Shivrajyabhishek: The Coronation of Rajshree Shivaji Bhonsle


Of all the glorious Indian history ,one of the 6 golden events (as described by Veer Sawarkar) took place 345 years ago on this auspicious day.Till then just a chieftain,Rajshree Shivaji Shahaji Bhonsle,was coronated and assumed the title of Chhatrapati .

The importance of this day can be understood after assessing about 350 years of history before it.From the moment Maharaj Pruthviraj Chauhan lost at the battle of Tarain to Mohd.Ghori,there had been a series of Islamic invasion on this Aryabhoomi.The valiant Rajputs resisted with all their might,but due to lack of unity and treason,the Great Maharanas fell one by one.Brave soul such as Maharana Pratap Singh gave a tough fight to retain their sovergnity but was eventually defeated.

At the darkest of hours,when no sign of Hindu resurgence was visible,rose a lady of the Bhonsle clan whose life’s mission was to see the formation of a hindu empire ruled by a hindu king.She was Rajmata Jijabai who guided and trained her son Shivaji to be Hindu-dharma-uddharak or the liberator of Hindu Dharma.

Shivaji Maharaj by his bravery and intellect,established Hindavi Swarajya,right over the Islamic empire.This was no easy task.It was created while tackling three Islamic Patashahi (kingdoms) on 3 sides and the Dutch, Portuguese,British etc.on the fourth side. Alongside the expansion of his kingdom,he also focused on quality administration over his subjects.He was a strict but fair and just ruler.All the aspects of good governance were applicable to his regime.He also minted his own currency known as ‘Shivrai‘.He loved his subjects and they loved him back.

But the fact remained that they still did not see him as a Sovereign.Due to years of slave mentality,it was very hard for them to accept him as a King.There were still some elements in his subjects who were loyal to the Badshah. This indeed was a great threat and could have caused instability in the kingdom.

As a solution to this problem,Gagabhatt,a prominent scholar from Kashi (Varanasi) respected across India arrived at his capital (then the fort of Rajgad)and instructed him to get a Rajyabhishek (coronation) done.When Maharaj relented,he was informed by Gagabhatt that this was an order from the Kashi Dharmapeetha, one of the highest institution in hindu dharma and that he cannot disobey the orders of Shri Vishveshwara. After this Maharaj consented and the preparations for the event started under the supervision of Gagabhatt.

Maharaj then shifted his capital to Raigad for strategic and military advantage.The Muhurtam of the Rajyabhishek was decided as Shukla Trayodashi of Jyeshtha (the 13th day of the first half of Jyestha month,the third month in hindu almanac) or 6th June 1674 according to Gregorian calendar at 5 am in the morning. As there had been no coronations in about 300 years,the exact procedure for it was researched by Gagabhatt and made into a treatise known as Shri Rajyabhishek Prayog . A gold Sinhasan (Throne) with all the auspicious markings etched on it and a spectacular Durbar was built which displayed a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic motifs.

There was a ruse over the lineage of Shivaji Maharaj and some nobles refused to believe him as Kshatriya.To answer them,Gagabhatt along with his trusted nobles searched his lineage and traced it back to the the Sisodiya dynasty of Mewad,which in turn was traced to Prabhu Shri Ram.This established the fact that Maharaj was indeed a Kshatriya of Suryawanshi clan.

Following this discovery, formal rituals of Upanayan and Vivah were conducted few days prior of Rajyabhishek. A ritual of Tulabhaar ( Weighing a person in gold on a scale and then donating it) was also conducted.Few hours before the Muhurtam, Maharaj along with his wife Soyarabai and son Sambhaji Maharaj were bathed with waters of all the important rivers across India.Following this,Maharaj ascended the throne at the fixed time and a Chhatra ( an umbrella) was raised over his head to symbolise his coronation.This event was witnessed by thousands of people including the ambassadors of British,Dutch and Portuguese and Mughal.

The grandeur of this occasion was necessary to proclaim a sovereign Hindu kingdom or else without this event,the entire enterprise would be just a successful Maratha revolt.Thus this event is surely a pivotal and golden moment in Indian History.

1. Raja Shivchhatrapati, Babasaheb Purandare, Part 1&2.