Indian history has no lack of powerful female rulers. Among these also include female rulers who built monuments to solidify their legacy and to pay homage to their loved ones which have lasted centuries and continue to inspire us to this day.
Itimad-ud-Daulah, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Itmad-ud-Daulah mausoleum, India's first marble mausoleum, was erected by Noor Jehan on the banks of the Yamuna to pay homage to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg (Itmad-ud-Daulah was the title given to Beg). Noor Jehan's mother and siblings are also buried at the same location. The exquisite artistic work on this monument has a unique feminine touch, since it is elegant and meticulously created. From afar, the mausoleum resembles a magnificent jewel box with its red and yellow sandstone inlay work.
Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka
The Karnataka town of Pattadakal is known as the 'laboratory of Indian temple architecture'. Both, the North Indian Nagar Style and the South Indian Dravidian style temple architecture can be seen here. The queen of Vikramaditya II, Queen Lokmahadevi built the Virupaksha Temple. It is erected in the Dravidian style and is said to have been inspired by Kanchipuram's Kailasanatha Temple. Later, it served as a model for the Kailasa Temple at Ellora. The temple is sometimes referred to as Lokeshwara Temple, after the queen who constructed it.
Rani Ni Vav, Patan, Gujarat
In 1063, Queen Udaymati built an inverted temple to honour water for her Solanki dynasty husband, King Bhimdev I. After a flood in the Saraswati river piled silt, the step-well was submerged. Years later, excavations found that the silt had aided in the preservation of the sculptures. The location has been used in several regional films, and it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
Mirjan Fort, Karnataka
The Portugese dubbed Vijayanagara Empire's Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa as Raina de Pimenta (The Pepper Queen) because she ruled over areas where the finest pepper was grown. Several artists sought shelter with the queen due to battles in faraway places. In exchange, they assisted the queen in the construction of her own fort at Mirjan in the 16th century. The fort has great views of the mountains and had provided strategic protection against attackers.
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Bega Begam, Humayun's eldest wife, made the efforts to have her husband's tomb built. She commissioned Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect, to construct this magnificent monument in 1569. This red sandstone mausoleum is in the middle of a square garden split into four charbaghs. In 1993, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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