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Four Wives Of Kings In Ancient India

It is believed that a king was entitled to four wives in ancient India. The wives were divided into four classes. They are Mahishi, Parivritti, Vavata and Palagali.

Mahishi is the chief queen, the one who has been consecrated. She participates with the king in all important rituals. She sits near the king in the throne. It is her son who will become the next king.

Parivritti or parivrikti is a queen who was earlier favored but is now neglected. This is mainly due to her inability to give birth or due to the king suspecting her to be plotting against him. Sometimes she loses her status due to infidelity or health issues. 

Vavata is the favorite wife. She will be the most beautiful but other than her beauty she has no other good qualities. 

Palagali is the least favorite of the four wives. This wife is mostly taken by the king under stressful circumstances or as a compromise. The king marries her to protect the kingdom or throne or his subjects. Sometimes the king is forced to marry as solution to a mistake or as an act of repentance. 

Sometimes Parivritti is said to be the Shudra wife, Vavata is the vaishya wife, Mahishi is the kshatriya wife and Palagali is the wife from a different region which is not part of the mainstream society.