Bhosle and Bhosale lead here. For other uses, see Bhosle (disambiguation) and Bhosale (disambiguation)
Maratha clan
LocationMaharashtra, Tamil Nadu

The Bhosle (or Bhosale, Bhosale, Bhosle)[1] are a prominent group within the Maratha clan system. Traditionally a warrior clan,[2][3] some members served as rulers of several states in India, the most prominent being Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire which opposed the rule of Mughal Empire in Indian subcontinent. His successors ruled as chhatrapatis (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 Bhosale 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 suzerainty 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,[4] Sawantwadi State[5] and Barshi[6] were amongst other prominent states ruled by the Bhosales.


The Bhonsles originated among the populations of the Deccani tiller-plainsmen who were known by the names Kunbi and Maratha.[7]

At the time of coronation of Shivaji, Bhonsles claimed their origin from Suryavanshi Sisodia Rajput.[8][9][10] Allison Busch, Professor at the University of Columbia states that Shivaji was not a Kshatriya as required and hence had to postpone the coronation until 1674 and hired Gaga Bhatt to trace his ancestry back to the Sisodias. While the preparations for the coronations were in process, Bhushan, a poet, wrote a poem about this genealogy claimed by Bhatt in "Shivrajbhushan". Using this example, Busch shows how even poetry was an "important instrument of statecraft" at the time.[11][12] Some scholars suggest that Pandit Gaga Bhatt was secured in charge of authoritatively declaring him a Kshatriya. He was made a compliant, and he accepted the Bhonsle pedigree as fabricated by the secretary Balaji Avji, and declared that Rajah was a Kshatriya, descended from the Maharanas of Udaipur.[13] The Brahman acknowledgement of Kshatriyahood is therefore taken as political. The passage from the Dutch records suggest the plausibility of this argument.[14] The report of Shivaji's coronation in the contemporary Dutch East India Company archives indicates that Shivaji's claim was contested twice at the ceremony itself. Firstly the Brahmins did not want to grant him the status of Kshatriya and then they refused him the recitation of the Vedas, indicating Shivaji was admitted to the fold of the higher varnas as far as the sign of the sacred thread was concerned, but restricted in their use of the concomitant ritual rights including the recitation of the Vedas.[15] Historians such as Surendra Nath Sen and V. K. Rajwade reject the Sisodia origin by citing the temple inscription of Math, dated to 1397 A.D and holds the view that the genealogy was forged by Shivaji's men.[16] According to R. C. Dhere, Bhonsles are descendants of the founder of Shikhar, Balip. He argues that the name Bhonsle is linguistically descended from 'Hoysala'. There is a branch of Bhonsle clan extant in Maharashtra that goes by the name 'Śirsāṭ Bhosale' and Balip's full name, from inscriptional sources cited by Dhere, was 'Baliyeppā Gopati Śirsāṭ'.[17] Some Mudhol firmans in the possession of the Rajah of Mudhol claim the descent of the Ghorpades under the Adil Shahs and the Bhonsles, from the Sisodia Rajputs of Udaipur. However historians consider these firmans spurious as these are the copies (not originals), written by a scholar of Bijapur dated to c.1709, much after the coronation of Shivaji.[18][19] André Wink, a professor of History at University of Wisconsin–Madison, states that the Sisodia genealogical claim is destined to remain disputed forever.[15]

Following historical evidence, Shivaji's claim to Rajput, and specifically Sisodia ancestry may be interpreted as being anything from tenuous at best, to inventive in a more extreme reading.[20]

Knights, regents and monarchs

  • 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

  • Shahu I (1708–1749), son of Sambhaji, became Chhatrapati in 1708 after defeating his aunt Tarabai in a war of succession.
  • Ramaraja (1749–1777), grandson of Rajaram and Tarabai; adopted son of Shahu I.
  • Shahu II of Satara (1777–1808), son of Ramaraja.
  • Pratap Singh.
  • Chatrapati Shahaji 3 (Abasaheb) of Satara
  • Venkatji or Vyankoji Raje bhosale (bhausaheb)
  • Chatrapati Ramraja 3 (Abasaheb)
  • Shahu III of Satara
  • Pratapsinhraje 2 (adopted)
  • Shahu Pratapsinh Raje bhosale (Abasaheb)
  • Chatrapati Pratapsinh Raje 3
  • Udayanraje

