Bhandari caste

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For other uses, see Bhandari (disambiguation).

Regions with significant populations

Primary populations in:

Populations in:


Konkani, Marathi

English used for professional purposes, Sanskrit used for religious purposes


  • Divisions based on Sub-communities
    • Kitte
    • Hetkari
    • Kshatriya
    • Thale
    • Chaudhary
    • Devkar
    • Sheshwanshi (Shinde)
    • Morey
    • Gawad
Related ethnic groups
Konkani people
Bhandari caste is located in India
Distribution of Bhandari community on the western coast of India

The Bhandari caste is among the seafaring castes of ancient and medieval India.They migrated southward from Rajputana in early 1100 and subsequently spread over different parts of India. Along with Maharashtra, Goa, parts of Karnataka like Karwar. Bhandaris had significant contribution in the growth and development of Mumbai.

Under Rule of Raja Bhimdev (13th Century)[edit]

Sheshwanshi Bhandaris arrived with King Bhimdev, who established his base in Mumbai in 13th Century. During his reign he is also supposed to have brought Pathare Prabhus, Palshis, Pachkalshis, Vadvals, Bhois, Agris and Brahmins to Mumbai. Kitte Bhandaris evolved from Kirtik Bhattars (warriors) in the Konkan region. Bhandaris established smaller kingdoms around present day Mumbai.

Under Rule of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj (17th Century)[edit]

During the rule of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the naval fleet which constituted a fleet of 200 ships, was commanded by two admirals who bore the titles of Mai Nayak (Water Leader), who was a Bhandari from Rajapur and Daria Sarang (Sea Captain)- a Muslim. Bhandari community was actively involved in formation of Maratha Empire under Shivaji Maharaj. In 1670, as per one East India Company report some 60 or 70 vessels of Shivaji were at the mouth of Bombay Port.

Haraji Bhatkar, Maynaik Hatkar, Santaji Bole, Raiji Gadde, Bapuji Naik were some of the famous warriors of the era. Bhandaris were instrumental in building the Maratha Navy along with the Agris. Raut, Bhatkars, Jaokar, Sarang were involved in conflicts with Siddi Jauhar and Portuguese.

It is pointed out that up to the Peshwa period Bhandaris played a great role in the Maratha Navy. Subsequently, when the navy of Peshwas disintegrated after decline of the Maratha power, they turned to other occupations on account of unemployment.

The Maratha Navy are considered as the forerunners of India's present-day Coast Guard.

Bhandaris in Konkan Region[edit]

On the west coast of India from Thane, Konkan Gomantak (Goa) up to Kerala. One can find large number of Bhandari population especially in Ratnagiri, Sawantwadi, Goa, Karwar. Most of them trace their ancestry from this region though they have migrated to many places their Kuldevta and Kuldevi temples are in and around Goa and Konkan.

There are many Bhandaris who today are part of the East Indian Catholic Christian community from Mumbai region.

Bhandaris in Goa[edit]

They reportedly constitute over 30% of Goa's Hindu population and play a major role in deciding the future of any political party.[1] Ravi S. Naik - Former Chief Minister of Goa (INC) & Shripad Yasso Naik - Member of Parliament : 13th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha (BJP) are among the notable Bhandaris from Goa.

Notable People[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Treasurers of yore, now key to political fortune". The Times Of India. Retrieved 17 March 2013.