Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder of the Maratha Empire in western India. He is considered to be one of the greatest warriors of his time and even today, stories of his exploits are narrated as a part of the folklore. King Shivaji used the guerrilla tactics to capture a part of, the then, dominant Mughal empire. Read this biography to get more information on the warrior and his life history:
Shivaji was born on 19th February 1630, to Sahaji and his wife,
Jijabai, in the Shivneri Fort, situated almost 60 km to the north of
Pune. He was named as Shiva, after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his
mother Jijabai had prayed for a son. After being defeated by the
combined forces of the Mughals and Adil Shah, Sahaji was offered a jagir
near the present-day Bangalore. However, he was allowed to keep his
holdings in Pune. So, Sahaji left his son Shivaji to manage the Pune
holdings, under the care of his mother Jijabai.
With a small council of ministers, Shivaji began managing his estate.
His ministers included Shamrao Nilkanth as Peshwa, Balkrishna Pant as
Muzumdar, Raghunath Ballal as Sabnis and Sonopant as Dabir. At the same
time, Kanhoji Jedhe and Baji Pasalkar were appointed to look after
Shivaji's training. In the year 1644, Shivaji undertook full
administrative responsibilities of his estate. Thus was started his
career as an independent young prince of a small kingdom. His mother,
Jijabai, was instrumental in instilling in Shivaji's mind a love for
independence and distaste for external political domination.
The first aggression in the life of Shivaji came at the age of sixteen,
when he seized the Torna fort of Bijapur kingdom. By 1647, he had gained
control over Kondana and Rajgad forts, with complete power of the Pune
region. With time, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj secured the forts in the
Western Ghats as well as those along the Konkan coast. Shivaji also
fought against the army of Adilshah at Purandhar. In November 1659, he
fought the battle of Pratapgarh and defeated Afzal Khan. Immediately
after this success, King Shivaji occupied the area stretching upto the
The battle of Kolhapur took place in December 1659. In the battle,
Shivaji crushed the army of Bijapuri general, Rustemjaman. In 1660,
Siddi Johar's huge and daunting army attacked him at Panhala fort.
Shivaji managed to escape from the fort. However, he soon launched an
attack on Siddi Johar. The result was the surrender of Panhala and a
truce between Shivaji and Adilshah. After the death of Adilshah,
Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur. Shivaji used guerilla-style
tactics and captured more and more of the Bijapuri and Mughal
territories. However, by 1663, he had lost most of his conquests to the
In the next few years, Shivaji again started seizing forts belonging to
both Mughals as well as those of Bijapur. Aurangzeb sent Jai Singh, his
Hindu general, to capture Shivaji. Shivaji surrendered to Jai Singh at
Purander in 1665 and agreed becoming a Mughal vassal. In 1666, he
managed to escape form his house arrest in Agra and lay low for the next
few years. However, in January 1670, Shivaji launched an attack on
Mughal garrisons in Maharashtra. Within a period of six months, he won
back most of his lost empire. The period of 1670 to 1674 was spent by
Shivaji Maharaj in expanding his empire at the cost of the Mughals.
In 1670, Shivaji launched an assault, under his General - Tanaji
Malusare, to capture Kondana fort on the outskirts of Pune. The battle
was won but he lost Tanaji. In the honor of Tanaji, the Kondana fort was
renamed as Sinhagad. Shivaji was formally crowned as Chatrapati (meaning
the Chief, Head or King of Kshatriyas) in June 1674 at the Raigad fort.
He was given the title of Kshatriya Kulavantas Simhasanadheeshwar
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The end of 1676 saw Shivaji commencing
attacks in the southern parts of India.
Death and Succession
Shivaji breathed his last on 3rd April 1680 in the Raigad fort, the
capital for Maratha Empire. He was succeeded by his elder son, Sambhaji.