TANJORE

(Thanjavur)

 

BRIEF HISTORY

The Bhonsle dynasty claims descent from the Sisodia clan of Rajputs, the same descent as the ancient rulers of Chittor and later of Udaipur. Shahaji Raje Bhonsle, common ancestor to the Rajas of Satara, Kolhapur and Tanjore, entered the service of the Muslim Kings of Bijapur. He rose to high rank in their service, eventually serving as Regent of the kingdom, receiving substantial grants of land and the title of Raja. Venkoji Raje Bhonsle, son of Shahaji, Regent of Bijapur, expelled the Nayak Rajas, who had ruled Tanjore for 125 years, and seized the state in 1676. His successors were defeated by the Mughals and forced to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Emperor in 1691. The state came under British protection during the early part of the seventeenth century. The Raja resigned the administration into the hands of the HEIC in 1799, in exchange for a substantial percentage of the net revenue of the former state and retaining direct control over his landed properties.The family became extinct in the male line in 1855 with the death of Maharaja Shivaji Bhonsle Chhatrapati Maharaj. Although he had adopted and recognised a male heir as his successor, the Government of India refused to acknowledge the adoption under the prevailing doctrine of lapse, devised by the Marquess Dalhousie of the Punjab. However, by speacial agreement between the government and the Bhonsle family, his youngest daughter, Muktamba Bai, was recognised as titular Princess of Tanjore. At her death without natural male heirs, the government refused to recognise a titular successor. Her adopted son being accepted as successor to her properties, only. Nevertheless, the Tanjore family continues to be represented by the descendants of Maharaja Shivaji Bhonsle's adopted son, Raja Serforji Raje Sahib Chhatrapati Maharaj. They continue to reside at the Sadar Mahal, a portion of the Royal Palace at Tanjore Fort.

SALUTE:
13-guns (until 1885).

STYLES & TITLES:

The Head of the family (senior line): Srimant Rajasri (personal name) Rajah Sahib Bhonsle Chhatrapati, Senior Prince of Tanjore.
The Head of the family (junior line): Srimant (personal name) Rajah Tulajendra Bhosale Chhatrapati, Junior Prince of Tanjore.
The consort of the Head of the family: Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Rani (personal name) Raje Sahib Bhonsle.

RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Primogeniture with the right of adoption by the recognised Head of the family if there is a failure of natural heirs.

ORDERS AND DECORATIONS:
None.

SOURCES:
William Hickey. The Tanjore Mahratta Principality in Southern India: The Land of the Chola; The Eden of the South. Madras, 1874.
Manohar Malgonkar, Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1971.
Govind Sakharam Sardesai. New History of the Mahrathas. Volumes I, II and III. K.B. Dhawale, Girgaon, Bombay, 1948.
K.R. Subramanian. The Maratha Rajas of Tanjore. K.R. Subramanian, Mylapore, Madras, 1928.
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CopyrightęChristopher Buyers, January 2001 - August 2008