House of Kolhapur

ShahuIV 1874-1922
Shahu I of Kolhapur (r. 1894–1922)

House of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

House of Nagpur

Raghuji Raje Bhosle
Raghoji Raje Bhonsle of Nagpur

See also


  1. ^ "Coinage of the Bhosla Rajas of Nagpur".
  2. ^ "The History of India".
  3. ^ "Students' Britannica India: D to H (Dadra and Nagar Haveli to Hyena)".
  4. ^ "The Satara Raj, 1818-1848".
  5. ^ "Portuguese Studies Review".
  6. ^ "The Gazetteers Department - AKOLA".
  7. ^ Bayly, Susan (2001-02-22). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge University Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780521798426.
  8. ^ The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (Bangalore). 1975. p. 18.
  9. ^ Singh K S (1998). India's communities. Oxford University Press. p. 2211. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2.
  10. ^ Maharashtra (India) (1967). Maharashtra State Gazetteers: Maratha period. Directorate of Government Printing, Stationary and Publications, Maharashtra State. p. 147.
  11. ^ Busch, Allison (2011). Poetry of Kings: The Classical Hindi Literature of Mughal India. Oxford University Press. pp. 190, 191. ISBN 978-0-19-976592-8. (190,191)Another concern was an ancestry problem that threatened to derail his coronation. Shivaji was not a Kshatriya as required by classical political thought. This proved not to be insuperable, however. Shivaji postponed the coronation until 1674 and hired Gaga Bhatt, a celebrated pandit, who was able to trace the Maratha King's ancestry back to the Sisodiayas of Mewar...
  12. ^
  13. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1992). Shivaji and His Times. Orient Longman. ISBN 9788125013471.
  14. ^ Shiri Ram Bakshi (1998). Sharad Pawar, the Maratha legacy. APH Publishing. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-81-7648-007-9. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  15. ^ a b Kruijtzer, Gijs (2009). Xenophobia in Seventeenth-century India. Leiden University Press. p. 143. ISBN 9789087280680.
  16. ^ Krshnaji Ananta Sabhasada; Sen, Surendra Nath (1920). Siva Chhatrapati : being a translation of Sabhasad Bakhar with extracts from Chitnis and Sivadigvijya, with notes. University of California Libraries. Calcutta : University of Calcutta. pp. 260, 261.
  17. ^ Varma, Supriya; Saberwal, Satish (2005). Traditions in Motion: Religion and Society in History. Oxford University Press. pp. 262, 265. ISBN 9780195669152.
  18. ^ Indica. Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, St. Xavier's College. 1983. p. 89.
  19. ^ Sardesai, Govind Sakharam (1957). New History of the Marathas: Shivaji and his line (1600-1707). Phoenix Publications. p. 46.
  20. ^ Varma, Supriya; Saberwal, Satish (2005). Traditions in Motion: Religion and Society in History. Oxford University Press. p. 250. ISBN 9780195669152.
  21. ^ Gadre, Prabhakar. Bhosle of Nagpur and East India Company. Retrieved 2012-12-27.

Bargis were a group of Maratha soldiers who indulged in large scale plundering of the countryside of western part of Bengal for about ten years (1741–1751) during the Maratha expeditions in Bengal. Maratha invasions took place almost as an annual event for 10 years.

Battle of Burdwan

The Battle of Burdwan (বর্ধমানের যুদ্ধ) occurred at Burdwan between Mughal Bengal and the Maratha Empire in March 1747. When the Maratha forces advanced towards Bengal from Orissa, Mir Jafar and Ataullah Khan, commanders of Nawab Alivardi Khan's army, retreated towards Burdwan without resisting the invaders. As a result, Alivardi Khan dismissed both of them and amassed an army to defend against the invading Maratha forces of Janoji Bhonsle and Mir Habib. After intense fighting, Alivardi Khan managed to repulse the Marathas in this battle.

