Thakore was born to a lawyer in 23 October 1869 in Porbandar, and later moved to Bharuch in Gujarat. After his schooling he went to Rajkot for further education where he came under the influence of Christianity and appreciated Islam as well. This exposure gave him a rational and impartial outlook, also reflected in his poems. He married at the age of eighteen years, later he remarried after the death of his first wife.
Thakore graduated with honors from Deccan College, Pune where he was awarded with The Ellis scholarship for highest marks in English. He later went to Mumbai with the view for appearing at the ICS examination where he started writing articles for the Times of India. He was the assistant editor for the Indian Spectator for some time. Later, he returned to Deccan College to pursue his M.A. He was invited by Lokmanya Tilak as an assistant editor for the celebrated Maratha which he later declined.
Thakore taught History, Economics, Political Science, Logic and Ethics at DJ Sindh College, Karachi. He remained active throughout his life talking lectures at Wilson College, Mumbai, even at the age of 80. He also started his own publishing house at around the same time which he wanted to establish as a trust for encouraging literature. However, he couldn't live long to do so. He died at the age of 83 years on 2 January 1952.
Prof. Balwantrai Thakore is considered one of the greatest pioneers of the Pandit yug. His sonnet sequence "Premo Divas" (Day of love) and the collection of poems Bhanakar (published in 1917) are believed to be the major contributions to Gujarati Literature. Umashankar Joshi, Tribhuvandas Luhar a.k.a. Sundaram were among his students. He also wrote some books on literary criticism like 'Lyric', Aapni Kavita Samrudhhi. The Shree Lalshankar Umiyashankar Arts and Harivadan and Padmaben Thakore Commerce College for Women was established in part by the dedication and effort of Thakore.
- Milestones in Gujarati Literature by K M Jhaveri.
- Brahmbhatt, Prasad. (2003) Kavyasarita. (Literary Criticism of the evolution of Poetry). Ahmedabad: Parshwa Publication.
- Trivedi, Ramesh. M. (1994) Arvachin Gujarati Sahityano Itihaas. (History of Modern Gujarati Literature). Ahmedabad: Adarsh Prakashan.
- Trivedi, Ramesh. M. (2005) Gujarati Sahityano Itihaas. (History of Gujarati Literature). Ahmedabad: Adarsh Prakashan.