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Empress consort of the Maurya Empire
Born 3rd century BCE
Kalinga, India
Spouse Ashoka
Issue Tivala (son)
House Maurya
Religion Buddhism

Karuvaki (or Charuvaki) was the second queen[1] of the third Mauryan emperor, Ashoka. She was also the mother of Ashoka's son, Prince Tivala.


According to historian M.N. Das, Karuvaki was a fisherman's daughter who converted to Buddhism and became a sanyasini. Following Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, he married her and made her his queen.[unreliable source?] According to Das, she had guided Ashoka towards his religious leanings.[2][unreliable source?]

Karuvaki was immortalized in the Queen Edict wherein her religious and charitable donations were recorded as per her wishes. This gives an image of her being a self-possessed and strong-willed consort, who wanted an act of philanthropy recorded as specifically hers.[3][4]

The edict also identifies her as mother to their son, Prince Tivala (also referred to as Tivara), who is the only son of Ashoka mentioned by name in his inscriptions.[5][6][7] The inference being that, Karuvaki, was the favourite and the mother of the prince who would've succeeded his father but who probably predeceased him.[8][9]

Karuvaki is thought to be a powerful woman as she is the only queen of Ashoka, who holds the distinction of being named in his inscriptions and edicts.[10][11]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Shah, Kirit K. (2001). The problem of identity : women in early Indian inscriptions. New Delhi [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. pp. 33, 180. ISBN 9780195653229. 
  2. ^ Khan, M I (September 26, 2000). "Controversy dogs Shah Rukh Khan!". Rediff. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Nayanjot Lahiri (2015). Ashoka in Ancient India. Harvard University Press. p. 283. 
  4. ^ Romesh Chunder Dutt; Vincent Arthur Smith; Stanley Lane-Poole; Henry Miers Elliot; William Wilson Hunter; Alfred Comyn Lyall (1906). History of India, Volume 2; Volume 6. The Grolier Society. p. 175. 
  5. ^ "The Queen Edict". Buddha's World. 1999. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  6. ^ Thapar, Romila (1973). Aśoka and the decline of the Mauryas. Oxford University Press. p. 30. 
  7. ^ The Cambridge Shorter History of India. Cambridge University Press Archive. p. 53. 
  8. ^ MacPhail, James Merry (1951). Aśoka. Y.M.C.A. Publishing House. p. 71. 
  9. ^ Sen, S. N. (1999). Ancient Indian History And Civilization. New Age International. p. 151. ISBN 8122411983. 
  10. ^ Gupta, Subhadra Sen (2009). "Ashoka's family". Ashoka. Penguin UK. ISBN 9788184758078. 
  11. ^ University of Allahabad. Dept. of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala. Dept. of History, University of Travancore, University of Kerala (1963). "Journal of Indian History". 41. Department of Modern Indian History: 155. 
  12. ^ "Ashoka the Great (2001)". IMDB. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Reem to play Ashoka's love interest". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 January 2016.