Thanjavur Marathi people

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Thanjavur Marathi (colloquially called Rayar), are a Marathi-speaking ethno-linguistic group, who reside in the central and northern parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They are the descendants of Marathi administrators, soldiers and noblemen who migrated during the rule of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom. Thanjavur was a Maratha kingdom in Tamil Country, until the British dethroned the last Thanjavur Maratha king, Shivaji of Thanjavur. It was founded by Maratha Warrior King Chatrapati Shivaji's half-brother, Ekoji alias Venkoji Rajē Bhonsalē.[1][2] The Kshatriyas use Maratha, while the Brahmins use the name Deshastha.[3]

Thanjavur Marathi people
Madhava Rao.jpg
Portrait of Sir T. Madhava Rao, a Thanjavur Maharashtrian of 19th Century
Total population
~70,000 (2001)
Regions with significant populations
 India (Chola Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Dharmapuri district, Kerala)
Thanjavur Marathi (mother tongue), Tamil
Related ethnic groups
Marathi people, Deshasta Brahmin, Tamil people

Demographics and distributionEdit

According to the 2001 census, Marathi is spoken as a mother tongue by about 0.1% of the total population of Tamil Nadu.[4] Exact districtwise statistics are not available, but according to estimates, Marathis are mostly concentrated in the city of Chennai and the Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Dharmapuri, Tirupatttur, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Ranipet, Salem, Thiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Kanchipuram and Tiruchirappalli districts of Tamil Nadu. The Marathi population in Tamil Nadu has dwindled recently due to migrations to Maharashtra, Bangalore, North India and foreign countries.[5]


The mother tongue of the Thanjavur Marathi people is Thanjavur Marathi, a Tamilized dialect of the Marathi language.[2][6]


There are many organisations that support the cause of Thanjavur Marathi people across various parts of India. One of the prominent ones is The Mahratta Education Fund (MEF), a non-profit organisation working for the spread of education to poor and deserving students of the South Indian Marathi-speaking community.[7]

In popular cultureEdit

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Hindu : The Maharashtrians of TN". Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Marathi identity, with Tamil flavour". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  3. ^ Ramesh N. Rao; Avinash Thombre. Intercultural Communication: The Indian Context. SAGE Publications India. p. 221. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Census of India – DISTRIBUTION OF 10,000 PERSONS BY LANGUAGE". Government of India. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  5. ^ Gopal, Ashok (August 1986). "Shivaji's Forgotten Cousins" (PDF). Poona Digest.
  6. ^ B. N. Krishnamurti Sarma (2000). A history of the Dvaita school of Vedānta and its literature: from the earliest beginnings to our own times. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 544. ISBN 978-81-208-1575-9.
  7. ^