Ahilyabai Holkar

May 31, 1725 - Aug 13, 1795

Ahilyabai Holkar was the hereditary noble sardar of the Maratha Empire, India. Ahilya was born in the village of Chondi in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. She moved the seat of her kingdom to Maheshwar, south of Indore on the Narmada River.
Ahilyabai's husband Khanderao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar died. A year after that she took over the affairs of Holkar fief. She tried to protect her land from plundering invaders. She personally led armies into battle. She appointed Tukoji Rao Holkar as the Chief of her militia.
Ahilyabai was a great pioneer and builder of Hindu temples. She built hundreds of temples and Dharmashalas throughout India. Her greatest achievement was to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1780, which was dedicated to Shiva; the presiding deity of the city of Varanasi, one of the holiest Hindu sites of pilgrimage, that had been plundered, desecrated, demolished & converted into Gyanvapi Mosque on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1696.
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