Ekoji I

Vyankoji Bhonsle (born 1629) or Ekoji I Bhonsle was the younger half-brother of Shivaji and founder of Maratha rule in Thanjavur. He was the progenitor of the junior branch of the Bhonsle family which ruled Thanjavur until the formal annexation of the kingdom by the British in 1855.

Jaganath Rao Bhonsle

Major General Jaganath Rao Bhonsle also known as Jagannathrao Krishnarao Bhonsle (10 December 1906 – 1963) was an officer of the British Indian Army subsequently the Indian National Army, a minister for armed forces in the Azad Hind Government, and later a minister in the post-independence Nehru Government in India.Bhonsle graduated from Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun in 1926 and then went to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst where on 2 February 1928 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He would have then spent a year attached to a British Army regiment in India before posting to his permanent British Indian Army unit on 12 April 1929, which was the 5th Royal battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry of the British Indian Army. He was promoted lieutenant 2 May 1930 and captain 2 February 1937.He was stationed at Singapore in 1941 and was taken PoW after the Fall of Singapore. Bhonsle was one of the most senior officer to join the Indian National Army and was appointed the head of the Hindustan Field Force of the First INA. He was appointed the commander of the INA at the time Azad Hind was proclaimed but later reverted his allegiances to turn spy for the Allies. Assigned the code B1189, Bhonsle's intelligence was especially important in tracing the last movements of Subhas Bose in August 1945, following the collapse of Azad Hind.

He was cashiered from the British Indian Army as a captain on 13 September 1946.Following Indian independence in 1947, Bhonsle was appointed deputy minister for rehabilitation in the Nehru government, and was key in implementing the National Discipline Scheme.

Kolhapur State

Kolhapur State or Kolhapur Maratha Kingdom (1710–1949) was a Maratha princely State of British India, under the Deccan Division of the Bombay Presidency, and later the Deccan States Agency. It was considered the most important of the Maratha principalities with the others being Baroda State, Gwalior State and Indore State. Its rulers, of the Bhonsle dynasty, were entitled to a 19-gun salute – thus Kolhapur was also known as a 19-gun state. The state flag was a swallow-tailed orange pennant.

Maratha invasions of Bengal

The Maratha invasions of Bengal, also known as the Maratha expeditions in Bengal, refers to the frequent invasions by the Maratha forces in the Bengal Subah (Bengal, Bihar, parts of Modern Orissa), after their successful campaign in the Carnatic region at the Battle of Trichinopoly. The leader of the expedition was Maratha Maharaja Raghoji Bhonsle of Nagpur. The Marathas invaded Bengal six times from August 1741 to May 1751. Nawab Alivardi Khan succeeded in resisting all the invasions, however, the frequent Maratha invasions caused great destruction in the Bengal Subah, resulting in heavy civilian casualties and widespread economic losses. The invasions came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty between the Maratha Empire and the Nawab of Bengal, which established a Maratha-supported governor in Orissa under nominal control of the Nawab of Bengal. During their occupation, the Marathas perpetrated a massacre against the local population, killing close to 400,000 people in Bengal and Bihar.The Nawab of Bengal became a tributary to the Marathas, with the former agreeing to pay Rs. 1.2 million of tribute annually as the chauth of Bengal and Bihar, and the Marathas agreed not to invade Bengal again. The Nawab of Bengal also paid Rs. 3.2 million to the Marathas, towards the arrears of chauth for the preceding years. The chauth was paid annually by the Nawab of Bengal up to 1758, until the British occupation of Bengal.

Nagesh Bhonsle

Nagesh Bhonsle (also Nagesh Bhosle or Nagesh Bhosale) is an award-winning Indian film, television and theatre actor. He has recently worked on a Hollywood film called Hotel Mumbai, alongside Jason Isaacs, Armie Hammer and Dev Patel. Nagesh has acted in more than a hundred Indian films and thousands of episodes in Television shows.In 2014, he founded Ajna Motion Picture Pvt. Ltd., a film production house. Ajna's first film Panhala (2015), directed and produced by Nagesh, is critically acclaimed, won many awards and featured at domestic and foreign film festivals including the 25th Golden Rooster in China. His current film Nati Khel, which is to release in cinemas in 2018 was invited to be screened at the PAMLA conference in Los Angeles, California and is open for dialogue between filmmakers the scholarly patrons of PAMLA. It has also won the title of "Film of Special Recommendation" at the Wuhan International Art Film Festival, in China, December 2016. In 2017, it won Special Jury Mention at the Bodhisattva International Film Festival, it also won Best Story & Best Art Direction at Sanskruti Kala Darpan Awards in Mumbai, Best Director at Ottawa International Film Festival in Canada, Best Cinematography & Best Actress in Golden Gate International Film Festival in USA California. It also has been an official selection at Pune International Film Festival, and Orange City International Film Festival.

