Maldev Rathore

Rao Maldeo Rathore (5 December 1511 – 7 November 1562) was an Indian ruler of Marwar, which was later known as Jodhpur (in the present day Rajasthan state of India). He was a scion of the Rathore clan. His father was Rao Ganga and his mother was Queen Padmavati of Sirohi. Maldev fought in the Battle of Bayana and Battle of Khanwa as a young prince, the defeat at Khanwa greatly weakened all the Rajput kingdoms in India, but Marwar under Maldev's capable rule turned into a powerful Rajput Kingdom that resisted foreign rule and challenged them for northern supremacy. Maldeo refused to ally with either the Sur Empire or the Mughal Empire after Humayun regained control of north India in 1555. This policy was continued by his son and successor Rao Chandrasen Rathore.[2]

Maldev Rathore
Rao of Marwar
Painting of Rao Maldev Rathore
Ruler of Marwar
Tenure9 May 1532 – 7 November 1562
PredecessorRao Ganga
SuccessorRao Chandrasen Rathore
Born5 December 1511[1]
Jodhpur, Marwar
Died7 November 1562(1562-11-07) (aged 50)
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Marwar
among others
FatherRao Ganga
MotherPadma Kumari Deora Chauhan

The Persian historian Firishta calls him as the "most Potent Ruler of Hindustan".[3]

Nizamuddin Ahmad in Tabaqat-i-Akbari calls Maldev as the "greatest of the rajas of Hind".[4]

According to Abul Fazl- Maldev was the most powerful ruler of the region "both in rank and position and for the number of servants and the extent of his territories."[5]

Early lifeEdit

Maldev was born on 5 December 1511 as the eldest son of Rao Ganga, the Rathore ruler of Marwar. His mother, Rani Padma Kumari, was a princess from the Deora Chauhan kingdom of Sirohi. By the time he ascended the throne in 1532, Maldev already enjoyed the reputation of being an intrepid warrior. Traditional and popular accounts list him amongst the most important rulers that Marwar has known.[6]

Maldev had supported his father in several campaigns. At an early age he defeated the rebels of Sojat and humbled Rao Veeram Dev of Merta by defeating him in battle. Maldev later led a 4,000 strong army and helped the Rana in the siege of Bayana on February 1527 and a month later at Khanwa. He personally led the charge on the left wing of the Mughal army and after the Rajput confederacy's defeat, he carried the wounded and unconscious Rana out of the battlefield. In 1529 the Rathore rebel Shekha and Khanzada Daulat Khan of Nagaur attacked Jodhpur, however Rao Ganga and Maldev defeated this army and killed Shekha.[7]


The rulers of Marwar once held sway over nine Rathore chieftains, however by the time Maldev acceded to the throne, he ruled only two districts.[8] Maldev thus attacked these nine chieftains and changed Marwars stance of overlordship to absolute control. Maldev also defeated the Sindhals of Raipur and Bhadrajun and fortified the two cities. In 1534 Maldev attacked Nagaur and forced Daulat Khan to flee to Ajmer. Maldev soon attacked Merta, Rian and Ajmer and captured them. The petty lords of Didwana and Pachpadra also acknowledged Maldevs suzerainty. His attack on Jaisalmer was also successful and it brought the Bhatti rulers under his sway. In 1538 Maldev attacked Jalore and captured Sultan Sikandar Khan. The Sultan was imprisoned and died after a short period in captivity. Maldev after capturing Jalore attacked and annexed Sanchore, Bhinmal, Radhanpur and Nabhara (In Gujarat). Maldevs western territory at this time extended up to Sindh-Cholistan in the west and parts of Gujarat in the south-west. He had direct control over 40 districts in and around present day Rajasthan. In 1539 Maldev took advantage of the war between the Mughals and the Sur Empire to conquer Bayana, Tonk and Toda.[7]

By regaining territories from Afghan occupation, Maldev Rathore restored Hindu rule in the area and abolished the Jizya tax there.[2] His northern boundary at Jhajjar was only about fifty kilometers from Delhi.[9]

According to Satish Chandra, "Maldev's kingdom comprised of almost the whole of western and eastern Rajasthan including Sambhal and Narnaul (In Haryana). His armies could be seen as far as the outskirts of Agra. Chandra also says that, Maldev had the mirage of reviving the 8th century Rashtrakuta empire. But unlike Prithviraj Chauhan and Rana Sanga Maldev did not have the support of the Rajput tribes and politically no empire based in Rajasthan alone could challenge or defeat an empire that stretched from Punjab to the Upper Ganga valley." This was pointing towards Maldev's hope of competing with the Mughal and Sur empires.[10]

