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Life and reign
Kota Rani was the daughter of Ramachandra, the commander-in-chief of Suhadeva, the king of Kashmir. Ramachandra had appointed an administrator Rinchan, a Ladakhi. Rinchan became ambitious. He sent a force in the fort in the guise of merchants, who took Ramachandra's men by surprise.[page needed] Ramachandra was killed and his family was taken prisoner.
To earn local support, Rinchan appointed Rawanchandra, the son of Ramachandra, as administrator of Lar and Ladakh, and married his sister Kota Rani. He employed Shah Mir as a trusted courtier, who had entered Kashmir earlier and had been given an appointment in the government. Rinchan converted to Islam and adopted the name of Sultan Sadruddin. He died as a result of an assassination after ruling for three years.
Kota Rani was first appointed as a regent for Rinchan's young son. Later she was persuaded to marry Udayanadeva by the elders. Udayanadeva died in 1338.
Kota Rani had two sons. Rinchan's son was under the charge of Shah Mir and Udayanadeva's son was taught by Bhatta Bhikshana. Kota Rani became the ruler in her own right and appointed Bhatta Bhikshana as her prime minister.
Shah Mir pretended to be sick, and when Bhatta Bhikshana visited him, Shah Mir jumped out of his bed and killed him. According to the historian Jonaraja, she committed suicide and offered her intestines to him as a wedding gift. It is not known what happened to her sons.
She was very intelligent and a great thinker. She saved the city of Srinagar from frequent floods by getting a canal constructed, named after her and called "Kute Kol". This canal gets water from Jhelum River at the entry point of city and again merges with Jhelum river beyond the city limits.
In popular culture
Rakesh Kaul's historical novel The Last Queen of Kashmir is based on Kota Rani's life and legend.
- Hasan, Kashmir under the Sultans 1959, p. 8.
- Hasan, Kashmir under the Sultans 1959.
- Culture and political history of Kashmir, Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1994.
- Mihir Balantrapu, Kota, the fortress (Book review of The Last Queen of Kashmir), The Hindu, 5 August 2016.
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