Narmada river ghats and temples
Impressive would be an understatement to describe the legacy of Ahilyabai Holkar who built temples and river ghats all over India. She carried out this great work when she took over the reigns of of the kingdom in central provinces after the death of Yashwantrao Holkar. The Holkars were generals with Peshva dynasty which was ruling from Pune. The most remarkable creations of Ahilyabai can be seen at Maheshwar on the banks of river Narmada. The temple at Maheshwar and the ghats on Narmada river are the real showpieces.
Ahilyadevi Holkar, creator of temples and ghats
Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar (1725 – 1795) was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha Malwa kingdom, India. Rajmata Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. 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 crowned as the queen of the Malwa kingdom.
Accomplishments of Ahilyabai Holkar
Rani Ahilyabai was a great pioneer and builder of Hindu temples. She built hundreds of temples and Dharmashalas throughout India. She also built forts and roads in Malwa, sponsored festivals and gave donations for regular worship in many Hindu temples. Outside Malwa, she built dozens of temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest-houses across an area stretching from the Himalayas to pilgrimage centres in South India. The Bharatiya Sanskritikosh lists as sites she embellished, Kashi, Gaya, Somnath, Ayodhya, Mathura, Hardwar, Kanchi, Avanti, Dwarka, Badrinarayan, Rameshwar and Jaganathpuri. Ahilyadevi also supported the rise of merchants, farmers and cultivators to levels of affluence, and did not consider that she had any legitimate claim to their wealth, be it through taxes or feudal right.
Maheshwar and Indore
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. Ahilyabai’s capital at Maheshwar was the scene of literary, musical, artistic and industrial enterprise. She entertained the famous Marathi poet, Moropantand 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.
(source : Wikipedia)
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