War with MewarEdit

Maldev took advantage of the Mewari civil war and invaded Mewar. He established a garrison at Jaunpur (in Mewar) and annexed the lands of Sambhar, Kalsi, Fatehpur, Rewasa, Chota-Udaipur, Chatsu, Lawan and Malwarana. It was during this time that the Sisodia nobles asked Maldev to aid them against Banbir. The combined Rathor-Sisodia army defeated Banbir and secured the throne for Udai Singh II. Maldev continued to take advantage of the war and used the situation to form military posts in Mewar, Bundi and Ranthambore. This led to a bitter rivalry between Udai Singh II and Maldev Rathore.[7][11][12]

Maldev and HumayunEdit

Maldev Rathore had made an alliance with the Mughal emperor Humayun against Sher Shah Suri. But shortly after Humayun was defeated in the battles of Chausa and Kannauj by the Afghan emperor. Humayun upon losing most of his territories turned to Maldev for help and was called to Marwar for refuge by the Rao. According to Rajput sources, Mughals killed several cows on the way to Marwar, this made the local Rajputs hostile towards Humayun as cows were sacred to the Hindus. Humayun was thus forced to flee from Marwar. The Mughal sources however blame Maldev for betrayal and say that Maldev breached the alliance because he was given more favourable terms by Sher Shah.[13] according to Satish Chandra - "Maldeo invited him, but seeing the small size of his following, set his face against him" Chandra also says that Maldeo could have arrested Humayun but he refrained as he was an invited guest.[14]

War with JaisalmerEdit

Maldeo Rathore was expanding his territories westward and besieged Jaisalmer in 1537. Rawal Lunkaran was forced to sue for peace by giving Maldeo his daughter Umade Bhattiyani in marriage to him.[15].Through this alliance Maldev was able to secure his western borders and employ a large number of Bhati rajputs from Jaisalmer.[16]

War with BikanerEdit

Bikaner was a Rathore kingdom situated towards the north of Marwar. Relations between Marwar and Bikaner had been bitter since the time of Bikaners foundation by Rao Bika. Rao Maldev used a minor border dispute as a pretext for war and fought a battle with Rao Jaitsi in 1542 at the battle of Sohaba, Rao Jaitsi was killed in battle and Rao Maldev took advantage of this situation to annex the entire kingdom of Bikaner.[17]

War with the Sur EmpireEdit

A Marital alliance with Jaisalmer secured Marwars western borders but Maldev was fiercely opposed by the dispossessed chiefs of Bikaner and Merta who made an alliance with the Afghan chief of Delhi against Marwar.[18] According to The Cambridge History of India – "Shershah invaded Marwar with an army of 80,000 horsemen but he still hesitated to attack the Rathore army of 50,000 horsemen".[citation needed][need quotation to verify] He thus forged letters and deceived Maldev into abandoning his commanders to their fate. Jaita and Kumpa, the two commanders of Maldev refused to retreat and gave battle to Afghans near. With a small force of 5000-6,000 they vigorously attacked Sher Shah's centre and created confusion in his army. Soon overwhelming numbers and Afghan gunfire halted the Rajput charge. According to Satish Chandra - Sher Shahs oft quoted remark " I had given away the country of Delhi for a handful of millets" is a tribute to the gallantry of Jaita and Kumpa and the willingness of the Rajputs to face death even in the face of impossible odds.[19] After this Battle of Sammel, Khawas Khan Marwat and Isa Khan Niyazi took possession of Jodhpur and occupied the territory of Marwar from Ajmer to Mount Abu in 1544. However Maldev reoccupied his lost territories in 1545.[20][21]

War with AmerEdit

Rao Maldev defeated Bharmal and captured four districts of the Amer kingdom. Bharmal in order to save himself sought help from Haji Khan Sur.[22]

