Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar (31 May 1725 – 13 August 1795), was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha ruled Malwa kingdom, India. Rajmata Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi(चोंडी) in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. She moved the capital to Maheshwar south of Indore on the Narmada River.
Ahilyabai's husband Khanderao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumbher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar, died. 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.
Rani Ahilyabai 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 and Parali Baijnath in Maharashtra. Seeing the destroyed and desecrated temple in Somanath, Rani Ahilyabai built a temple where Lord Shiva is still worshipped by Hindus.
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