We all know that Maharana Pratap fought against Akbar in the valleys and ravines of the Aravallis. But almost a decade before the battle of Haldighati 1576 CE, in the thick forests of the Satpura ranges, Rani Durgavati the Queen of the Gonds, valiantly defended her kingdom against the Mughal army.
Rani Durgavati was born on October 5, 1524 CE and was the daughter of Salibahan Chandel of Mahoba. Her family claimed descent from the Chandela rulers, who had built the temples at Khajuraho and repulsed the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni. But by the 16th century CE, Chandela power had declined and areas around Kalinjar was all that remained of the original Chandela kingdom. Growing up in the Kalinjar Fort in Uttar Pradesh, Durgavati was well versed in horse riding, sword fighting and archery from a very young age. In Akbarnama, Abu’l Fazl writes:
‘She was a good shot with gun and arrow, and continually went hunting.’
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