The Maharashtra government has made the decision to rename Ahmednagar district as Ahilyadevi Nagar, paying tribute to the renowned warrior-queen Ahilyadevi Holkar of the 18th century to mark her 298th birth anniversary. This follows previous renaming efforts by the Shinde-Fadnavis government, which resulted in the creation of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad district) and Dharashiv (formerly Osmanabad district). The name change is in line with the state government’s policy of renaming places that were named after despotic Muslim rulers.
History of Ahmednagar
Ahmednagar is a historic city located in the state of Maharashtra.
- Early History: Ahmednagar has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The region was ruled by various dynasties, including the Mauryas, Satavahanas, Rashtrakutas, and Chalukyas. It was also a part of the Yadava Kingdom and the Delhi Sultanate.
- Ahmednagar Sultanate: The city gained prominence during the 15th and 16th centuries when it became the capital of the Ahmednagar Sultanate, established by Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I. The sultanate was a prominent regional power and had control over a significant portion of present-day Maharashtra.
- Ahmednagar was named after its founder, Ahmad Nizam Shah I, who established his Sultanate. The city was originally known as Bhingar before it was renamed Ahmednagar.
- Mughal Rule: In the late 16th century, the Mughal Emperor Akbar launched several campaigns to conquer the Ahmednagar Sultanate. After a prolonged struggle, the Mughals finally annexed Ahmednagar in 1636 and incorporated it into their empire.
- Maratha Empire: During the 18th century, the Marathas, led by the Peshwas, rose to power in the region. Ahmednagar became an important center for the Maratha Empire, serving as a military base and an administrative hub.
- British Rule: Following the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Ahmednagar came under British rule in 1818. It became a part of the Bombay Presidency and played a role in the British administration.
- Post-Independence: After India gained independence in 1947, Ahmednagar became a part of the newly formed state of Maharashtra. It has since developed into a major industrial and commercial center in the region, with a blend of historical and modern attractions.
Today, Ahmednagar now Ahilyadevi Nagar, stands as a city that carries the remnants of its glorious past while embracing the opportunities of the present. It is known for its historical monuments, and religious sites, and as a hub for agricultural and industrial activities.
About the Queen Ahilyadevi Holkar
- Ahilyadevi Holkar, also known as Ahilyabai Holkar, was an influential 18th-century queen and ruler of the Malwa kingdom (around present-day Indore) in central India.
- She was born on May 31, 1725, in the village of Chondi in Maharashtra. Ahilyadevi Holkar is widely regarded as one of the most respected and capable rulers in Indian history.
- Ahilyadevi Holkar came to power after her husband, Khanderao Holkar, died in battle.
- As the ruler of Malwa, she focused on improving the welfare and development of her kingdom.
- Ahilyadevi Holkar was known for her administrative skills, just governance, and promotion of social and economic reforms.
- She implemented policies that supported agriculture, trade, and industry, and she also worked to eradicate corruption and promote religious harmony.
- Ahilyadevi Holkar was a patron of the arts and architecture, and she commissioned the construction of several temples, ghats, and other public works.
- She rebuilt the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, in Varanasi. Her contributions to the temple significantly enhanced its grandeur and architectural splendor.
- She made substantial contributions to the restoration and reconstruction of the famous Somnath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple holds great religious significance and is located in Prabhas Patan, Gujarat.
- She also contributed to the renovation and beautification of the Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi and is an important pilgrimage site for devotees.
- She is particularly known for her support of the city of Maheshwar, which she transformed into a thriving center of culture and commerce.
- Ahilyadevi Holkar ruled for over three decades and was admired for her humility, compassion, and dedication to the welfare of her people.
- She passed away on August 13, 1795, in Maheshwar.
- Her legacy as a progressive and visionary ruler continues to inspire generations in India.
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What is the new name of Ahmednagar?
The new name of Ahmednagar is Ahilyadevi Nagar. The city was renamed by the Maharashtra government on June 2, 2023. The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The name change is in line with the state government’s policy of renaming places that were named after despotic Muslim rulers. In recent months, the government has renamed Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv.
Who became king or queen after Ahilyadevi Holkar?
Ahilyadevi Holkar was succeeded by her commander-in-chief and nephew, Tukoji Rao Holkar. He soon abdicated the throne in favor of his son Kashi Rao Holkar in 1797.
Tukojirao Holkar was a capable general and administrator. He continued Ahilyabai’s policies of expansion and development, and the Holkar kingdom reached its zenith under his rule. He died in 1797 and was succeeded by his son Kashi Rao Holkar.