Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar
Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar (31 May 1725 – 13 August 1795), Ahilyabai was born on 31 May 1725 in the village of Chaundi, in the present-day Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Her father, Mankoji Shinde (Dhangar), was the patil of the village. Women then did not go to school, but Ahilyabai’s father taught her to read and write. was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha ruled Malwa kingdom, India. Rajmata Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. She moved the capital to Maheshwar south of Indore on the Narmada River.
Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar 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. She tried to protect her kingdom from Thugs, the plunderers. She personally led armies into battle. She appointed Tukojirao Holkar as the Chief of Army.
Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar was a great builder and patron of many Hindu temples which embellished Maheshwar and Indore. She also built temples and Dharmshala (free lodging) at sacred sites outside her kingdom, at prominent religious places like Dwarka in Gujarat east to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi on the Ganges, Ujjain, Nasik, Vishnupad Mandir, Gaya and Parali Baijnath in Maharashtra. Seeing the destroyed and desecrated temple in Somanath, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar built a temple where Lord Shiva is still worshipped by Hindus.