March 8 is International Women’s Day and is celebrated across the globe to salute and celebrate the embodiment of numerous traits that make a woman stand tall and strong. The day also creates an opportunity to honour the women from the annals of history who took bold steps towards not only achieving equality but also going ahead of men.
The day gives the world a chance to focus its efforts on empowering women, create opportunity to celebrate and remember the path-breaking women throughout history who took bold steps towards achieving equality.
Women’s Day may be the occasion to make a trip to places connected to some iconic women in Indian history. With women increasingly taking solo trips now (71% of women travellers plan to take independent trips in 2019, according to Booking.com), this could be the perfect excuse to set out on one such journey.
Here are some of the iconic women and the places they have made famous:
1. Mannikarnika (Jhansi ki Rani): The warrior queen who took to the battlefield to face the mighty British. Rani Laximibai has etched her name as one of the few earlier freedom fighters
Rani Laximibai was brought up in Bithoor, a small town in the Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Her upbringing was unlike any other woman of the time. She was taught the skills of horse riding, swordsmanship, archery among others. Her fearless demeanour and vehement protests against the British atrocities make for the folklore and in popular culture as movies.
She married the king of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao, but was widowed after a little over a decade. That’s when her struggle began to sustain the kingdom of Jhansi without a legal heir.
Take a trip to Jhansi and be transported back in time as you read about one of the greatest female fighters India has ever seen.
Where to stay: Bundelkhand Riverside, on the outskirts of the city of Jhansi, provides you with great opportunity to explore the bygone era of the town while you also enjoy a relaxing stay by the river. The accommodation has old world charm to it, with its handcrafted furnishings and the warm fireplace. One can even go canoeing in the river after exploring the historic heritage of Jhansi. Bundelkhand Riverside is 1.5 km from Jahangir Mahal and 2 km from Raj Parveen Mahal. It is 13 km from Jhansi Junction Railway Station and 19 km from Jhansi City.
2. Savitribai Phule: Often referred to as India’s first feminist icon, Savitribai Phule was born to a farming family in Naigaon, Satara, Maharashtra. She was married to Jyotirao Phule at the age of nine.
Savitribai is regarded as a prominent social reformer, educationalist and a poetess. She worked relentlessly for the education of girls, abolishing the caste system and for the widows and rape victims. She and Jyotirao Phule together opened the first-ever school for girls by an Indian. She was looked down upon by the society for educating girls, even pelted stones at but she did not give up.
She is also regarded as the first female teacher of India who played a significant role in championing women’s rights in British India. She died while nursing patients during the plague epidemic.
Today, the University of Pune takes its name after her.
Where to stay: Sheraton Grand Pune, an amalgamation of old-world décor and contemporary comfort. It has an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, a squash court, a nightclub among other facilities. The hotel is within 10 km to various attractions such as The Aga Khan’s Palace, The Pataleshwar Caves, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum and Koregaon Park.
3. Indira Gandhi: Born on November 19, 1917, at Allahabad/Prayagraj, Indira Gandhi was a woman of many firsts – the first and the only female Prime Minister of India, first female recipient of the Bharat Ratna among others. Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was an assistant to her father when he was the Prime Minister and learned the ropes from him. She then became the second longest serving Prime Minister after her father Jawaharlal Nehru. She served the nation from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1984 until she was assassinated.
This women’s day take a visit to Allahabad/Prayagraj where her story began and let the historic sites of the city marvel you.
Where to stay: Hotel Relax Inn is really good for your solo adventure. They serve amazing breakfast and vegetarian meals. The accommodation also offers a terrace with a view. The rooms are air-conditioned and it is considered one of the best value for money properties in the city.
4. Kalpana Chawla: Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman and the second Indian ever to go to space. Born in Karnal, Kalpana finished her early education in Punjab and later moved to the USA to finish her Masters in Aerospace Engineering and further obtained a doctorate in the field.
Her extensive contribution to NASA began in 1988 and she first flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 where she was a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
Kalpana Chawla died on February 1, 2003, in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.
With her two missions in space, Kalpana Chawla had logged a total of 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space.
Today, she is an inspiration to many. She opened multiple avenues for not only women in India but around the world.
Where to stay: Hotel Noor Mahal is a luxurious 5-star property featuring a traditional mix of Mughal and Rajputana architecture styles. Enjoy the ambience as you relax at the hotel’s spa and wellness centre or browse around the shopping arcade. The accommodation is 2 km from Karnal Railway Station. Other nearby attractions include the Jurassic Water Park, located 15 km away, while the historic sites of Panipat and Kurukshetra are at a distance of 25 km from the hotel.
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Often referred to as the voice of the millennium, Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 28, 1929, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, to a Marathi father and a Gujarati mother. Her father was a classical singer and a theatre artist. She lost him at an early age of 13.
She began her training in singing after that and moved to Mumbai in 1945. She started her career in singing with Marathi films, then bhajans, and later taking up training in Hindustani classical music and eventually entering Bollywood.
She is the most awarded Indian singer winning award titles like Bharat Ratna and Legion of Honor among others.
Her career that began in 1942 has spanned over seven-and-a-half decades.
Take a trip to where her journey began.
Where to stay: Hotel Nahargarh Palace is located 3.5 km from ISKCON Indore. It is a wonderful blend of culture and contemporary just 9 km from Rajwada Palace.