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This article is about the imperial title of Chhatrapati. For the Telugu film, see Chhatrapati (2005 film).

Chhatrapati (Devanagari: छत्रपती) is the Indian royal title equivalent to an Emperor. The word ‘Chhatrapati’ is from Sanskrit chatra (roof or umbrella) and pati (master/Owner/ruler); Chhatrapati thus indicates a person who gives shade to his followers and protects their success.

In contrast, the Indian Maharaja or Raja, Yuvraj, Rajkumar or Kumar, Senapati, and Sardar most closely equate to the European titles King, Crown Prince, Prince, Duke, and Count, respectively.

Chhatrapti is the title given to Shivaji Raje Bhonsle, founder of the Maratha Empire, and his eldest son and heir Sambhaji. As described below, Shivaji's lineal successors in the royal House of Bhonsle also held the title of Chhatrapati.

Chhatrapati can belong to Gujarati community if they are Brahmin or Brahma Kshatriya origins. They are rare community in India. Basically Chhatrapati belong to Open Caste and generally are well educated people. Other surnames like Desai, Thakore, Lakhiya etc. belong to the same Brahma Kshatriya community.

The Royal House of Bhonsle[edit]

Statue of Shivaji at Raigad fort, Maharashtra

The following list details the Chhatrapatis of the House of Bhonsle, a royal family of Maratha Kshatriyas descending from the solar line of the Rajput Ranas of Mewar:[1][2]

Portrait Chhatrapati Birth Reign Death
Shivaji British Museum.jpg Shivaji c. April 1627 / 19 February 1630[3] 1674 - 1680 3 April 1680
Shambhuraje1.jpg Sambhaji 14 May 1657 20 July 1680 - 11 March 1689 11 March 1689
Rajaram-maharaj.JPG Rajaram 24 February 1670 1689 – 1700 3 March 1700
Shivaji II 9 June 1696 1700 – 1708 14 March 1726
Copy of Shahu (3).jpg Shahu 18 May 1682 1708 – 1748 15 December 1749

The royal Bhonsle line then splits into two, the Chhatrapatis of Satara and the Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur:

The Chhatrapatis of Satara[edit]

The following is the list of the Chhatrapatis of Satara:[1]

  1. Shahu (1708–1748)
  2. Ramraja (1749–1777)
  3. Shahu II of Satara (1777–1808)
  4. Pratapsingh (1808–1839)
  5. Shahaji II of Satara (1839–1848)
  6. 1848 to Great Britain
  7. Pratapsinh I (adopted)
  8. Rajaram III
  9. Pratapsinh II
  10. Raja Shahu III (1918–1950)
  11. Pratapsinhraje (1950–1978)
  12. Chatrapati Udayanraje Bhonsle– Maharaja (1978 till present)

The Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur[edit]

The following is the list of the Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur:[1]

  1. Tarabai as a regent of Shivaji II (1700–1708)
  2. Shivaji II (1700–1712)
  3. Sambhaji II (1712–1760)
  4. Shivaji III (1760–1812)
  5. Shambhu (1812–1821)
  6. Shahaji (1821–1838)
  7. Shivaji III (1838–1866)
  8. Rajaram I (1866–1870)
  9. Shivaji IV (1871–1883)
  10. Shahu I (1884–1922)
  11. Rajaram III (1922–1940)
  12. Shivaji V (1941–1946)
  13. Shahaji II (1874–1922) (was previously the Maharaja of Dewas Senior, later adopted as Chhatrapati to the Kolhapur Gadi)
  14. Shahu II as titular Maharaja (1983–present) (adopted from Bhosale family of Nagpur)
  15. Sambhaji III as titular Prince (1971–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Maheshwari, K.K. & K.W. Wiggins (1989). Maratha Mints and Coinage, Nashik: Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, pp.205–6
  2. ^ H. S. Sardesai (2002). Shivaji, the great Maratha, Volume 2. Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. p. 428. ISBN 978-81-7755-284-3.
  3. ^ Indu Ramchandani, ed. (2000). Student’s Britannica: India (Set of 7 Vols.) 39. Popular Prakashan. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5. 


  • ^ V.S. Kadam, 1993. Maratha Confederacy: A Study in its Origin and Development. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi.
  • D.B. Kasar, Rigveda to Rajgarh – Making of Shivaji the Great. Manudevi Prakashan, Mumbai.