India is truly a land of diversity, where immortal love stories can be found next the legendary war stories, where valiant kings fought for both their kingdom and their love.
Here are 11 such mythical love stories that have survived the edge of time, and continued to give us hope.
1. Anarkali and Salim
Immortalized by the film Mughal-E-Azam, this is the love story of the Mughal prince Salim, and the courtesan Anarkali. Salim’s father, the emperor Akbar was not happy with it, which led to Salim declaring a war against Akbar. Needless to say, Akbar won the war. To save Salim, it is said that Anarkali sacrificed herself by being entombed alive!
2. Prithviraaj Chauhan and Samyukta
This saga is one of the greatest Indian lovestories. The king Prithviraj Chauhan was in love with Samyukta, the daughter of his rival Jaichand of Kannauj. To humiliate prithviraj, Jaichand arranged a swayamvara for Samyukta and invited every king and prince but Prithviraj. Instead he got a clay statue of Prithviraj made to serve as a doorman. But Samyukta chose to put the garland across the statue of Prithviraj, who was hiding behind his own statue and escaped from there with Samyukta. Samyukta killed herself performing Jauhar when Prithviraj was defeated by Mohammad Ghori.
3. Nurjahan and Jahangir
Born as Mehr-un-Nissa, Nur Jahan was Mughal emperor Jahangir’s twentieth and most favourite wife. Jahangir was so enchanted with her that he literally killed her husband to acquire her. Disgusted she refused him for 6 years till she finally understood Jahangir’s love for her and consented to marry him. She was also his chief consort, and later ruled for almost 20 years!
4. Bappaditya and the solanki princess
The famous Rajput king, Bappaditya, who grew up among Bhils, came accross the princess of Solanki, a neighbouring kingdom, who on the full moon night of Jhulan, along with her friends had erected a swing on a tree in the forest. They reprised the roles of Radha and Krishna and a mock marriage ceremony took place between them. Bappaditya later married many other princesses but it is said that he has always been in love with the Solanki princess!
5. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Arjumand Banu Begum was Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s second wife. Being the most favourite of all, she was given the name “Mumtaz Mahal” by emperor, which meant ‘the jewel/chosen one of the palace’. She bore him 14 children and died while giving birth to the 14th child. A grief stricken Shah Jahan constructed a final resting place for her. The sign of their love, Taj Mahal, remains as one of the seven greatest wonders of the world till date.
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6. Shivaji and Saibai
Going against the conventional love stories, this one is of love maturing with time. The founder of the Maratha Empire, Shivaji was married to Saibai from the Nimbalkar dynasty at a very young age. Since Shivaji was busy in battles after that their love took time to grow. Saibai, mother of Shivaji’s four Children, was said to be his favourite wife, and it is also said that Shivaji’s last word on his deathbed was ‘Sai’.
7. Baji rao and Mastani
Peshwa Baji Rao, who was a military general of Chhatrapati Shahuji, fell in love with a woman named Mastani. Mastani’s origins were unknown, reason enough for Baji Rao’s family to oppose against their union. Despite that, Baji Rao married her. It was said that their love was so great that after Baji Rao died in battle Mastani committed suicide!
9. Quli Qutub Shah and Bhagmati
As a young prince, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, while passing through a village on the other side of Musi river, saw a beautiful woman named Bhagmati and fell head over heels in love with her. Going against all odds, which includes opposition from family because Bhagmati was a commoner and Hindu to crossing a fuming river, he finally succeeded into marrying her. He found an entire city around Bhagmati’s village and named it Hyderabad, after Bhagmati, as she was given the name Hyder Mahal after marriage.
10. Amrapali and Bimbisara
The famous courtesan of Vaisali, Amrapali is also famous as one of Buddha’s disciples. It is said that When King Bimbisara of Magadha attacked Vaisali, he came to know of Amrapali’s fame and disguised, came to see her dance. Both fell in love with each other, but when Bimbisara asked her to come with him, she declined, having promised the citizens that she would never marry. Instead, she asked him to save her city if his love was true, and later joined Buddha to attain peace.
11. Mumal and Mahendra
This tale is of a beautiful Rajput girl, Mumal and Rana Mahendra of Umer Kot (now in Pakistan). Once Mahendra came near Mumal’s abode while hunting and impressed by him, Mumal decided to take him as her consort and eventually their love blossomed. Mahendra found a fast camel that would take him to Jaisalmer and back from Umer kot each night. When Mahendra’s family came to know about this they broke the legs of the camel, but Mahendra couldn’t be stopped. He took another camel and set for Jaisalmer, accidentally reaching Barmer instead. Upon finding his mistake he started again for Jaisalmer. Mumal kept waiting for him and to keep her company, her sisters dressed up to entertain her. One of the sisters who dressed as man ended up sleeping in Mumal’s bed with her. When Mahendra came to Kak Mahal, he saw this and disgusted, he left, leaving his riding cane behind. Mumal’s pleadings went in vain, and to finally prove her innocence, she set a fire and jumped in it. When Mahendra heard of it, he came rushing to the palace, but Mumal was already in flames. To be with her forever, Mahendra joined her in the fire.
“Hail to thee, O Love, sweet madness! Thou who heal all our infirmities.” – Rumi