There are a number of contesting stories about Padmavati aka Padmini. While on the one hand, the Rajput community maintains the sanctity of everything related to her, historians often say that her life was nothing but a poet’s imagination.
Padmavat, a poem in Awadhi was written 1540, more than two hundred years after Khilji’s death (1316). Before Padmavat, none of the historical annals, whether the annals of Rajput history or the Islamic rulers history in India had the mention of Padmavati or any figure like her. The Rajasthani folklore songs about Padmavati are believed to be derived from the 16th Century ‘Gora Badal Padmini Chaupai’, a Rajput adaption of the Padmavat which presented it as a true tale.
As the debate whether Padmavati ever existed or she was just the imagination of Mallik Muhammed Jayasi – who wrote Padmavat an epic poem about the siege of Chittor by Delhi Sultan Allauddin Khilji in 1303 – continues, lets us take a look at some of the lesser known things about her.
Jayasi and later Tod refer to her as the princess of Sinhaldeep ne Sri Lanka ne Ceylon, but some historians who accept her existence point to her origin near either Chittorgarh or in the desert states of Jaisalmer or Bikaner.
A publication Khyat of Jaisalmer described Padmini as the daughter of Rawal Punpalji of Jaisalmer and the daughter of the Bhati ruler of Pugal region. Women in this region are generally tall, well built, and very fair with sharp features, as are found in Bukhara, Iran, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
They also accuse Jayasi of creating myths around her but none would believe that Ratansee could have gone to Ceylon to bring her. Shyamal Das in Veer Vinod (1900) says Padmini could have been from Sri Lanka as Chittorgarh could have had relations with the country’s Suryavanshi rulers.
Is Padmavati was a Sinhala princess?
The poem Padmavat, begins with a fanciful description of the kingdom of Simhala-dvipa, where a princess named Padmani lived. Simhala (Sinhala)-dvipa falls in the Ceylon of yesteryears and present day Sri Lanka. Padamavati, according to Jayasi, was a “perfect woman” whose beauty was such that even goddess would envy of.