Saturday, February 27, 2021





Queen Didda



(bronze and copper coins issued by Queen Didda of Kashmir. Sharda script is distinctly visible in these coins.)

Didda’s (r 958-1003CE) rule represents the peak of women’s power in Kashmir.Didda was the daughter of Simharaja, of the Lohara dynasty (1003 CE – 1320 CE) which ruled some of the hilly principalities south of Poonch in present-day Jammu and Kashmir.

At the age of 26, Didda was married to Kshemagupta who became the ruler after the death of his father in 950 CE. He  was a weak king given to  drinking, gambling and hunting. As a result, the task of ruling the kingdom fell into the hands of his wife, Queen Didda.

Queen Didda was a firm ruler and administered  the kingdom in her own style. She is built many temples in the  memory of her son and her husband. According to Kalhana , she constructed more than  64 temples . A prominent  Shiva temple in Srinagar, called Diddara Math was named after her. The   temple does not exist at present but the locality is still known as Diddamar. 

Aurel Stein writes:-
“The statesmanlike instinct and political ability which we must ascribe to Didda in spite of all the defects of her character, are attested by the fact that she remained to the last in peaceful possession of the Kashmir throne, and was able to bequeath it to her family in undisputed possession.”

Queen Didda never yielded to the bridles of patriarchy and lived a full and fulfilling life, as a liberated and independent woman, as well as a sovereign. She ruled over Kashmir for 22 years and died in 1003CE.


Queen Sugandha



(copper and bronze  coins of Queen Sugandha.Sharda script is distinctly visible in these coins )

While going to Baramulla from Srinagar city, one comes across two stone temples in ruined state near Pattan..  Known as Sugandesh and Shankar Gaurisa ,these temples were built by King Shankarvarman of Utpala dynasty of Kashmir.  Sugandha was  married to King  Shankaravarman  . Shankarvarman succeeded his illustrious father, Avantivarman in A.D. 883. 

On Shankaravarman’s untimely death, Sugandha Devi ,his queen displayed great courage by  concealing the fact of his death till she was ready to take on the guardianship of their minor  son, Gopalavarman, and rule the kingdom as a regent.

She proved a powerful ruler who crushed some revolts and many a court intrigues. 

Sugandha’s copper  coinage is an important corroborative evidence of her power and refers to her by the masculine epithet Sri Sugandha Deva. Goddess Lakshmi is seen in most of the coins relating to the rule of Sugandha Rani..

(Avtar Mota)


The earliest known records of the Sharada characters are the coins of the Utpala dynasty of Kashmir (9th century CE) and a brief record carved on the fragment of a broken jar discovered from the precincts of the Avantiswamin temple and containing the name of Avantivarman, (855-883 CE) the founder of the temple. 

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