Padmini, also known as Padmavati, was a legendary 13th–14th century queen (Rani) of the Mewar kingdom of present-day India. Several 16th-century texts mention her, of which the earliest source is Padmavat, an epic fictionalized poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 CE.
The Jayasi text describes her story as follows: Padmavati was an exceptionally beautiful princess of the Singhal kingdom (Sri Lanka). Ratan Sen, the Rajput ruler of Chittor Fort, heard about her beauty from a talking parrot named Hiraman. After an adventurous quest, he won her hand in marriage and brought her to Chittor. Ratan Sen was captured and imprisoned by Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi. While Ratan Sen was in prison, the king of Kumbhalner Devpal became enamoured with Padmavati's beauty and proposed to marry her. Ratan Sen returned to Chittor and entered into a duel with Devpal, in which both died. Alauddin Khalji laid siege to Chittor to obtain Padmavati. Facing a certain defeat against Khalji, before Chittor was captured, she and her companions committed Jauhar (self-immolation) thereby defeating Khalji's aim and protecting their honour. Coupled to the Jauhar, the Rajput men died fighting on the battlefield.
Many other written and oral tradition versions of her life exist in Hindu and Jain traditions. These versions differ from the Sufi poet Jayasi's version. For example, Rani Padmini's husband Ratan Sen dies fighting the siege of Alauddin Khalji, and thereafter she leads a jauhar. In these versions, she is characterised as a Hindu Rajput queen, who defended her honour against a Muslim invader. Over the years she came to be seen as a historical figure and appeared in several novels, plays, television serials and movies. However, while Khalji's siege of Chittor in 1303 CE is a historical event, many modern historians question the authenticity of the Padmini legends.