Baji Rao ki Mastaani

These are just facts of history…..They say the origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity……

Mastaani was born in 1695, she was the second wife of Baji Rao I (18 August 1700 – 28 April 1740).


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Baji Rao I aka Bajirao Ballal aka Thorale (“Elder”) Bajirao aka Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat.


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Baji Rao was a respectable general, serving as Peshwa (Prime Minister) under the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu.

In 1734, Bajirao and Mastani had a son, who was named Krishna Rao at birth. Bajirao wanted him to be accepted as a Brahmin, but because of his mother’s Muslim ancestry, the priests refused to conduct the Hindu upanayana ceremony for him.

Mastaani’s Son was brought up as a Muslim, and came to be known as Shamsher Bahadur. He fought for the Marathas in the Battle of Panipat 1761, where he was killed at the age of nearly 27.

Shamsher Bahadur’s own son, Ali Bahadur, later ruled over Bajirao’s lands in Bundelkhand, and founded the state of Banda.

Peshwa Bajirao’s first wife was Kashibai; they had two sons: Nanasaheb and Raghunathrao. Nanasaheb succeeded him as the Peshwa in 1740, under the name Balaji Bajirao.


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Mastani, was the second wife of Bajirao I, lived at Shaniwarwada Fort in the city for some time after their marriage.

Another legend goes that even when Mastani was housed in Shaniwarwada, a special house-help would travel all the way from Pune to Pabal to take water for Mastani from the well, which stands dried today. “A few decades ago, a sword was found in the village. Assuming that it may have once belonged to Mastani’s security guards, it was kept safely in the office of gram panchayat, although there’s no proof about the sword’s history,” said Ghodekar.

Since she was a Muslim and he a Hindu, Bajirao’s family and locals opposed the match and hence he built a palace for her in Kothrud.

Though she stayed at Mastani Mahal in Pune’s Shaniwarwada, she was later shifted to a palace, specially made for her in Pabal.


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Though Mastani Mahal where she stayed at the Shaniwarwada Fort is no more, one can still sight a door named after her on the left side of the fort. Called Mastani Darwaza, the door has a small notice on its right that gives information about it.

“Mastani Darwaza, which is mentioned in old records as Natakshala Gate, was named after Mastani, the beautiful second wife of Bajirao who was from Bundelkhand. Nana Phadanavis afterwards called the gate ‘Ali Bahadur Darwaja’ after the grandson of Mastani, who conquered Bundelkhand and founded the Banda state. 10 soldiers used to guard this gate,” it reads.


Masaani Darwaza (Internet Photo)

The site in Kothrud, where the palace was built by Bajirao for Mastani in 1734, now has Peshwa-era Mrityunjayeshwar Temple on it. Though the palace doesn’t exist now, various items from the palace can be found at Raja Kelkar Museum today. The museum houses a recreated version of ‘Mastani Mahal’ that displays all the items that were once a part of the original palace of Mastani — from paintings to chandeliers and from music instruments to lamps.

In 1727-28, Allahabad-based Mughal chief named Mohammad Bangash invaded the kingdom of Maharaja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. Since Chhatrasal had grown old and couldn’t fight, he wrote to Bajirao asking for help.


King Chhatrasaal fighting the Mughal Generals (Internet Photo)

Bajirao reached on time and saved Chhatrasal’s kingdom. The Maharaja was so happy that he not only gave one-third of his kingdom to Bajirao, but also married his daughter Mastani to him.”


Bajirao and Mastani at Chhatrasaal fort (Internet Photo)


The Marriage (Internet Photo)

This marriage led to a crisis in the Bhat family. The historian D. G. Godse claims that Bajirao’s brother Chimnaji Appa and mother, Radhabai, never accepted Mastani as one of their own. Many attempts were made to take her life, presumably by Chimnaji Appa; she survived with the help of Chhatrapati Shah



Death (Internet Photo)

Bajirao died at the age of 40.

Mastani died soon after his death. Her grave, Shete says, is located in a village called Pabal.


