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Maratha Clan
Surname Bhonsle
Caste Maratha
Lineage Claimed Suryavansha[1]
Religion: Hinduism
Original kingdom Mewar (Udaipur)
Other kingdoms Maratha Empire, Satara, Kolhapur, Thanjavur, Nagpur, Akkalkot[2][3] and Sawantwadi[4][5]


Colour Ochre
Nishan Rudra on flagpole
Clan God Mahadev (Khanderao)
Clan goddess Tulja Bhavani
Devak Panch Pallava, Rui tree (Giant Milkweed tree)
Guru Shankkayan
Gotra Kaushik
Veda Rigveda
Mantra Gayatri Mantra
Locations Maharashtra, Karnataka and Thanjavur.
Languages Marathi

The Bhonsle (or Bhonsale, Bhonslà, Bhosle)[7] are a community within the Maratha clan system. Some of their predecessors served as rulers of several states in India.[1]

The most prominent member of the royal clan was 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 Maharajas of Satara, rulers of the Bhonsle clan established themselves at Nagpur and Kolhapur in modern-day Maharashtra in the 18th century. The Bhonsle of Thanjavur were descendants of Shivaji's stepbrother Venkoji, while the Bhonsle of Satara and Kolhapur were descended from Shivaji's sons, Sambhaji and Rajaram.

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

Akkalkot State and Sawantwadi were amongst other prominent states ruled by the Bhonsles.[citation needed]


Some historical accounts state that Shahaji and Shivaji were of Rajput descent. These include Pandit Ganga Bhatt of Varanasi, who had been hired for the purpose by Shivaji, and in 1674 presented a genealogy tracing Shivaji's ancestry to the Suryavanshi Kshatriya Sisodia of Mewar.[8]

Scholars such as Jadunath Sarkar have contested Shivaji's Rajput origin, saying that it was a fabrication required during his coronation.[citation needed] 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 Shahji Bhosle, 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.[9] The discovery of Persian Farmans 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 Chittod.[10]

Knights, Regents and Monarchs[edit]

Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhonsle
  • Maloji Bhosale (1552–1597), 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 first 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]

Shahaji II of Kolhapur (r. 1894–1922)
  • Shivaji II of Maratha Realm, later Shivaji I of Kolhapur (1700–1714); imbecile son of Rajaram and Tarabai
  • Sambhaji II (1714–1760): His mother, Rajasbai, the second wife of Rajaram, deposed Tarabai's son Shivaji II and put her own son on the Kolhapur throne.
  • Shivaji II (1760–1812) (adopted from the family of Khanwilkar)
  • Shahaji I (1822–1838)
  • Shivaji III (1830–1866)
  • Rajaram I (1866–1870) (adopted from the family of Patankar)
  • Shivaji IV (1870–1883)
  • Shahu I (1883–1922) (adopted from the family of Ghatge of Kagal)
  • Rajaram II (1922–1940)
  • Shivaji V (1940–1946)
  • Shahaji II (1946–1983)
  • Shahu II (1983–Present)


Raghoji Raje Bhosle of Nagpur


Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu[edit]

H.H. Choladesadhipati Srimant Rajasri Maharaja Kshatrapati Sri Shivaji Raje Sahib Bhonsle Chhatrapati Maharaj, Raja of Tanjore

See also[edit]