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Shivaji's coronation ceremony at Raigarh (6th June 1674)


On 6th June 1674, Shivaji's coronation ceremony was performed according to the shastras by
Vishweshwar, also called Gaga Bhatta, of Varanasi, a master of the four Vedas, the six philosophies and all
the Hindu scriptures after he had gone through the genealogy brought by Balaji Avji Prabhu, Shivaji's
secretary, which showed that the Bhonsles were a branch of the highly respected Sisodias of Mewar,
theKshatriyas of the purest Rajput clan.

As there was no unbroken tradition of the ceremonies performed an the occasion of the coronation of an
independent sovereign, a body of learned men went through the Sanskrit texts and Smritis to find out the
exact procedure, and information was also gathered from Mewar and Amber, two of the oldest Rajput
States, on various points connected with Rajyabhisheka.

The daily religious ceremonies preliminary to the main occasion and visits to most of the important
shrines in Maharashtra kept Shivaji busy. He performed worship of Mahadeva (Siva), Bhavani, and other
deities for a number of days. On 6th June 1674 the formal coronation ceremony took place.

On the two sides of the throne, various emblems of royalty and government hung from gilded lance-heads
two large fish heads of gold, on the left several horses' tails, (the insignia of royalty) and a pair of gold
scales, evenly balanced (the emblem of justice) on a very costly lance-head.

As Shivaji mounted the throne,. The priests lifted up their voices chanting holy verses and blessing the
king who bowed to them in return. The crowd set up deafening shouts of Jai Jai. All the musical
instruments began to play and the artillery of every fort in the kingdom fired salvos of all their guns
exactly at this time. The main priest, Gaga Bhatta, advanced to the throne, held the royal umbrella of cloth
of gold fringed with pearls over his head, and hailed him as Shiva Chhatrapati or Shiva
the paramount sovereign.

The coronation ceremony was an event of great significance in the history of India. In case of all other
rulers, the coronation had to be approved by the Mughal Emperor, but Shivaji did it as a bold challenge to
the Mughal authority, and the title of Chhatrapati or paramount sovereign which he adopted symbolized
this challenge. He could now claim devotion and loyalty of the people over whom he ruled and his treaties

and promises now had greater sanctity as engagements of the head of a State and had more legal validity
and assurance of permanence.

The formal assertion of his position as an independent king gratified every Hindu heart, harassed and
oppressed by the Muslim governments and clerics drawing authority and sanction from the teachings and
ideas alien to the culture of India.
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~ Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ~

Rajyabhishek of Shivaji Maharaj


Posted in History of India by Santanu Mondal On October 10, 2013. No comments

Introduction
The Rajyabhishek ceremony (coronation) of Shivaji Maharaj was performed on June 6, 1674 at Raigad. He
assumed the title of a king in a formal coronation and became the first Chhatrapati of Maratha Empire.

Background
Shivaji Maharaj had an extensive territory within his control and ruled over it as an independent sovereign. He
and his ministers, therefore, felt that it was necessary that he should assume the title of king in a formal
coronation so as to convince the contemporary Indian powers of right of Maratha Empire and to give legal
validity to his orders to treaties.
Moreover, the leaders in Maharashtra wanted the establishment of Hindavi Swarajyaand were anxious to
have its fulfillment in a Hindu Chhatrapati. Hence, it was decided that a formal Rajyabhishek ceremony of
Shivaji Maharaj would undergo on a grand scale.

Shivji Maharaj Rajyabhishek


Gaga Bhatt, the famous pandit of Banaras, conducted the Rajyabhishek of Shivaji Maharaj. Invitations were
sent to learned Brahman of all parts of India and many came un-invited. Ambassadors and envoys from most
of the Indian powers came to witness the coronation ceremony. Shivaji visited the famous temples in
Maharashtra. Then Shivaji distributed fine pieces of cloth and several other things among the Brahmans.
The Rajyabhishek of Shivaji took place on June 6, 1674. Shivaji spent the entire day in self-restraint and
mortification of the flesh.
On the day of the Rajyabhishek, Shivaji got up early in the morning, worshipped the gods and took blessing
from the priests. Then, he took his seat on a gold-plated stool decked with ornaments. His queen sat to his left
and the crown prince Sambhaji sat close behind him. The ministers of Shivaji Maharaj stood with gold jugs

full of water from the sacred rivers and poured it over the heads of the King. The Rajyabhishek ceremony was
accompanied with music.
Then, Brahman ladies with lamps on a gold tray waved the lights around the kings head. Then Shivaji
Maharaj changed his dress and put on a royal scarlet robe and precious ornaments. He then worshipped his
weapons and bowed to his elders and Brahmans and entered the throne room which was richly decorated. He
took his seat on the throne. The Brahman scholars chanted mantras and blessed Shivaji. Gaga Bhatta held the
royal umbrella over the enthroned monarchs head and hailed him as Shiva Chhatrapati. Salvos of guns were
fired at the exact time from all the forts in his kingdom. Shivaji then gave away large sums of money to the
Brahmans, other people and beggars.
After the Rajyabhishek ceremony, Shivaji Maharaj passed orders and received visitors. He accepted their
presents and conferred upon them royal honors. Then he mounted his best horse, descended down the fort and
taking his seat on elephant rode through the streets of the capital in full military procession with his ministers
and generals. The procession was preceded by his royal flags borne aloft on two elephants.