|"Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar & Mariam uz-Zaman|
|Heer kunwari palace, Fatehpor Sikhri. en.wikipedia.org. en.wikipedia.org|
Heer Kunwari, the princess of Amer /Amber and daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer (modern day Jaipur) was married to Akbar on February 6, 1562 at Sambhar near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Heer Kunwari became the third wife of Akbar after Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was Akbar's first wife. She was the longest serving Hindu Mogul Empress. Her tenure, from 6th February, 1562 to 27th October, 1605, was over 43 years. She happened to be the eldest daughter of Raja Bharmal, of Amer (modern day Jaipur) and the grand daughter of Raja Prithvi Singh I of Amer.
Though she remained a Hindu through out her life, Heer Kunwari was honored with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age") after she gave birth to Jahangir. Despite her being a non-Muslim wife, she was held in great respect and honor in the Mogul household. She is also the grand mother of Shahjahan, the builder of Taj Mahal and father of Aurangazeb. Heer also held the titles of Mallika-e-Muezzama, meaning exceedingly chaste, innocent and honored, Mallika-e-Hind (Hindustan), referring to Queen of India and Wali Nimat Begam,meaning the Gift of God. Heer had the fortune of holding the titles throughout her lifetime and even issued farmans (official documents) using the title of Wali Nimat Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum.
|A painting of Rajkumari Heer Kunwari- wife of Akbar, giving birth to Jehangir, forth child. en.wikipedia. org|
Her son Jahangir used to pay respect to Heer Kunwari, his mother by way of touching her feet, a rare thing among Muslims. Such courtesies demonstrate that she was held in highest esteem by the people around her. In the beginning of 1569, Akbar was happy that Heer Kunwari was expecting a child, the first of the three sons promised by Sheikh Salim Chisti, a holy man of great repute. He was living at Sikri in a humble place where on 30 August 1569, Heer Kunwari gave birth to a boy who was named Salim as a token of Akbar's reverence for Sheikh Salim Chisti.
An interesting fact is Akbar, being secular, never interfered in Heer Kumari's religious faiths and rites. He allowed to remain a Hindu through out her life and had a temple built in the palace itself for her convenience and spiritual requirements and with joy took part in the Pooja activities without any reservation or inhibition. Being an ardent devotee of of Lord Krishna, her palace had paintings of Lord Krishna and frescoes.
Mariam uz-Zamani, who died in 1623 was Akbar's only wife buried close to him, as per Islamic custom, though she was a Hindu till her death and her tomb is a kilometer from the Mausoleum of Akbar, the Great. Her tomb, built in 1623-27, is on the Tantpur road now in Jyoti Nagar. Her grave is in the underground and one has to reach it through a flight of steps. Unlike other Muslim tombs, this tomb's back and front parts are quite identical. Her son Jahangir as per her wish, had a Vav or step well built in her honor.
|Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Sikandra, Agra en.wikipedia.|
(Revised and corrected October 07, 2016)