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Maratha Clan
Surname Bhonsle
Caste Maratha
Other kingdoms Maratha Empire, Satara, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Akkalkot,[1][2] Sawantwadi[3][4]

[5] and Barshi.[6] -

Colour Ochre
Nishan Rudra on flagpole
Clan God Mahadev (Khanderao)
Clan goddess Tulja Bhavani
Locations Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu
Languages Marathi

The Bhonsle (or Bhonsale, Bhosale, Bhosle)[7] are a prominent group within the Maratha clan system. Traditionally a warrior clan,[8][9] some members served as rulers of several states in India, the most prominent being Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. His successors ruled as chhatrapatis (emperors/maharajas) from their capital at Satara, although de facto rule of the empire passed to the Peshwas, the Maratha hereditary chief ministers, during the reign of Shahu I. In addition to the Bhonsle Chhatrapatis of Satara, rulers of the Bhonsle clan established themselves as junior branch of Chhatrapatis at Kolhapur, and as Maharajas of Nagpur in modern-day Maharashtra in the 18th century.

After the British defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, the four Bhonsle dynasties continued as rulers of their princely states, acknowledging British sovereignty while retaining local autonomy. The states of Satara, Thanjavur, and Nagpur came under direct British rule in the mid-nineteenth century when their rulers died without male heirs, although the British allowed titular adoptions to take place. Kolhapur state remained autonomous until India's independence in 1947, when the rulers acceded to the Indian government.

Akkalkot State,[10][11] Sawantwadi State[12] and Barshi[6] were amongst other prominent states ruled by the Bhonsles.


Bhonsles claim their origin from Suryavanshi Sisodia Rajput .[13][14][15] Sources supporting this claim include Pandit Gaga Bhatt of Varanasi, who had been hired for the purpose by Shivaji, and in 1674 presented a genealogy tracing Shivaji's ancestry to the Sisodias of Mewar.[16]

Scholars such as Jadunath Sarkar have contested Shivaji's Rajput origin, saying that it was a fabrication required during his coronation.[17] Others, such as C. V. Vaidya, do not accept this and point to works authored before his rise that refer to the connection. For example, the Radha Madhav Vilas Champu, written by the poet Jayaram, mentions Shahaji Bhonsle, the father of Shivaji, as being a Sisodia Rajput and Shahji's letter to Sultan Adil Shah in 1641 refers to the Bhonsle as Rajputs.[18] The discovery of Persian-language firmans in the 1920s also dented the claim of those such as Sarkar. The documents bear seals and tughra of Bahmani and Adil Shahi sultans and establish the direct descent of Shivaji and Ghorpade with that of Sisodia of Chittor.[19]

Knights, regents and monarchs[edit]

  • Babaji Bhonsle (d. 1597), father of Maloji Bhonsle who was a patil of the Hingni Berdi and Devalgaon villages around Pune
  • Maloji Bhonsle (1552–1607), father of Shahaji who served as a knight for the Ahmadnagar Sultanate
  • Shahaji (1594–1664), father of Shivaji who served as a knight for the Ahmadnagar Sultanate and later the Adilshahi of Bijapur
  • Shivaji (1630–1680), first Chhatrapati of the Maratha realm
  • Sambhaji (1657–1689), son of Shivaji and his successor as Chhatrapati
  • Rajaram Chhatrapati (1670–1700), second son of Shivaji; succeeded Sambhaji as Chhatrapati
  • Tarabai (1675–1761), commander of Maratha forces after the death of her husband Rajaram in 1700; regent for her son Shivaji II until being deposed by Shahu I and then by her husband's other widow, Rajasbai.

Other maharajas of the dynasty include:

House of Satara[edit]

House of Kolhapur[edit]

Shahu I of Kolhapur (r. 1894–1922)

House of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu[edit]

House of Nagpur[edit]

Raghoji Raje Bhonsle of Nagpur

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sumitra Kulkarni, The Satara Raj, 1818-1848: A Study in History, Administration, and Culture, p. 44
  2. ^ N. S. Karandikar, Sri Swami Samarth, Maharaj of Akkalkot, p. 66
  3. ^ Mário Cabral e Sá, Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues Great Goans: Francisco Luis Gomes; Raulu Chatim; Monsignor S. Rodolfo Dalgado; Frank Moraes; Angelo Fonseca; Vassudeva Madeva Salgaocar, p. 114
  4. ^ "Rajarshi Shahu Chhatrapati Papers: 1900-1905 A.D.: new government policies". 
  5. ^ S. K. Mhamai Sawants of Wadi: Coastal Politics in 18th and 19th Centuries
  6. ^ a b "The Gazetteers Department - AKOLA". 
  7. ^ "Coinage of the Bhonsla Rajas of Nagpur". 
  8. ^ "The History of India". 
  9. ^ "Students' Britannica India: D to H (Dadra and Nagar Haveli to Hyena)". 
  10. ^ "The Satara Raj, 1818-1848". 
  11. ^ "Sir Swami Samarth". 
  12. ^ "Portuguese Studies Review". 
  13. ^ The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (Bangalore). 1975. p. 18. 
  14. ^ Singh K S (1998). India's communities. Oxford University Press. p. 2211. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2. 
  15. ^ Maharashtra (India) (1967). Maharashtra State Gazetteers: Maratha period. Directorate of Government Printing, Stationary and Publications, Maharashtra State. p. 147. 
  16. ^ Busch, Allison (2011). Poetry of Kings: The Classical Hindi Literature of Mughal India. Oxford University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-19-976592-8. 
  17. ^ Bhalchandra Krishna Apte (1974). Chhatrapati Shivaji: coronation tercentenary commemoration volume. University of Bombay. p. 77. 
  18. ^ Shiri Ram Bakshi (1998). Sharad Pawar, the Maratha legacy. APH Publishing. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-81-7648-007-9. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  19. ^ Bhatia, H. S. (2001). Mahrattas, Sikhs and Southern Sultans of India: Their Fight Against Foreign Power (2nd ed.). Deep & Deep. ISBN 9788171003693. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  20. ^ Gadre, Prabhakar. Bhosle of Nagpur and East India Company. Retrieved 2012-12-27.