Nagpur kingdom

The Kingdom of Nagpur was a kingdom in east-central India founded by the Gond rulers of Deogarh in the early 18th century. It came under the rule of the Marathas of the Bhonsale dynasty in the mid-18th century and became part of the Maratha Empire. The city of Nagpur was the capital of the state.

After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, it became a princely state of the British Empire in 1818, and was annexed to British India in 1853 becoming Nagpur Province.

Raghoji I Bhonsle

Raghoji I Bhonsale (1695 – February 1755) of the Bhonsale dynasty, was a Maratha general who took control of the Nagpur Kingdom in east-central India during the reign of Chattrapati Shahu. His successors ruled the kingdom until 1853.

Rajaram II of Satara

Rajaram II Bhonsle, also known as Ramaraja, was the 6th monarch of Maratha Empire. He was an adopted son of Chhattrapati Shahu. Tarabai had presented him to Shahu as her own grandson and used him to grab power after Shahu's death. However, after being sidelined, she stated that Rajaram II was only an impostor. Nevertheless, Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao retained him as the titular Chhatrapati. In reality, Peshwa and other chiefs had all the executive power, while Rajaram II was only a figurehead.

Second Battle of Katwa

The Second Battle of Katwa occurred between the Bengal and Maratha Empire in December 1745. After the defeats of the Marathas in the first four invasions of Bengal (see Maratha invasions of Bengal), the Maratha General and ruler of Nagpur, Raghuji Bhonsle again invaded the territory of Bengal. Bhonsle, with 20,000 horsemen attacked the civilians of Murshidabad and moved onwards to Katwa, where Nawab of Bengal Alivardi Khan again defeated Raghuji and his men, sending them out of Orissa. The Marathas retreated towards Medinipur.

Serfoji II

Serfoji II Bhonsle (Tamil: இரண்டாம் சரபோஜி ராஜா போன்ஸ்லே, Marathi: शरभोजी राजे भोसले (द्वितीय)) (24 September 1777 – 7 March 1832) also spelt as Sarabhoji II Bhonsle, was the last ruler of the Bhonsle dynasty of the Maratha principality of Tanjore to exercise absolute sovereignty over his dominions. His descendants, however, have managed to thrive as titular Maharajahs of Thanjavur to the present day. Serfoji belonged to the Bhonsle clan of Marathas and was descended from Shivaji's half-brother Venkoji. He ruled Thanjavur from 1798 until his death in 1832.


Shrimant Shahaji Raje Bhosale

(March 18, 1594/1602 - January 23, 1664)

was the son of Raja of Verul and a general in the court of Adilshah, sultan of Bijapur. The eldest son of Maloji Bhosle, Raja of Verul, Shahaji inherited the Pune and Supe jagirs, under the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. During the Mughal invasion of Deccan, he joined the Mughal forces and served Emperor Shah Jahan for a brief period. After being deprived of his jagirs, he defected to the Bijapur Sultanate in 1632 and regained control over Pune and Supe. In 1638, he also received the jagir of Bangalore, after Bijapur's invasion of Kempe Gowda III's territories. He eventually became the chief general of Bijapur and oversaw its expansion.An early exponent of guerrilla warfare, he brought the house of Bhonsle into prominence. He was father of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of Maratha Empire. The princely states of Tanjore, Kolhapur and Satara are also Bhonsle legacies.

