Biography of Maharani Tarabai Bhosale: Legacy saviour

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Brief Introduction

Here , we will discuss about the biography of great Maharani Tarabai Bhosale which will definitely clear your ideas about the magnificent role of Maratha queen in building the Maratha empire.

Maharani Tarabai took the charge of the kingdom at a very declining phase of Maratha empire . It was the time when Maratha empire needed one of the strong and valorous leader after the death of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s son Sambhaji Maharaj in 11th march 1689 and Rajaram in 1700 AD .

Maharani Tarabai was one of the most prominent Maratha queen of 18th century who protected and continued the legacy of the great Maratha empire after the death of his husband Chatrapati Rajaram ( son of Chatrapati Shivaji ) in 1700 AD against the army of Aurangzeb .

In Indian history, women’s power had played an important role in establishing the big empire and ruling it. One of the powerful names among them is the name of Maharani Tarabai.

She was the one credited for the Marathas’ emerging power out of the terrible and frightening war with Aurangazeb army who wanted to keep the rein of the country under his umbrella in the 18th century.

One of the major questions arises is ” what was Maharani Tarabai role in the Maratha empire?

Tarabai had played a crucial role in the continuity of the Maratha empire. 

Other such names which played an important role in protecting our motherland from invaders were Maharani Lakshmibai, Jijabai, Durgavati, Rudramadevi etc. 

One of the most dejected parts is that these powerful personalities didn’t get any space in our history textbook. Mentioning of these names in our textbook will give a boost to the student’s mind towards their ancestors. 

Now let us focus our eyes on ” Maharani Tarabai ” who had played a major role in the continuity of the Maratha empire. 

According to some historians, she took the reign of the Maratha empire at such deserted time, when the throne was completely vacated from the powerful kings who could give a ruthless defeat to the Army of Aurangzeb.

She stood up to all expectations which her kingdom  wanted to have from her. She not just protected her Kingdom from the barbaric attacks of Aurangzeb but also expanded her authority to other regions. 

Tarabai was entitled to ” the queen of marathas ” by the Portuguese. She was the one who successfully restricted the Mughal Army from their brutal attack after 1700 A.D.

Early life

Maharani Tarabai was the daughter of the Maratha Army Chief, Hamir Rao Mohite, during Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ‘reign.

She was born in April 1675 AD and  got married at the age of 8 year in 1682 AD  with  Chhatrapati Rajaram I. Chhatrapati Rajaram was the son of Shivaji Maharaj. 

Maharani Tarabai was the daughter-in-law of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the second wife of Rajarama. Later on they were blessed with a son named Shivaji II on 9th June 1696

At a very young age Tarabai became the widow of Rajarama. Rajaram died of severe lung disease on 2nd March 1700 AD in Pune at Sinhagad fort.

Losing  husband at such a young age with the responsibility of a 4 year infant child was like a nightmare for her. But as she grew up in a very valorous and heroic family , she stood up strong and powerful in such a critical condition. 

Rise of Maharani Tarabai

After the death of Chhatrapati Rajaram in 1700 AD , the Maratha empire came at the verge of collapsing due to the dearth of fearless and heroic kingship. 

This was the time when pronounced Tarabai came forward to lead the Maratha empire. She made her 4 year old infant child Shivaji II as the king Chhatrapati of Maratha empire in 1701 AD in Vishalgad and she herself act as the regent of the great Maratha empire. 

Aurangzeb who wanted to take the advantage of vacant throne of Maratha empire won one fortress after another and also took the control of Parli , Panhala ,Rajgad and Torna by 1704 .

But his excitement was soon getting a shocked when he found a paramount queen had started to give him horrific defeat to rise up the glory of Maratha empire . She had built a great opposition to combat the army of Aurangzeb .

She was great in administering the empire. She appointed Parashuram Trimbak to the office of the Pratinidhi and gave the post of Pant Sachiv to Shankar Narayan Gandekar .

Girjoji Yadav, the protector of the Panhala fort, was her personal and confidential agent through whom her commands were communicated outside.

She was thoroughly proficient and skillful in leading the army from the forefront. She had mastery in swording and horse riding . She was excellent in cavalry movement. She was well acquainted with the tactics and techniques used in warfare and also had great expertise in Gorilla attack. 

Maharani Tarabai
Maharani Tarabai of Maratha empire

War with Mughal

Tarabai was an excellent woman who put all her energy in going camp to camp to encourage her officers, giving them a plan to execute against the Mughal Army of Aurangzeb. Now the hard work of her became a great threat for the Army of Aurangzeb. 

