Rani Rudramadevi history | First warrior queen of Southern India

Brief Introduction

Blockbuster movie of Rudramadevi left a great impression on entire society . People become curious to know ” Is Rudramadevi a real story ? ” The answer is a big ” Yes ” . She was an astounding warrior who ruled south India in 13th century .

Rani Rudramadevi was a great woman coming from the Kakatiya dynasty who ruled southern India from 1262 AD – 1289 AD . She mainly ruled  Telangana state whose capital was warrangal then and some part of Andhra . She ruled for around 27 years which was like a golden period for the kingdom. She was the first woman ruler of the 13th century who took the kingdom to its highest peak of economy and war.

She had lived her life like a king more than a Queen. Her father ,Ganpatideva, had always treated her like a son who was deeply interested in administration and war skill.

NameRani Rudramadevi
Reigning period 1262 – 1289 AD
Dynasty Kakatiya dynasty
Father’s name Ganpatideva
Death 1289 AD

She was not just a ruler but someone who had the capabilities to fight fearlessly and heroically against the well experienced enemies . Her strength and her articulation skills in  warfare ,  politics , martial arts and  excessive interest in administration  made his father enthrone her as his successor.

A famous Italian traveller Marco Polo who had visited Rudramadevi kingdom was stunned to see the kind of administration conducted in her ruling and her great skill of taking the right decision for taking the kingdom to its highest peak.

Early Life 

Ganpatideva who was a great ruler of the Kakatiya dynasty , succeeding Mahadeva , had no sons . She had only two daughters among whom Rudrama devi was the elder one . 

Not having any son  paved the way for his enemies to overthrow Ganapatideva and annexed his Kingdom completely . Ganpatideva had no trust even in his family’s male . They all had an evil eye on his Kingdom .  

When Ganpati Deva noticed the excellency and deep interest of his elder daughter ,  Rudramadevi in administrative work and other sectors , then his conviction of making his daughter as his successor became stronger and firmed . 

He called his Guru , Sivadevayya who  was also on the ministry post to train her in the most Subtle way so that she can handle the upcoming dangers fearlessly .

He started to train her in horse riding ,  sword fighting ,  and other kinds of Warfare skills .  She had a great sense of understanding policy ,  governancy ,  administration , Politics ,   how to lead the army , execution of War and statesmanship . Meanwhile  Ganpati Dev  started to involve her in his official work which developed high skill in her personality .

According to Pottugallu  inscription  of Karimnagar dated 1235 AD , before ascending the throne ,  she  became very familiar with the people of the Kingdom which helped her in automatically  developing  compassion ,politeness towards them . She started to visit temples frequently . Also accessing knowledge of the kingdom through the public . 

 She was also the finest Artist .  She had a great inclination towards literature ,  dance and  music too . 

Marriage

Rudramadevi married to a great Chalukya Prince Virbhadra in 1240 AD.

Rudramadevi’s marriage was not an ordinary marriage .  When his father was looking for a right person for his daughter he came across a fined person named   Prince Virabhadra who was a great king and had innumerable deeds of Valour . He wanted him to be the  right choice for his daughter .

 But Rudhramadevi put a condition before him . She  said that she will marry him only if he wins the battle against her . The challenge was accepted by Prince Virabhadra .  The battle went on for around 3 days which didn’t give any result .

Finally his father  Ganpati Deva  intervened  and made an announcement of accepting Virbhadra as his son- in- law . Rudramadevi too was amazed with his war skills  which made her accept him as her husband . 

From him she gave birth to two daughters. Unfortunately at a very young age , she lost his husband .  This incident made  her weak emotionally  but soon she overcame this trauma and stood up again and took the responsibilities  which her father had given of protecting  and taking care of the kingdom . 

Crowning of Rudramadevi

Ganpati Dev made a decision to make Rudramadevi as his successor . So finally she was crowned before the public in 1259 AD. The people of the kingdom  came there to become the eye witness of this great moment . The whole Palace was decorated with flowers . The cheering of the people ,  including dancing and music  could be heard from a distance too . 

Rudramadevi in male attire

All the Samantha , feudatories rulers Of the kingdom were presented there . Ganpati Deva handed over his sacred sword to his daughter and took the promise of maintaining the legacy of the  Kakatiya dynasty during her reign .

She also promised his father to never let him down  and will always give priority to the responsibilities which his father has given her .

According to historian Cynthia talbot , there are 52 inscriptions among 62 which show that she was referred as Maharaja or king . This gives a clear meaning that The public and his father too used to call her as Maharaja . In some of her sculptures,she had worn the male costume magnificently . 