Shahu I

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1682–1749 CE) was the fifth Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire created by his grandfather, ShivajiMaharaj. He was the son of Sambhaji, Shivaji's eldest son and successor. Shahu, as a child, was taken prisoner along with his mother in 1689 by Mughal sardar, Zulfikar Khan Nusrat Jang After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, leading Mughal courtiers released Shahu with a force of fifty men, thinking that a friendly Maratha leader would be a useful ally.At that time he fought a brief war with his aunt Tarabai in an internecine conflict to gain the Maratha throne in 1708.Under Shahu's reign, Maratha power and influence extended to all corners of the Indian subcontinent.He was a powerful ruler of Maratha Samrajya after Shivaji I. However after his death, power moved from the ruling chhatrapati to his ministers (the Peshwas) and the generals who had carved out their own fiefdoms such as Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Scindia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore.


Shivaji Bhonsle (Marathi [ʃiʋaˑɟiˑ bʱoˑs(ə)leˑ]; c. 1627/1630 – 3 April 1680) was an Indian warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati (monarch) of his realm at Raigad.

Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, Sultanate of Golkonda, and Sultanate of Bijapur, as well as European colonial powers. Shivaji's military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy. Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with well-structured administrative organisations. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and court conventions and promoted the usage of Marathi and Sanskrit, rather than Persian, in court and administration.

Shivaji's legacy was to vary by observer and time but he began to take on increased importance with the emergence of the Indian independence movement, as many elevated him as a proto-nationalist and hero of the Hindus. Particularly in Maharashtra, debates over his history and role have engendered great passion and sometimes even violence as disparate groups have sought to characterise him and his legacy.

Sudesh Bhosle

Sudesh Bhosle is an Indian playback singer who primarily sings for Bollywood films. He was born to N.R. Bhosle and Sumantai Bhosle. Bhosle is known for his ability to mimic actor Amitabh Bachchan, having sung for him in various films.

Thanjavur Maratha Palace

The Thanjavur Maratha Palace Complex, known locally as Aranmanai, today is the official residence of the Bhonsle family that occupied Tanjore from 1674 to 1855.

Third Anglo-Maratha War

The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company (EIC) and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of the Maratha territory by British East India Company troops, the largest such British controlled force massed in India. The troops were led by the Governor General Hastings (no relation to Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal) supported by a force under General Thomas Hislop. Operations began against the Pindaris, a band of Muslim mercenaries and Marathas from central India.Peshwa Baji Rao II's forces, supported by those of Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore, rose against the East India Company. Pressure and diplomacy convinced the fourth major Maratha leader, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior, to remain neutral even though he lost control of Rajasthan.

British victories were swift, resulting in the breakup of the Maratha Empire and the loss of Maratha independence. The Peshwa was defeated in the battles of Khadki and Koregaon. Several minor battles were fought by the Peshwa's forces to prevent his capture.The Peshwa was eventually captured and placed on a small estate at Bithur, near Kanpur. Most of his territory was annexed and became part of the Bombay Presidency. The Maharaja of Satara was restored as the ruler of his territory as a princely state. In 1848 this territory was also annexed by the Bombay Presidency under the doctrine of lapse policy of Lord Dalhousie. Bhonsle was defeated in the battle of Sitabuldi and Holkar in the battle of Mahidpur. The northern portion of Bhonsle's dominions in and around Nagpur, together with the Peshwa's territories in Bundelkhand, were annexed by British India as the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. The defeat of the Bhonsle and Holkar also resulted in the acquisition of the Maratha kingdoms of Nagpur and Indore by the British. Along with Gwalior from Shinde and Jhansi from the Peshwa, all of these territories became princely states acknowledging British control. The British proficiency in Indian war-making was demonstrated through their rapid victories in Khadki, Sitabuldi, Mahidpur, Koregaon, and Satara.

Udayanraje Bhosale

Udyanraje Bhosale (born 24 February 1966) is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Satara Constituency in Maharashtra state in India. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, he was elected to the Lok Sabha as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate in May 2009 general elections by a margin of three lakh (300,000) votes. Before that, he was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and the Minister for Revenue of Maharashtra in the Bharatiya Janata Party government.Udayanraje is the 13th holder of the title of Chhatrapati which was founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on his coronation in 1674.He is married to Damayantiraje and has a son, Veerpratapsinhraje, and a daughter, Nayantararaje.

Maratha Confederacy

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