The Royal House of Sawantwadi is of very ancient lineage and belongs to the famous Bhonsle family, their ancestor being Mang Sawant. The family became hereditary Desais of Wari (or Wadi) near Goa, later becoming vassals of the Muslim Sultans of Bijapur. The head of the family was granted the hereditary title of Bahadur for his services against the Portuguese. Khem Sawant II threw off his allegiance to Bijapur in 1675, eleven years before it was absorbed into the Mughal Empire. The state was effectively independent until the advent of the Marathas forced it into a shaky alliance. For a considerable period, they ravaged the eastern seaboard as pirates, until defeated and compelled to cede their seaward territories to the HEIC in 1819. From then onwards, the rulers of Sawantwadi embraced peaceful development and progress, perhaps more so than any other ruling family in that age. Advances were made in almost every area of public life, in administration, justice and public works, which made Sawantwadi a model state by the dawn of the twentieth century. The state acceded to the Dominion of India 15th August 1947, and merged into the state of Bombay in 1948.

9-guns (11-guns local).

Paly of four or and tenne on a pile sable a gallion argent.Crest: Mullet gules pierced argent.Supporters: Bears. Motto: "Jai Shumbo" (Hail Shumbo=Shiva, from whom the first Desai received his possessions). Lambrequins: Or and tenne.

The ruling prince: Raja Shrimant (personal name) Sawant Bhonsle Bahadur, Sir Desai of Sawantwadi, with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the ruling prince: Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Rani (personal name) Raje Bhonsle, Rani of Sawantwadi, with the title of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Yuvraj Shrimant (personal name) Raje Sawant Bhonsle.
The consort of the Heir Apparent: Yuvrani Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati (personal name) Raje Bhonsle.
The younger sons of the ruling prince: Rajkumar Shrimant (personal name) Raje Sawant Bhonsle.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Rajkumari Shrimant (personal name) Raje Bhonsle.

Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family, on the failure of natural heirs.


Desai (or Desmukh): the hereditary chief officer of a pargana.
Sir: head.
Sawant (or samant): a chief who paid tribute to a superior ruler.
C.U. Aitchison. A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries. Vol. VII Containing The Treaties, &c., Relating to the Bombay Presidency. Part II-Kutch Agency, Cambay, Surat Agency, Jauhar, Janjira, Satara Jagirdars, Kolhapur and Southern Maratha Country Agency, Sawantwari Savanur Nasik Agency, Sind and Lapsed States. Revised and continued up to the 1st June 1906 By the Authority of the Foreign Department. Superintendent Government Printing, India. Calcutta, 1909.
W. Courteney and Major J.W. Auld. "Memoir of the Sawunt Waree State", Selecttions From The Records of The Bombay Government, No X - New Series, Bombay, 1855.
Gazeteer of the Bombay Presidency. Ratnagiri and Savantvadi. Volume X. Government Central Press, Bombay, 1883.
Waman P. Kabadi (ed.), Indian Who's Who 1937-38,Yeshanand & Co., Bombay, 1937.
Sir Roper Lethbridge, KCIE, The Golden Book of India. Macmillan and Co., London, 1893.
List of Ruling Princes and Chiefs in Political Relations with the Government of Bombay and their Leading Officials, Nobles and Personages. Government of India Central Publication Branch, Calcutta, 1931.
The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 2nd edition. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1935.
Who Was Who Vol. I - Vol. VIII, Adam & Charles Black, London, 1985.

Abhijit Malwade, Mumbai, India.
Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers, December 2001 - August 2016