Shivaji Raje Bhosle was the founder of the Maratha Empire and was crowned “Chhatrapati” or King at a very early age.
He is well known for his military tactics and skills and also for his tolerance for other religions. Shivaji Raje Bhosle was born on 19 February 1630, at the hill fort of Shivneri, near Junnar in the Pune district. He belonged to the Bhosle clan who founded the Maratha empire.
His mother Jijabai was a pious and far sighted lady. She is regarded to be the reason of Shivaji’s bravery. Shivaji was extremely devoted to his mother who was also very deeply religious. This religious environment had a great influence on Shivaji, and he carefully studied the two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The morality and spiritual messages of these epics left a great impression on him.
By the age of 16, Shivaji managed to gather a band of fiercely loyal Maratha men and set about conquering nearby lands. Their first triumph was the capture of Torna Fort of the Bijapur Kingdom. By 1647 he had captured Kondana and Rajgad forts and had control of much of the southern Pune region.