When it comes to Ahom rule everyone,specially in Assam,is very well acquainted with names like Sukapha and Joymoti. Did you know that there were Ahom queens who ruled ? No ??
Well Yes,there was not one but three Ahom queens who ruled. If you are thinking that they ruled because their husbands were on war or because their child was a minor than you are totally wrong. These women ruled for real and were given the title “Bar Raja” meaning the “Chief King” and infact they were really powerful.
This happened during the days of Siva Singha (1714-1744). He was the son of Rudra Singha who is famous in history as “Lai”. Yes Lai is Joymoti’s son. Therefore Siva Singha happens to be Joymoti’s grandson.
Swargadeo Siva Singha was greatly influenced by Brahmana priests and astrologers. One astrologer predicted an end to his rule in the near future. And so, he stepped down from the position of the king and made the chief queen Phuleswari the “Bar Raja”.
Originally a dancer, Phuleswari was attached to a Siva temple in Dergaon. The king was lured by her beauty and so married Phuleswari. Her real name was Phulmati.Bar Raja Phuleswari minted coins in the joint names of her and her husband. She tried to make Saktism the state religion. Once she even insulted the Mahantas by inviting them in Durga Puja and making them bow their heads before the goddess. She is also credited to excavate the Gaurisagar tank in Sibsagar and built three temples on its bank dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Devi. She was also a great patron of Sanskrit learning and had a Sanskrit school started within the palace campus.
In 1731 Phuleswari died and Siva Singha married her sister Draupadi and made her Bar Raja. Even she excavated a tank in Rangpur and constructed three temples on its banks. The Siva temple has a gold covered dome and is the tallest of all temples in Assam. She died in 1738 and was succeded by Enadari,another wife of Siva Singha who became the Bar Raja Sarveswari.
Interestingly these ladies ruled quite efficiently and no war was fought during their times. It is recorded in the Ahom Buranji that three Europeans visited the Ahom court at that time and one of them is identified to be Colonel James Mill.