Brave 13th century Indian queen Rudramadevi

Rudramadevi statue,Hyderabad.India

Rudramadevi inscription found in Chandupalt

Above image: Rudramadevi inscription found in Chandupalt in1994.Actual date of death Nov. 27,1289 AD

Several centuries ago, the ruling dynasties mostly preferred males as successors to the throne and women were relegated to the backstage. However, there were daring maverick kings who groomed their female heirs as rulers and succeeded in making them as daring and successful female rulers as other male rulers. Rani Rudrama Devi of Kakatiya dynasty was the youngest queen among Indian women rulers.

Rani Rudrama Devi (1259–1289 A.D.), the daughter of King Ganapathideva (or Ganapathi Devudu), belonged to the Kakatiya dynasty in the Deccan Plateau.  She had the distinction of being one of the efficient and intelligent queens in the annals of Indian history preceding daring later Indian woman rulers such as Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bhai (1828 –1858), Rani Mangammal (1689 -1704) of Madurai Nayak dynasty, Velu Nachiyar  of  Sivaganga, 18th century queen (Tamil Nadu) and others.

 Born as Rudramba (Rudra-Amba) to King Ganapathideva, who ruled at Orugallu (now Warangal,Telengana), her father formally designated her as a son through the ancient ''Putrika Ceremony''and gave her the male name of Rudradeva.  She succeeded her father when she was barely 14 years old and  married Veerabhadra, an eastern Chalukyan prince of Nidadavolu. She groomed as a boy and learned the intricacies of warfares, various aspects of  administration of the kingdom etc., as every prince had to go through such training in his early stages  to become a promising ruler.

She jointly ruled the kingdom with her father as his co-regent from 1259-60 A.D onward, under the name of Rudradeva Maharajah. In the wake of a sudden invasion of Jatavarma Sundara Pandya and the debacle in the battle at Muttukur near Nellore, the terribly shaken Ganapathideva lost some territories. Though he ultimately emerged victorious, he stepped down and gave full control to his daughter.

Upon the death of her father about the year 1269 A.D, she celebrated her coronation. However, her succession to the throne was  vehemently opposed by many male chauvinistic  small rulers and nobles, including her own relations. They simply hated being under the woman's authority. 

 Above image: Rudramadevi movie- Director Gunashekar.actress Anushka as Rani Rudramadevi.

In the olden days, in the Hindu kingdoms and also in Hindu scriptures, though women were not considered on par with men in all respects, menfolks  held them in great esteem and reverence and  considered them as equal partners in  household matters. Intelligent and diplomatic as she was, Rudramadevi  asserted her  full sovereignty and quelled  the rebelled rulers with support from the citizens and numerous other small rulers. She also defeated  Hariharadeva, her brother and  daringly proved that she was the worthy successor to her father's throne to carry on the legacy of the  Kakatiya dynasty.

Literally she was Lord Shiva in ugraha form - the cosmic dancer and also God of destroyer in woman form (hence the name Rudra Devi). She became such a brave, fierce warrior in a male dominated world, the very mention of her name would make her adversaries  shudder.  Not only  was she a great warrior, but also a good  and humane emperor. She was ably supported by her best friend  Annamambika Devi, wife of  Gona Ganna Reddy. In her eventful  history, one fascinating fact emerged. It was about Gona Ganna Reddy, who was a thief by profession. Having given up thievery, he became a good human being and suppressed the rulers who rebelled against Rudramadevi and tagged her as unfit for the throne. This thief-turned good human being became the king of a province under Rudramadevi, a great, just queen of the Kakatiya dynasty.

Rani Rudramadevi  during her reins completed the Warangal Fort begun by her father.

Marco polo, the famous Venetian traveler, who paid a visit during her rule wrote,  that she was a lover of justice, equity and peace.

According to an inscription found in 1994  Rudrama Devi  died on  November 27,1289 AD. 


Kolluru Suryanarayana (1986). History of the minor Chāḷukya families in medieval Āndhradēśa. B.R. Pub. Corp. ISBN 978-81-7018-330-3.