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Alha of the Banaphar Rajput clan was the famous general of the great Chandel king Paramdidev, or Parmal, who fought Prithviraj Chauhan in 1182 CE.[1] Alha's mother, Devaki, was a member of the Ahir caste.[2]

In the Puranas, when Mahpati (Mahil) states that Ahlada (Alsha) has come to be of "low family" (kule hinatvamagatah), it is because his mother is an Arya Abhiri (aryabhiri: means "Aryan" Ahiri)Here, however the story is foundational and told not at this point in Alhda's courtship but in connection with the girl's own marriage. The two maidens are indeed Ahiris, daughters of Gopalak (cowherd) king Dalvahana and accustomed to daily tethering of buffaloes. They seize two buffaloes not in forest but in front of many kings during great Chandika homa performed by their father, when the assembled kings themselves find the buffaloes too much to handle. Dalvahana, at the command of Durga, then gives the older daughter Devaki (Devi) to Desaraja (Dasraj) and the younger daughter Brahmi to Vatsaraja (Bachraj. These buffaloes are indeed for sacrifice to the goddess. moreover, as we have seen, the Purana adds that it is not only the "Banaphars" mothers who are Ahirs, but their paternal grandmother from Baksar are also Ahirs, who entered the family with a blessing of chandika that come not from wrestling buffaloes but from her nine-year vow to the nine Durgas! Some of this checks out with the Elliot's Alha, where the gopalaka King Dalvahana is called Dalpat, King of Gwalior. he is still the two girl's father, but merely gives them to Dasraj and Bachraj when Parmal requested him [3]

(To be noted that) Ahirs are among the "older, pastoralist tradition" of peasants who used a rajputizing idioms to express their values, but were regarded as "Spurious Rajputs" by those who stressed genealogical ascription over achievement [4]

The Queen Malhna insists that King Parmal reward Dashraj and Bachraj with brides from within the Chandel land. King Dalpat of Gwalior volunteers his daughters Devi(Devaki, Alha's Mother) and Birma. Queen Malhna welcomes Devi to Mahoba by placing the nine lakh chain(Naulakha Haar)around her neck and also gives Birma a necklace. King Parmal then gives new Banaphar families a village where they bear and raise their sons.[5]

Alha is one of the heroes of the Alha-Khand poem, popularly recited in the Bundelkhand region of India, a work that is also known as Parmal Raso.[6]


Alha Udal bade ladaiya jinse haar gayi talwar (meaning "Alha and Udal were such great fighters that even swords were defeated by them"), the folklore of Alha and Udal, is still sung in the heartland of Bundelkhand. According to folklore, Alha was invincible, made immortal by the goddess Sharda. The shrine of the goddess is at Maihar in Madhya Pradesh (India). Alha gifted his head to Sharda after cutting it off with a sword. The goddess, extremely pleased by the act, made him immortal. Alha also had two maternal brothers, Malkhan and Sulkhan. Malkhan had enormous strength, represented in the sentence, "das das haathi bhuj par taule" (meaning "ten elephants were weighed by him on one hand").

Alha had a sword given to him by his uncle Parmal, the ruler of Mahoba. The sword was said to be from heaven and no weapon could match its fury. Authors still write versions of Alha-Khand, including Lumbardar Thakur Amol Singh Bhadauriya of Kanpur district. The people who listen to a recital of the Alha-Khand are filled with a warrior spirit and fearlessness. They honor the code of the Kshatriya warriors and the courage shown in the gruesome, difficult battles fought by them. "Aadi bhawani durga tose bada na koy aath khand nau dweep mei toy kare so hoy" (meaning "oh great goddess of war, the oldest of old, the sole reason for evolution of the world, nobody is above you; what is happening in this world is done by your power only.").[clarification needed] The warriors of Mahoba were unbeatable. They worshiped goddess and sword and hence were undefeated.[clarification needed]


  1. ^ R.V. Russels of Central Provinces (India), Central Provinces District Gazetteers: Seoni, page 25
  2. ^ Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics at Google Books
  3. ^ Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics at Google Books]
  4. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (2009-02-15). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics: Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalits. ISBN 9780226340555. 
  5. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (2009). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics: Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalits. University of Chicago Press. p. 160. ISBN 0-226-34050-3. 
  6. ^ Sir Alexander Cunningham, Reports of a tour in Bundelkhand and Rewa in 1883-84, and of a tour in Rewa, page 8

External links[edit]

  • Alha Udal
  • Mahoba
  • Mishra, Pt. Lalita Prasad (2007). Alhakhand (in Hindi) (15 ed.). Lucknow (India): Tejkumar Book Depot (Pvt) Ltd. p. 614.