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Historical Anecdotes of Raksha Bandhan: Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun

Last updated :
July 3, 2024

minutes read

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that celebrates the sacred bond between brothers and sisters. It is deeply rooted in history and mythology, with many stories illustrating its significance. One of the most notable historical anecdotes involves Rani Karnavati of Mewar and Mughal Emperor Humayun. This story highlights the themes of protection, loyalty, and the unbreakable bond symbolized by the rakhi.

Rani Karnavati tying a rakhi on an emissary's wrist to be sent to Emperor Humayun
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1. The Historical Context

In the 16th century, India was a land of numerous kingdoms often engaged in battles and political alliances. Rani Karnavati was the regent of Mewar after the death of her husband, Rana Sanga. She ruled on behalf of her young son, Vikramaditya. During her reign, Mewar faced a significant threat from Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, who sought to capture the kingdom.

2. The Plea for Protection

Troops marching towards Mewar, representing the urgency of Emperor Humayun’s response on Raksha Bandhan

As Bahadur Shah's forces advanced towards Mewar, Rani Karnavati found herself in a dire situation. Recognizing the imminent danger, she decided to seek help from Emperor Humayun, despite the political tensions between the Rajputs and the Mughals. In a desperate bid to save her kingdom, she sent a rakhi to Humayun, symbolically making him her brother and pleading for his protection.

3. Emperor Humayun's Response

Emperor Humayun, touched by the gesture and the sacredness of the rakhi, immediately set aside his military campaigns and marched towards Mewar with his troops. Although he could not arrive in time to prevent the fall of Chittorgarh, his efforts highlighted the powerful bond and the sense of duty that the rakhi represented. His intervention eventually helped to restore peace and stability in the region, underscoring the protective and unifying power of the festival.

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4. The Aftermath and Legacy

Although Rani Karnavati could not save herself and her kingdom entirely from the invasion, her act of sending a rakhi to Humayun left a lasting legacy. It demonstrated the importance of alliances and the cultural significance of Raksha Bandhan as a festival that transcends familial bonds and political boundaries. This historical event is remembered as a testament to the enduring values of protection and loyalty.

5. The Symbolism of Raksha Bandhan

The traditional rituals of Raksha Bandhan, with a sister tying a rakhi on her brother’s wrist

The story of Rani Karnavati and Humayun is a poignant reminder of the festival's deeper meanings. Raksha Bandhan is not just about the physical act of tying a thread but also about the promises and commitments it symbolizes. It is a pledge of protection, trust, and unwavering support, values that remain relevant across centuries and continue to be celebrated today.


Raksha Bandhan, with its rich historical and cultural roots, is a festival that embodies the spirit of protection and love. The tale of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is a powerful example of how this festival transcends familial relationships and political alliances, highlighting the universal values of loyalty and support. As we celebrate Raksha Bandhan, we honor these timeless stories and the enduring bonds they represent.


What is the significance of the story of Rani Karnavati and Humayun?

The story of Rani Karnavati and Humayun highlights the values of protection and loyalty associated with Raksha Bandhan. It shows how the festival transcends personal and political boundaries to symbolize trust and support.

How did Emperor Humayun respond to Rani Karnavati's rakhi?

Emperor Humayun, touched by the gesture of the rakhi, abandoned his military campaigns and marched to assist Rani Karnavati, demonstrating the profound sense of duty and protection the rakhi symbolizes.

What lessons can be learned from the historical anecdotes of Raksha Bandhan?

The historical anecdotes of Raksha Bandhan teach us the importance of loyalty, protection, and the strength of symbolic gestures in fostering unity and support among individuals and communities.

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