Tarabai got the support of great ministers like Ramchandra pant, Parshuram Trimbak , Sukaa ji Narayan ,Ramchandra Bavdekar and Dhanaji Jadhav . These Maratha armies brilliantly reconquered all main territories from the Mughal .

In 1705, under the ruling of Tarabai , two Maratha armies crossed the Narmada river. One Army was headed by Nemaji Shinde and another was headed by khanderao Dabhade

Maharani Tarabai of Maratha empire

These two breathtaking armies were so powerful that they crushed and annihilated the huge army of Mahmud Beg Khan. Gujarat then under the hands of Aurangzeb was ravaged brutally by the army of the Marathas.

The annihilation by two marathas armies were such that it broke all the spirit of the Mughal Army like a shattered mirror which couldn’t be reset again. 

The great vision of Tarabai successfully excuted. Multiple wars took place between the Army’s of marathas and the Army of Aurangzeb. Continuous victories of marathas made them much more fearless and striking. 

At one point in 1706 AD, Tarabai was arrested by the army of Aurangzeb and sent to the jail but within four days, she escaped from the jail by offering a bribe to the guard. Now again she took up the charge of her Kingdom and continued her job of protecting her people from the brutal attacks of Aurangzeb. 

The army of Maharani Tarabai defeated and instilled the fear in Aurangzeb to that much extent that when Aurangzeb reached the walls of the fort built by Ahmad Nizam Shah in January 1707 AD to take refuge , he realized and spoke that the dream of crushing Maratha empire was his foolishness .

Aurangzeb wasn’t expecting such a great woman with so much potential would come their way to resist them from their bloodthirsty attacks.

Seeing such a powerful lady sitting on the throne of Maratha broke the dream of Aurangzeb to subjugate the Maratha empire. Now, the subjugation of the Marathas was as distant a prospect as ever for the Mughal Army.

Finally on 3rd March 1707, the death of Aurangzeb became a great news for marathas. Now, the marathas had a great chance to defeat the Mughal Army in the absence of a leading Mughal leader . Now the Mughal empire was like a body without soul .

Tarabai, The Regent of her son Shivaji II, took it upper hand and showed agility in assigning different parts of Deccan to her superior commanders like Parso ji Bhonsle, Chimnaji damodar, Kath singh, Kadam rao, Khanderao etc. 

Tarabai and Sahu Maharaj relationship

After the death of Aurangzeb, an internal war started among the three sons of Aurangzeb for the throne. But they also had the fear of losing war against the marathas. So to create an internal civil war among maratha’s family, Azam Shah on the advice of astute general, Zulfikar Khan, released Sahu ji . 

Sahu was the grandson of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and was captivated in 1689 by the army of Aurangzeb. Releasing Sahu was a calculated master stroke played by Mughals to create a bigger turbulence in the Maratha empire. 

Tarabai was doing a phenomenal job in creating havoc among Mughal but releasing Sahu at such critical point when everything was going perfectly in favour of marathas created a fault line between the supporter of Sahu ji and Tarabai. 

She didn’t want to give up her throne but Sahu who was the legitimate grandson of Shivaji made it possible for himself with the support of top chieftains and commanders to become the king of Maratha empire. 

Though Sahu was released after 18 years of prisoning, his loyalty towards his Kingdom was still surviving in his spirit. This loyality of him made others to join him and support him. 

Shahu corronated in 1708 AD after winning the battle of Khed against Tarabai on 12 October 1707 AD with the help of Khando Ballal who was persuaded by Balaji Vishwanath, father of Peshwa Bajirao I.

After becoming the king of Maratha empire, Sahu took Satara under his control which was the seat of tarabai. After losing her seat, she was left with nothing. She was defeated but not crushed. 

Sahu tried his best for reconciliation with her aunt, Tarabai , by ceding the region to the south of warna to his son but the stand of Tarabai to recapture the seat with her own merit didn’t change which escalated the fight into a big civil war till 1731.

Though the rise of the great Peshwa Bajirao had successfully brought back the glory of Maratha empire during this civil war , the differences between Tarabai and Shahuji never ended .

Jealousy and internal fighting for the power of reigning among maratha’s family devastated the spirit on which the foundation of Maratha empire was established by the great Shivaji Maharaj. Keeping self interest over Patriotism became one of the major reason of declining Maratha empire. 


She died on 9th December 1761 , when she was at the age of 86 in Satara. It was her natural death.

What was the battle between Tarabai and Shahuji Maharaj ?

Battle of khed was fought between Tarabai and Shahuji in 1707 on the bank of Bhima river for sustaining the throne of Maratha empire . This battle was won by Shahuji . Peshwa Vishwanath , father of Bajirao , had played a crucial role in winning the battle for Shahuji .

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