Rani Avantika may not be an important historical figure in Nanda Dynasty or Maurya Empire, she has gained an immense presence in the folklore that shows the ambitious and bold queen of Magadha who was married to a Magadha King.
Historical facts about Rani Avantika are unclear. It is widely known that Chandragupta Maurya’a displeasure on Nanda Dynasty led to the destruction of Magadhaa Empire and resurrection of his Kingdom.
Queen Avantika in Folklore
Shishunaga of Magadhaa Empire along with his royal consort Rani Avantika, sends an invitation to Suryagupta Maurya and Queen Mura Maurya of Pipallivan. The Maurya-royal couple accept the invite and adorn Magadhaa King – Shishunaga royal court.
Queen Mura finds herself entangled in a strange situation when a servant of Magadhaa court namely Mahapadma Nanda tries to court her. Upon noticing the misbehaviour of the servant, Rani Avantika punishes the lusty Mahapadma by a whip.
However, the story takes an interesting turn when it is revealed that Rani Avantika is in fact in an extra-marital alliance with Mahapadmaa who aspires to usurp the Magadha throne from the unsuspecting Shishunaga. Rani Avantika and Mahapadma conspire to kill Shishunaga so that they can reign over Magadha.
Unfortunately, the plan hatched by the perpetuators reach Suryagupta Maurya and Mura Maurya. However, before they go ahead and alert Shishunaga, Maghadha’s King is assassinated by Mahapadma and the blame is put on the poor Suryagupta Maurya who in turn will be executed for a crime that he has not committed.
Queen Avantika Marries Mahapadma Nanda
The story doesn’t stop here, Mura Maurya is harassed by Mahapadma who marries Rani Avantika and assumes the throne of Magadha. Mura vehemently rejects Mahapadma’s marriage proposal which is not taken kindly by Mahapadma.
Mura swears by her gut instincts and announces that it will be her son who will avenge the death of her husband. She also curses Mahapadma that he will have a daughter who will go through hardships as a result of his sins. Eventually, Rani Avantika gives birth to a daughter who will be named Nandini.
The story unfolds Mahapadma Nanda’s disinterest in his wife Avantika and his obsession with his daughter Nandini in later years where Avantika is side-lined by Mahapadma Nanda who spares her just for the sake of his lovely Nandini.