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Chhatrapati of Maratha Empire
Reign1763 to 1773 and 1776 to 1787
Predecessor Pratap singh
Successor Serfoji II
House Bhonsle
FatherPratapsingh of Thanjavur

Thuljaji Bhonsle (Marathi: तुळजाजी) (1738–1787) was the eldest son of Pratap singh and the ruler of Thanjavur Bhonsle dynasty from 1763 to 1773 and 1776 to 1787. He was a weak-hearted ruler despite being extremely generous. His period is known for the treaties which made Thanjavur subordinate to the British East India Company.

Marathi language Indo-Aryan language

Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken predominantly by around 83 million Marathi people of Maharashtra, India. It is the official language and co-official language in the Maharashtra and Goa states of Western India, respectively, and is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. There were 83 million speakers in 2011; Marathi ranks 19th in the list of most spoken languages in the world. Marathi has the third largest number of native speakers in India, after Hindi & Bengali. Marathi has some of the oldest literature of all modern Indian languages, dating from about 900 AD. The major dialects of Marathi are Standard Marathi and the Varhadi dialect. Koli, Malvani Konkani has been heavily influenced by Marathi varieties.

Thanjavur City in Tamil Nadu, India

Thanjavur, formerly Tanjore, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are located in and around Thanjavur. The foremost among these, the Brihadeeswara Temple, is located in the centre of the city. Thanjavur is also home to Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region.

The Bhonsle are a prominent group within the Maratha clan system. Traditionally a warrior clan, 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 Bhonsle clan established themselves as junior branch of chhatrapatis at Kolhapur, and as maharajas of Nagpur in modern-day Maharashtra in the 18th century.


Invasion of Ramnad and the Occupation of the Nawab of the Carnatic

In 1771, Thuljaji invaded the dominion of the Polygar of Ramnad who had wrested Hanumantagudi from Thanjavur during the reign of Pratapsingh. [1] The Raja of Ramnad was a dependent of the Nawab of Carnatic and this act of aggression by Thuljaji forced the Nawab to interfere. [1] The Nawab and the East India company laid siege to Tanjore, and forced the Raj to surrender. A humiliating treaty was forced upon the Raja and was later ratified by the officials of the British East India Company. [2] Eighty lakhs of arrears had to be paid apart from a war indemnity of thirty-two lakhs. [2] Thuljaji also ceded two Subhas of Thanjavur to the Nawab. Arni and Hanumantagudi were taken from the Raja's hands and Thanjavur was to have the same foreign policy as the kingdom of the Nawab. [2]


Polygar was the feudal title for a class of territorial administrative and military governors appointed by the Nayaka rulers of South India during the 16th–18th centuries.

The Siege of Tanjore was a series of battles fought between forces of the British East India Company, the Arcot State and the Rajah of Tanjore. The sieges took place after Thuljaji, the Rajah of Tanjore, provided fewer levies and money than the British had required him to and invaded lands claimed by the Arcot State.

Humiliated and shaken by the provisions of the treaty, Thuljaji applied to the Peshwa for help. A large army commanded by Raghoba was dispatched to help Thuljaji. [2] But court intrigues at Satara forced him to turn back. [2] Thanjavur was taken by the forces of the Nawab of Carnatic and Thuljaji was deposed. [2] Thanjavur loathed under the rule of the Nawab for three years (from 1773 to 1776). [2]


A Peshwa was the equivalent of a modern Prime Minister in the Maratha Empire of the Indian subcontinent. Originally, the Peshwas served as subordinates to the Chhatrapati, but later, they became the de facto leaders of the Marathas, and the Chatrapati was reduced to a nominal ruler. During the last years of the Maratha Empire, the Peshwas themselves were reduced to titular leaders, and remained under the authority of the Maratha nobles and the British East India Company.


In 1776, the Board of Directors of the British East India Company ordered the restoration of Thuljaji. [3] However, soon after his restoration a treaty was forced upon him by which he became a mere vassal of the British. [3] His army was disbanded and replaced with Company troops. He was to pay regular tribute to both the Nawab and the Company. [3]

The Second Mysore War

The Second Mysore War broke out in 1780 between Hyder Ali and the Company. The very next year, along with his son Tipu Sultan he invaded Thanjavur. [3] The Mysore army was in occupation of the kingdom for 6 months. [3] The region was plundered and the people carried away. The missionary Schwartz records the abduction of 20,000 children from Thanjavur by Tipu Sultan in the year 1784 alone. [3] The produce fell and a calamity ensued. Thanjavur did not recover from the impact of Tipu's invasion till the beginning of the 19th century. [3]

Hyder Ali Sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore

Hyder Ali, Haidarālī was the Sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born as Sayyid Mir Hyder Ali, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers. Rising to the post of Dalavayi (commander-in-chief) to Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, he came to dominate the titular monarch and the Mysore government. He became the de facto ruler of Mysore as Sarvadhikari by 1761. He offered strong resistance against the military advances of the British East India Company during the First and Second Anglo–Mysore Wars, and he was the innovator of military use of the iron-cased Mysorean rockets. He also significantly developed Mysore's economy.

Tipu Sultan Ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore

Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tipu Sahab or Tiger of Mysore was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and India's first freedom fighter. He was the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. Tipu Sultan introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry. He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin, and is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam. He also embarked on an ambitious economic development program that established Mysore as a major economic power, with some of the world's highest real wages and living standards in the late 18th century.

Mysore Metropolis in Karnataka, India

Mysore, officially Mysuru, is a city in the state of Karnataka, India. It is located in the foothills of the Chamundi Hills about 145.2 km (90 mi) towards the southwest of Bangalore and spread across an area of 152 km2 (59 sq mi). Mysore City Corporation is responsible for the civic administration of the city, which is also the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division.


Thuljaji was a fine writer and could compose in Sanskrit as well as Telugu and Marathi. [4] He conferred the title of Andhra Kalidasa on poet Aluri Kuppana. [4] Kuppana wrote classics such as Acharyavijayamu,Panchanada Sthalapurana,Yakshaganas of Ramayana and the Bhagavata, Parana Bhagavatacharitra,Indumati Parinaya and Karmavipaka. [4]

Sanskrit language of ancient India

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Telugu language Dravidian language

Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry (Yanam) by the Telugu people. It stands alongside Hindi, English and Bengali as one of the few languages with primary official language status in more than one Indian state. There are also significant linguistic minorities in neighbouring states. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of India by the country's government.

<i>Ramayana</i> great Hindu epic

Ramayana is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.

Thuljaji was tolerant of other faiths and religions. He confided upon a Christian missionary called Schwartz who hoped to convert Thuljaji to Christianity. [4] [5] Thuljaji however remained a devout Hindu, drawn deeply to the Saivism sect. [4]


Thuljaji died in 1787 [5] at age 49 leaving behind an impoverished state. Two of his queens committed Sati. [5] As two of his sons had predeceased him, he had adopted Serfoji from a collateral branch of the Bhonsle family. [5] Serfoji II ascended the throne at the age of 10 with Thuljaji's brother Amarsingh as regent. [6]

See also


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  1. K. R. Subramanian(1928). The Maratha Rajas of Tanjore
  2. Thuljaji II in Saraswathi Mahal Library website
Preceded by
Maratha Raja of Thanjavur
Succeeded by
Serfoji II