Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti celebrations Maharashtra

This article gives information on the significance of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti festival, which is celebrated in many parts of India and especially in Maharashtra.

This year Shivaji Janyanti, as per tithi, is tomorrow on March 22nd 2011. It is a celebration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's birth in 1630 at Shivneri.

Unlike most kings of yore, Shivaji became Raje (king) not by inheriting it from a predecessor, but by establishing his own kingdom. Son of a warrior, Shahaji Bhosle, Shivaji was deeply influenced by his mother Jijabai's teachings. From starting a movement to free the Marathas from the rule of the Sultanate of Bijapur, to conquering regions under Moghul rule, it was due to Shivaji's and his faithful band of Maratha warriors that an independent Maratha kingdom was formed. Raigad was the capital of the Maratha kingdom, of which Shivaji was crowned as its Soveriegn and thus earned the title of Chhatrapati in 1674.

Shivaji Raje was a multi-talented warrior king. He was a superb military commander, setting up and defending forts against the enemy, using extraordinarily efficient war tactics and generally leading his troops with a strong hand. That same precision and efficiency was to be seen in his administrative skills. He set up an Ashtapradhan mandal, resembling a modern day cabinet of Ministers. He also set up separate groups of officials to handle internal affairs and foreign affairs. In addition, Shivaji Raje put into place an efficient revenue collection system which helped finance the ruling of the large kingdom.

The charismatic Shivaji Raje not only earned the admiration and respect of his troops and close friends, but also of the people he ruled. He was a benevolent ruler, always having the welfare of the people at heart. He ensured that his officials never harassed his subjects, that women were always shown respect, and he also did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims.

Years later Shivaji Raje was to become an icon of those seeking freedom from foreign rule. In fact, even today he is considered the greatest legend of Maharashtra, having not only been a great and wise ruler but also a King who was the first to establish the culture and traditions of the State as it is today. He thus left behind a precious legacy and will forever be a great inspiration to many.

That is why Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated with so much fervour every year - to honour a great King. Special cultural programs are held in various places in Maharashtra, traditional musical instruments are played and processions are taken out with people dressed like Shivaji Raje and his troops (see photo below), as they call out "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai!".

A young boy dressed as Shivaji


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