But these things were wrongly interpreted by some historians by saying that Ganpati Dev had concealed The Identity of Rudramadevi as female.

According to them she was introduced to the public as a male, not as a female .One must have to understand the Controversy that “  how is it possible for a king to hide the identity ( gender )  of his child from the public since birth ? “ And without introducing the background of his successor ,  do you think the public will accept  him/her as the protector of the kingdom? 

Traveller Marco Polo who came here during the reign of Rudramadevi didn’t mention anything like that . 

Revolt

Revolt started to begin after the coronation of Rudramadevi Because some people found it an  undermining decision or an offensive decision of making a woman as the successor. Some of the enemies of the Kakatiya dynasty took it as an opportunity to annex the Kingdom  but soon they were having the taste of losing the battle . 

King Narasimha I of Kalinga took the advantage of the chaotic condition and attacked with his army to possess Godavari delta but didn’t succeed. 

Rani Rudramadevi
Rani Rudramadevi

The serious threat which Rudrama Devi faced was from the king Mahadeva from the west . The Seuna ruler Mahadeva invaded the capital of Warangal .  In response ,  Rani Rudrama Devi fought fearlessly with Mahadeva for 15 days .

Finally she succeeded  in deracinating the army of Mahadeva and chasing them back to Devagiri Fort . Her victory is mentioned in the “ Bidar Fort Inscription “ . She also successfully expanded the territories of the Kakatiya Kingdom .

Greatness of Rudramadevi

  • She was one of the leading rulers of Southern India who reigned successfully and is considered to be one of the best rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty . 
  • She actively took keen interest in listening to the major steps taken to expand the territory . Her governance and administration was astounding which attracted many visitors from other regions to come here . 
  • She also advised her Ministries and other feudatories ruler about “ How they should act to promote the best interest of their state “ . 
  • She had taken many steps to fortify the fort of Warangal . 
  • Literature ,  charitable activity ,  music ,  dance ,  religious practices ,  construction of temples ,  architecture ,  Sculpture and so on were  promoted by her in a great manner . 
  • People under her reign considered themselves the luckiest one .An eminent traveller named Marco Polo Who visited her Kingdom  was in shock when he found that a woman is leading the kingdom .  He was even more shocked to know her great skills in each of the sectors . He had written many praiseworthy documents for her which indicates Rudramadevi’s great power and compassion of running the Kingdom .
  • Her Kingdom used to run the education institution where Vedas were taught and also did a great service in promoting and advancing the Sanskrit language .
  • She encouraged the construction of temples . She built a Ranga Mandapam at the Swayambhu temple .
  • There was also proper facilitation of irrigation which was looked after by her Ministries . 

Kakatiya dynasty astounding architecture

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Death

Another breaking strength war which shook the Kakatiya dynasty and was considered to be the reason for Rudramadevi’s death was with Ambadeva . Rudrmadevi died in 1289 AD . The next successor after Rudramadevi was Prataprudra who was the grandson of Rudramadevi. Prataprudra was also the last ruler of the Kakatiya dynasty from 1289 AD – 1323 AD.

Prataprudra of the Kakatiya dynasty was defeated by Sultan Mohammad bin Tugluq in 1323 AD.

 Ambadeva’s predecessors were loyal subordinates of the Kakatiya dynasty. They belonged to the Kayastha clan . Ambadeva didn’t like Rudramadevi from the outset . So,when he took over the kayastha reign, He rebelled against Rudramadevi  and wanted to have an independency from the Kakatiya dynasty. 

He became victorious in the war against the feudatories ruler of the Kakatiya dynasty . This statement received support from Ambadeva’s “ Tripurantakam Inscription of 1290 AD “ .

During the war ,  Rudrama Devi was at the age of 80 .She sacrificed her life while protecting the legacy of the Kakatiya dynasty . The information of her demise in 1289 AD is  confirmed  from the “  Chandu Patla inscription “  which comes from Nalgonda district of Telangana state . 

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FAQ

Which famous traveller had visited Rudramadevi Kingdom?

Marco Polo an Italian traveller and world historian had visted the kingdom during the reigning of Rani Rudramadevi .He first came to Motupalli and then visited Mutfili Fort , there he saw a well structured and flourishing sea-trade, land trade ,agriculture and economy of the kakatiya kingdom which satrtled him and in his book he had wrote very highly and distinguished words about Rudramadevi’s remarkable administration and fearless and valiant ruling power.


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