Jauhar, a Rajput custom of self-immolation. Women in ancient time used to commit this in order to avoid rape or imprisonment by enemy forces. This portrays the immense level of sacrifice & true Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power by Rani Padmavati & other Rajput Women.
10. The Screams
It is said that Padmavati and the other women wailed for their men and sang praises of their bravery and together they jumped into the fire. Rani Padmavati was the first one to jump into the Jauhar Kund. The entire palace was echoed by their cries. When Khilji, after winning, came to the fort, the heat and sounds, coming out from the Jauhar Kund were so fierce that Khilji ordered to permanently close the tunnel passage.
Women of the palace who committed Jauhar perished but their memory has been kept alive till today by songs and tales which immortalized the story of their sacrifice. Some hundred years ago, the passage was reopened by the then King of Chittor who honored these brave women.