Salima Sultan, widow of his trusted general and tutor became the queen of Akbar after he was sent for the pilgrimage and died midway. Prior to her, Akbar had a childless Ruqaiyya Begum as her first wife. The third chief wife of Akbar – Hira Kunwari, recorded in Muslim books as Mariyam Zamani Begum and popular now as “Jodha”, was daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber with whom he married in 1562.

Harem of Akbar

Akbar’s union with the Rajput princes marked a new policy. Her father Bharmal was decorated with the (Mansabdar) highest rank of the official aristocracy, the general of 5000 horsemen.

The bride was allowed to freely exercise the rites of her own faith Hinduism, marking the religious toleration of Akbar. Later he took other women Hindus, Persians, Muslim, Armenian in his harem, till the number rose to 5000, it seems like a parliament of religions. This was quite a number , says Abul Fazal.

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