Men dominate the political, architectural, and social history of India. Even the India’s most famous monument ‘Taj Mahal’ is also dedicated to a lady, but only very few people know that there are also the unusual historical structures which were built by women in the past.
1. Itmad Ud Daula (Agra)
Noor Jehan fabricated Itmad Ud Daula mausoleum (the first marble tomb in India) on the banks of river Yamuna as acclaim to her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Meticulously crafted delicate and decorative work on this monument has a different feminine touch. With an inset work of yellow and red sandstone, the tomb looks like a fantastic jewel box from a distance.
2. Humayun’s Tomb (Delhi)
The first tomb cum garden of the Indian subcontinent, Humayun’s tomb created by his wife, Hamida Banu Begum aka Haji Begum. Indian and Persian artisans worked smartly to manufacture this grand red sandstone mausoleum which is quite famous for its ornamented tile work and carved stone screens which integrate decorative elements from both cultures. It was also the first complex to use Persian double dome in its architecture.
3. Virupaksha Temple (Pattadakal)
Queen Lokamahadevi in 740 AD constructed Virupaksha Temple at Hampi to her king cum husband Vikramaditya II’s trump over Pallava rulers. A remarkable combination of the south Indian Dravida as well as North Indian Nagara style of temple architecture, the spectacular temple is also known as Lokeshwara Temple as a tribute to the queen who created it.
4. Khayr al-Manazil (Delhi)
The striking two-storied monument set directly opposite to the Khayr-al-Manazil mosque, and Purana Qila was created in the year 1561 by Maham Anga, a potent wet nurse of the ruler Akbar. A powerful lady of the court dominated Mughal empire during the childhood of king Akbar.
The mosque consisted of the five vast acres which resulted in the first prayer hall. The halls include the spectacular inscriptions but most remarkable one hallmarks in its substantial red sandstone gateway.
5. Rani Ka Vav (Patan)
Udaymati created the raveled constructed stepwell for her hubby cum king Bhimdev I of the Solanki dynasty in the eleventh century. Stepwells were different from the storage system and subterranean water resource in the medieval India which evolved into intricate multi-story works of architecture and art.
Fabricated in the Maru-Gurjara style as an upended temple highlighting the blessedness of water, Rani Ka Vav consists of seven level of stairs and more than 500 main monuments along with around thousands minor ones laid on its paneled walls.
6. Lal Darwaza Masjid (Jaunpur)
Created in the year 1447 by Rajye Bibi, the queen of Jaunpur’s Sultan Mahmood Sharqi, this mosque is devoted to the Saint Sayyid Ali Dawood Kutubbudin. Manufactured almost a copy of the Atala Masjid, the Lal Darwaza mosque is also tiny and gets its name from the eye-catching vermillion painted gate. The queen also founded the first school for girl children during the rule of her husband and a madrasa ‘Jamia Hussainia’ fabricated by her still stands.
7. Mirjan Fort (Kumta)
Stood on the bank of the river Aganashini, Mirjan Fort is a giant fort enclosed by a double layer of the towering supporters and high walls. The Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa set and lived in this ferocious fort during the sixteenth century for around 54 days.
Nicknamed as ‘The Pepper Queen’ or ‘Raina de Pimenta’ by the Portuguese because she ruled over properties that grew the best pepper. She also gave refuge to few artisans run away from wars in the faraway lands. They also helped queen to create deliberately strong fort of her own.
8. Mahim Causeway (Mumbai)
The sum of rupees 1.67 lakh used to create the Mahim Causeway in the year 1843 offered by the wife Avabai Jamshedjee of famous Parsi tycoon Jamshedjee Jejeebhoy. A tragedy, in which around 20 boats drowned in waterlogged swirling waters of Mahim creek, drove Avabai to commission the integration of the Bandra island with the mainland Bombay via a hill. Later on, became a vital lifeline of Mumbai.
9. Mohinishwara Shivalay Temple (Gulmarg)
Manufactured in the year 1915 by the Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia, the wifey of Raja Hari Singh- the king of Kashmir, this Mohinishwara Shivalay Temple sets proudly on the tiny hill right amid the Gulmarg.
Named in honor of the queen who created it, this temple was the royal one of the Kashmir’s Dogra dynasty. With the bright red sloping roof formulated against a background of the snowy peaks, this amazing temple is visible for almost every corner of Gulmarg.