Battle of HarmodaEdit

Haji Khan was a slave of Sher Shah Suri and became the lord of Ajmer and Nagaur after the Battle of Sammel. Maldev who was on a resurgence to win back his lost territories attacked Haji, however the States of Mewar and Bikaner came to Haji's aid and forced Maldev to retreat. The relations between Haji and Udai Singh II deteriorated quickly, according to one account it was due to the demand of a dancing girl by Udai Singh in return for his help against Maldev. Udai Singh threatened Haji for war upon which he fled to the refuge of Maldev and together their armies defeated Udai Singh on January 1557 in the Battle of Harmoda. Maldev captured the fortified city of Merta after the battle.[23] Maldev further invaded Amber and forced the Kachwaha Raja to become a feudatory of Marwar.[24]

Mughal InvasionsEdit

Akbar succeeded Humayun in 1556, Many Rajput chiefs mustered around him with their grievances against the Rathor Chief of Jodhpur. Akbar used this as a casus belli against Maldev and sent several expeditions against Marwar. The Mughals conquered Ajmer and Nagaur in 1557 and soon after Akbar captured Jaitaran and Parbatsar. However the Mughals failed to capture the core territories of Marwar. Maldev before his death held the districts of Jodhpur, Sojat, Jaitaran, Phalodi, Siwana, Pokhran, Jalore, Sanchore, Merta, Barmer, Kotra and some parts of Jaisalmer. These territories were later captured by Akbar due to the succession war between Maldevs sons.[25][26]

Death and successionEdit

Maldeo Rathore had named his third son Chandrasen Rathore as his successor but after Maldeo's death on 7 November 1562, a fratricidal contest began for the throne of Marwar.[27][28]




  • Bari Rani Chundavat Sisodini Phopavatiji (née Parvati Bai) – 1st wife of Rao Maldeo.
  • Rani Bhatiyani Umadeji (née Ramkunvar) (m. 30 March 1537, Jaisalmer ; d. 10 November 1562, Kelvo) – Daughter of Bhati Raval Lukaran of Jaisalmer – She is most famously known as Roothi Rani as became angry with Maldeo and remained apart from him. She became sati at the time of his death and had cursed Ramchandra, a son of Maldeo.
  • Rani Jhali Narangdeji (née Ardhanbai) (d. November 1562) – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Jhali Hiradeji – a granddaughter of Jhala Jait Sajavat, a military servant of Rao Maldeo.
  • Rani Jhali Swarupdeji (d. c. 1562) – a daughter of Jhala Jait Sajavat – Principle wife of Maldeo and mother of his successors. She attempt to become sati at time of Maldeo's death but was prevented by her son, Chandrasen who confined her. She was eventually released and had cursed Chandrasen and his Kingdom for preventing her from becoming sati with Maldeo. She had then become sati.
  • Rani Chauhan Indradeji (née Indambai) (d. November 1562) – She became sati at Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Jadav Rajbai (d. November 1562) – sister of Rav Mandlik – She became sati at Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Vaghali Pohpamvatibai
  • Rani Bhatiyani Ratanbai – daughter of Bhati Mahiravan of Jaisalmer – She went on pilgrimage to Mathura and died there.
  • Rani Kelhan Bhatiyani Kisnavatiji (d. November 1562) – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Jamvali Kathiyamji (d. c. 1608, Pushkar) – daughter of Bala Jagmal Sujavat.
  • Rani Bhatiyani Jashar (m. Merta; d. November 1562, Reyam village) – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Sonagari Dammaji (d. before November 1562)
  • Rani Sonagari Ladbai (d. before November 1562)
  • Rani Sonagari Purbai (or Purambai) (d. November 1562) – daughter of Sonagara Chauhan Akhairaj, a military servant of Rao Maldeo – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Kachwahi Lachapdeji (d. 10 November 1562, Kelvo) – daughter of Sekhavat Kachwaha Ratansi of Amarsar – She became sati alongside Umadeji.
  • Rani Kachwahi Sahodramji (d. c. 1563, Amber) – daughter of Raja Bhim Singh of Amber – She was at her pihar at the time of Maldeo's death and was prevented by them from becoming sati. She had made an oath to Maldeo that she would not be left behind after his death and thus began to fast , refusing all food except buttermilk to drink. She then died three months later.
  • Rani Sodhi Kasumbhabai (m. Mandore; d. November 1562) – daughter of Sodha Panvir Rana Patal of Umerkot – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Sodhi Laharji (d. c. 1544, Sivana) – She died during Maldeo's exile after his defeat at battle of Samel.
  • Rani Ahara Ratandeji (née Lachbai) – daughter of Aharo Galhot Raval Prithviraj of Durganpur.
  • Rani Hadi Rambhavatiji (née Dropdabai) – daughter of Hada Chauhan Rao Surajmal of Bundi – She was driven away from the fort of Jodhpur and killed by Maldeo for laughing at his younger uterine brother, Man Singh. The Hadas in retaliation had a daughter of Maldeo, Rajkumvar, killed.
  • Rani Bhatiyani Dharbai (m. Mandore; d. c. 1600)
  • Rani Tankani Jamnadeji (d. November 1562) – She became sati at the time of Maldeo's death.
  • Rani Chandravatiji – daughter of Chandravat Sisodia Galhot Aclo of Rampura.
  • Rani Sisodini Likhmi – daughter of Rana Udai Singh II of Mewar.

