Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a great Indian warrior and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire, is admired by people across the world. The death anniversary of the great Maratha warrior is observed on April 3 every year. The benevolent king passed away on April 3, 1680 at the age of 52. He is considered one of the first kings to establish a navy, building naval forts in Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Jaigad.
On his 340th Punyatithi today, here are some facts about him which stand out from his glorious and eventful life.
- Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire.
- Shivaji was born in 1627 AD at Shivneri fort in Pune and was named after Goddess Shivai.
- Shivaji’s first achievement was in 1645 when he was just 15-year-old. The brave warrior had negotiated with Bijapuri commander Inayat Khan to hand over the Torna fort to him.
- Shivaji was an expert in warfare and developed guerrilla techniques, an advanced strategy which led him to fruitful victories over the enemy.
- In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati (emperor) of his realm at Raigad.
- He was great visionary and knew the importance of Naval power. He constructed Sindhudurg fort over a period of three years (1664–67).
- Shivaji was a very secular leader and let his people follow the religion of their choice. His own army had a cavalry of about 1,50,000 Muslims. He only fought those who threatened Hinduism.
After Shivaji's death, Soyarabai made plans with several ministers to crown her son Rajaram instead of her stepson Sambhaji. On 21 April 1680, 10-year-old Rajaram was installed on the throne. However, Sambhaji took possession of Raigad Fort after killing the commander, and on 18 June acquired control of Raigad, and formally ascended the throne on July 20. Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, and mother Soyrabai were imprisoned, and Soyrabai executed on charges of conspiracy that October.
Shivaji left behind a state always at odds with the Mughals. Soon after his death, in 1681, Aurangzeb launched an offensive in the South to capture territories held by the Marathas: Bijapur and Golkonda.