Born in Ahmednagar of Maharashtra to Manakoji Shinde in 1725. Married to Khande Rao in 1733. When Khande Rao died in the battle of Kumbher in 1754 Ahilyabai learnt to run the princely State of Holker under the stewardship of her father-in-law Malhar Rao Holkar. With the death of her father-in-law in 1766 the entire responsibility of running the State devolved on her. She proved herself to be an enlightened ruler from then onwards till her death in 1795.