The Maratha kings have made an important contribution to the history and culture of Thanjavur, the erstwhile Cholamandalam. Rajah Serfoji was one among the Maratha kings who played an important role in the history and culture of Thanjavur. The Tanjavur rulers were multi-lingual and have made huge contributions to the fields of Drama, Literature and Dance through their beautiful works in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi languages.
The first Maratha to set foot in Thanjavur was Venkoji Rajah Bhosale, the stepbrother of the legendary Maratha King Shivaji. He took over the kingdom in 1676 without shedding blood. After him, his descendants ruled over the kingdom till 1855 AD.
Rajah Serfoji was the most traveled among the 12 Maratha kings who reigned over Thanjavur. He had extensively travelled to Kasi, Benaras and Rameshwaram. A learned scholar and lover of arts, he had the habit of collecting lot of manuscripts, books, paintings and artefacts for his Palace library. In memory of his contribution, the library was named after him as Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji's Saraswati Mahal Library.
The Sardar Mahal is more than 175 years old and is situated north to the Krishna Vilas Tank, which is now closed. This was the residential palace of King Serfoji and his descendants. Performing arts like drama, dance, music and other art forms were performed at the Sadar Mahal Palace. Proof of this is evident from the Marathi Modi documents in the Saraswati Mahal library.
The Palace was named Rajah Serfoji's Memorial Hall in 1997 and was registered as a trust with Srimant Tulajendra Raja P Bhosale, a descendant of Rajah Sefoji. The hall was restructured and repainted, it originally had some stucco work on the upper borders of the wall. On display are household articles, costumes, gold and silver ware, armouries, earthenware, manuscripts, wooden and ivory objects, various kinds of paintings like oil, water colour and so on. A small garden has been developed at the place where the Krishna Vilas Tank stood. A secret underground passage located on eastern side of the Sardar Mahal, which was in use till 1855 before being closed has also be maharajah en reopened to the public.
Shrimant Tulajendra Raja P Bhosle’s Grand son and sixth descendant of maharajah Seroji Rajah Bhosle 2 Shri pratap sinha rajah Bhosle who is a young engineering student in Chennai has taken the responsibility to spread the word about Thanjavur and its cultural heritage.
According to his own words:
we're in south i.e in thanjavur tamil nadu we don't want our marathi culture here should be forgotten. in the efforts to create social awareness on thanjavur maratha royal family i have created this facebook page and contribute my collections of rare photographs of thanjavur and also the history of our family for today's youths who are interested to know our history
He is like his grandfather and father, has interest in doing research on Thanjavur Maratha dynasty and also to collect rare antiques like coins, photographs etc. He has flair knowledge of history of Marathas of Thanjavur. Recently he has completed a course on Conservation of Museum at Egmore Museum, Chennai and a short term course on marathi and Modi Script at Thanjavur Maharajah Serfoji Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur. The youths are getting connected and things reach quickly, he contributes his collections of old rare photographs of Thanjavur and the Maratha rulers of Thanjavur to help the young lovers of history who have intentions to know about Thanjavur kingdom. He also takes efforts to improve, develop and also to give publicity to the richness of his Museum and his Town. he had also written (authored) a book on contributions of thanjavur maratha kings with a brief history of cholas and nayakas which is going to be published soon.
An article in the Indian newspaper The Hindu