Rao Maldeo also had several patars (concubines) and olgonis (court singers). One of the patar was:

  • Tivu Gudi – daughter of Mano Guda of Rohila.



  • Ramchandra (12 February 1530, Jodhpur, Marwar - May 1574, Sojhat, Mughal Empire) — with Lachapdeji — Eldest son of Maldeo. Maldeo drove him away after attempt to usurp power in 1547-48. Ram joined Mughal services and also participated in the war of succession.
  • Ratansi (b. 6 October 1532) – with Ratandeji.
  • Bhojraj (b. 24 January 1534) – with Ratandeji.
  • Udai Singh (13 January 1538, Jodhpur, Marwar - 10 July 1595, Lahore, Mughal Empire) — with Swarupdeji — The first from Rathores of Marwar to submit to Mughal Services and was granted the throne of Marwar by Akbar. He is most famously known as Mota Raja.
  • Chandrasen (30 July 1541, Jodhpur, Marwar - 11 January 1581, Pali, Marwar) — with Swarupdeji — Nominated to the throne of Marwar by Maldeo but lost Marwar to Mughals during war of succession. He resisted relentlessly Mughals for two decades.
  • Raimal — with Hiradeji — One of his daughters married Daniyal Miza in 1595.
  • Askaran (15 October 1551, Marwar - c. 1556) – with Rajbai.
  • Gopal Das — with Dammaji — He was killed for taking the wife of Rawal Aso of Chavra.
  • Prithiraj – with Ladbai – He was sent by Maldeo with his uterine sister, Lalbai, who was sent to be married to Sher Shah Suri. He never returned to Marwar and died in North India.
  • Kanho – with Ladbai.
  • Vikramadit – with Rambhavatiji.
  • Bhan – with Dharbai.
  • Dungarsi – with Tivu Gudi.
  • Maheshdas – with Tivu Gudi.
  • Isardas – with an olgoni.
  • Jaimal – with an olgoni.
  • Likhmidas – with an olgoni.
  • Netsi – with an olgoni.
  • Rupsingh – with an olgoni.
  • Tejsingh – with an olgoni.
  • Thakursi – with an olgoni.
  • Tiloksi – with an olgoni.
  • Raypal.
  • Jasvant Singh.
  • Kalyan Das.


  • Rajkumvar Bai — with Narangdeji — She was married to Hado Cahuvan Rao Surtan of Bundi and killed by them in retaliation for the murder of Rambhavati (daughter of Hados) by her husband, Rao Maldeo.
  • Phopamvati Bai – with Narangdeji – She was married to Ahara Galhot Raval Askaran of Dungarpur. She became sati at the time of Raval death.
  • Kankavati Bai (d. Jaisalmer) — with Narangdeji — She was married off to Mahmud III of Gujarat and was names Narangdeji. After Mahmud's death, she went to live with her sister, Sajambai, at Jaisalmer and had bought much wealth with her.
  • Hamsbai – with Narangdeji – She was married to Rao Lukaran of Amarsar.
  • Ratnavati Bai (d. Nagaur, 1592) — with Narangdeji — She was married off to Pathan Haji Khan and returned in mourning to Chandrasen after Haji Khan's death. She followed Chandrasen in exile. After his death, she was sent to live in Nagaur by Udai Singh. A chatri is built at Nagaur in her memory.
  • Sajnam Bai – with Narangdeji – She was married to Bhati Raval Harraj of Jaisalmer and named Harkhanbai. She was the mother of his successor, Bhimv.
  • Manavati Bai – with Narangdeji – She was married to Vighela Solanki Virbhadra, Rao of Bhandhavgarh.
  • A daughter (d. young) – with Narangdeji.
  • A daughter (d. young) – with Narangdeji.
  • A daughter (d. young) – with Narangdeji.
  • A daughter (d. young) – with Narangdeji.
  • Indravati Bai – with Hiradeji – She was married to Rajavat Kachwaha Askaran, Raja of Narwar.
  • Durgavati Bai — with Indradeji — She was married to Raja Bhagwant Das of Amber.
  • A daughter (d. c. 1556) – with Lahoriji.
  • Miram Bai – with Dharbai – She was married to Bhagriyo Chauhan of Bagar.
  • Balha Bai (d. c. 1604) – with Jamnadeji – She was married to either Sodho Pamvir Raisal Gangavat of Umerkot or Sodho Pamvir Rana Varsingh of Umerkot. She returned to Jodhpur after her marriage and was granted village of Samvatkumo for her maintenance.
  • Bhagrava – She was sent in dōlō to Vaghelos.
  • Sujkumvar Bai – She was married to Bhati Raval Maldev of Jaisalmer.
  • Kalavati Bai – She was married to Bhati Akhairaj.
  • Ganga Bai – She was married to Devro Chauhan Mero.

