Begum Samru is the story of the dancing girl who ditched the Burqa and other norms of propriety to head a very successful mercenary Army of 4000 troops and ruled for 55 glorious years. One can appreciate this fact more as it was during this time that the Mughal Empire was crumbling and everyone wanted to take advantage of this vacancy.
In fact, such was her streak of success that people thought that she practiced witchcraft. She must have cut quite the figure at four and a half feet, wearing a turban and mounted on a horse as she led her troop into the battlefield.
A look at the celebrated Princess of Sardhana
Her original name was Zeib-un-Nissa. She was adventurous, crafty and ruthless. The lethal combination made her impossible to ignore. After her marriage to Sombre Sahib (an Austrian mercenary), she took the name "Samru". From abject poverty she rose to be an independent ruler for 55 years.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces
Much more than an architectural feat, the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces is an embodiment of Begum Samru's religious freedom and attracts many believers who come to bless the Begum.
A site of pilgrimage for many, it was designed after the St.Peter's basilica in Rome. It was built by the Italian architect named Antonio Reghellini.
Prof. Anisur Rahman, Faiyaz Ahmad Wajeeh, Neha Malara