On one side of the grave is a ‘taboot’ (diya kund), where the caretaker of the grave Mohammed Inamdar lights a diya every day. (Internet Photo)

(The traditional myth says that Mastani died after hearing of Baji Rao’s death. But in reality, Mastani died earlier, her death was kept a secret till all the ceremonies of ‘Janeu Pujan’ in the Peshwa household were over by March 1740, and only then the news was allowed to reach Baji Rao. He had stayed away from all ceremonies in protest against his Radhabai’s refusal to allow Krishnarao or Shamsher (Baji Rao and Mastani’s son) to have his ‘thread ceremony’ along with his younger half brothers.)

Situated at a distance of 60 kms from Pune in the village Pabal, the grave of Mastani is located in the middle of a 2,000 sq ft land surrounded by a boundary wall and three doors, while the fourth side has an elevated platform made for reading the namaz.

In the village Pabal, the grave of Mastani is her ‘samadhi’, while the Muslims call it a ‘mazaar’.

Because Mastani was Maharaja Chhatrasal’s daughter, the Hindus of Pabal consider her as a Hindu. The Muslims think she was a Muslim as her mother, Ruhaani Bai, was a Persian-Muslim.

Irrespective of their beliefs, people from both the community visit Mastani’s grave with equal devotion.

In 2009, when thieves had ruined the grave of Mastani in Pabal by digging it up to find a diamond which she is believed to have swallowed to end her life

In 2009, when thieves had ruined the grave of Mastani in Pabal by digging it up to find a diamond which she is believed to have swallowed to end her life.

The grave was restored by the archaeological department.

One of the walls has Mastani’s painting, too, but its authenticity is debatable.

The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity………………..

The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity and she was aq victim of severe character assassination; she was put down as a ‘muslim dancing girl’ by historians. But, in fact she was a Kshatrani, a princess from Bundelkhand, daughter of Maharaja Chhatrasaal Bundela, who was the chief propagator of the Pranami faith that sought to bring together Islam and Hinduism. She was a Krishna bhakt, who would be so lost in her devotion that she would get up and dance and kept both vrats and roza, sang bhajan and offered namaaz.

She was trained in all the martial arts, politics and diplomacy, all the household and beauty aids and an intelligence agent par excellence, apart from being proficient in music and dance. She was a prey to the injustices of people. She was s daughter-in-law whose dowry, be it in the form of money, land, intelligence or army support, made the Peshwas the most powerful clan of their time and making Bajirao-Mastani, an eternal love story to be remembered for ages.

About Shrimant Bajirao Balaji Bhat…………..

Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat widely known as Baji Rao I, was the eldest son of Balaji Vishwanath and Radhabai. He served as the Prime Minister (Peshwa) to the fourth Chhatrapati (Emperor) to Shahu Raje Bhonsle. His battlefield antics won him great accolades and praise from one and all.


Fearless Warrior Peshwa Bajirao, I (Internet Photo)

Jadunath Sarkar, a foreword in V.G. Dighe’s expresses in ‘Peshwa Bajirao, I and Maratha Expansion’: “Bajirao was a heaven born cavalry leader. In the long and distinguished galaxy of Peshwas, Bajirao Ballal was unequalled for the daring and originality of his genius and the volume and value of his achievements.”


Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat (Internet Photo)

He fought over 41 major battles and lost none. Major reason behind his success was the strong intelligence department which he built. His intelligence agency was so strong that they had all the information of his enemy’s whereabouts. His way to keep his troops motivated in the battlefield was another unique practice; he held high his banner, a swallow tailed saffron flag signifying sacrifice, chanting ‘Har har Mahadev’.

Till date, Baji Rao is believed to have died of the effects of a heat stroke. What most people do not know is that the fact that Bajirao’s ill-health symptoms are identical to those endured by a person suffering from alcohol withdrawal. As Baji Rao’s mother, Radhabai, had taken a vow from him to give up alcohol, in order that Mastani be released from house arrest and be sent to him.

Finally when a word came to him that Mastani was no more, he died on April 28, 1740.


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Baji Rao’s Mastaani in Pictures: (Internet Video)….


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i) Internet

ii) Shreemantpeshwe

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