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ Studies, University of Rajasthan Centre for Rajasthan (1999). History and culture of Rajasthan: from earliest times up to 1956 A.D. Centre for Rajasthan Studies, University of Rajasthan. p. 162.
  2. ^ a b Bose, Melia Belli (2015). Royal Umbrellas of Stone: Memory, Politics, and Public Identity in Rajput Funerary Art. BRILL. p. 150. ISBN 978-9-00430-056-9.
  3. ^ Somerset Playne, R. V. Solomon, J. W. Bond, Arnold Wright (2006). "Indian states: a biographical, historical, and administrative survey", Delhi: Asian Educational Services, p. 196
  4. ^ A History of Jaipur: C. 1503–1938, By Jadunath Sarkar, p. 34
  5. ^ Abuk Fazl, Akbarnama ed. Agha Ahmad Ali, Asiatic society of Bengal, 3 vols reprint, 1977, vol II, pp. 160, 197
  6. ^ Hooja, Rima (2006). A history of Rajasthan. 518: Rupa & Co.CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. ^ a b c History of Rajasthan by Rima Hooja Section:The State of Marwar/Jodhpur, pg 520-522 [1]ISBN 9788129108906
  8. ^ Rajasthan District Gazetteer vol. 22, p. 22
  9. ^ Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, pp. 81–2
  10. ^ Medieval India (1526–1748) Part two. by Satish Chandra. p. 79
  11. ^ The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (Bangalore, India)., Volume 62. p. 24
  12. ^ The History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume 7. p. 332
  13. ^ Babur and Humayun: Modern Learning Organisation By Aditya Gupta p. 58
  14. ^ Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II By Satish Chandra pg.68, 80
  15. ^ Kothiyal, Tanuja (2016). Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert. Cambridge University Press. pp. 85, 87. ISBN 9781107080317.
  16. ^ Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II By Satish Chandra
  17. ^ Rajasthan p. 70 by Dharmpal
  18. ^ Rajasthan Directory & Who's Who p. 15
  19. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II. Har-Anand Publications. p. 80. ISBN 978-81-241-1066-9.
  20. ^ Mahajan, V.D. (1991, reprint 2007). History of Medieval India, Part II, New Delhi: S. Chand, ISBN 81-219-0364-5, p.43
  21. ^ The Cambridge History of India pp. 54–55
  22. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1994). A History of Jaipur: C. 1503–1938. p. 34. ISBN 9788125003335.
  23. ^ Hooja, Rima (2006). A History of Rajasthan, Section:The State of Mewar, AD 1500- AD 1600. Rupa & Company. pp. 462, 530. ISBN 9788129108906. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  24. ^ Arms & Armour at the Jaipur court by Robert Elgood p.10 — "the small kingdom of Amber was a feudatory of Marwar until the sixteenth century".
  25. ^ Kothiyal, Tanuja (2016). Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian. Cambridgr University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9781107080317. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  26. ^ G.R. Parihar,Marwar and the Marathas: 1724–1843 A.D. p. xiii
  27. ^ Akbarnama, II, p. 358
  28. ^ Sarkar, J.N. (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p. 41
  29. ^ a b c The Mertiyo Rathors of Merta, Rajasthan; Volume II. pp. 27–36.


External linksEdit

Preceded by Rulers of Marwar (Jodhpur)
The Rathore Dynasty

9 May 1532 – 7 November 1562
Succeeded by