Third King of Thanjavur, H.H. Cholasimhasanathipathi Srimant Rajasri Maharaja Kshatrapati Sri Serfoji I Raje Saheb Bhosle ruled Thanjavur from 1712–1728 A.D. After the death of King Shahaji II in 1712, he having no issue of his own was succeeded by his brother King Serfoji I, who was his representative at Shahakottai fort a few miles west of Kumbakonam, his other younger brother King Tukkoji was similarly a representative of King Shahaji at MahadevaPattinam fort near Mannargudi. King Serfoji I ruled Thanjavur with the help of his brother King Tukkoji. He followed his later brother King Shahaji II’s domestic policy and in foreign affairs he took part in the politics of Ramnad Sethupathi in a war of succession between the sons of Kizhavan Sethupathi of Ramnad. Serfoji I placed Bhavani Shankar on the throne and divided the Sethupathi’s territories into three parts, one taken by King Serfoji, the other to the Ramnad Sethupathi, while the third was made into a new zamindari of Sivaganga. The expendition to Ramnad was ably conducted by King Serfoji I’s general Ananda Raya Peshwa who served King Shahaji II previously and after King Serfoji I he served the last brother of King Shahaji II, King Tukkoji.

During his period the dam of Kallanai came into disrepair and King Serfoji I was prevented to carry out the repairs by Nayakas of Madura who had shifted to Trichy as their capital. King Serfoji I threatened invasion and then only the Nayak permitted King Serfoji I to carry out the repairs and avoided further famine in his country.

King Serfoji I was by nature pious and intensely religious and endowed agraharams like his brother, scholar King Shahaji at Thiruvenkadu, Mangamadam and at Serfojirajapuram in Thirukkadiyur. He was himself a scholar and patronised several scholars in his court. ‘Raghava Charitam’ is his work. Some noteworthy scholars of his court and their works are Bhagavant Raya’s Sachidananda Vilasa, Raghunatha’s Narakavarnam and Vittala’s Rukmini Swayamvara slokas, and all these three author’s works are in Marathi. Anandaraya Makhi, Vidaya Parinaya and Aswalayana Sutravrithi were his ministers. Anantha Narayana called by Serfoji I as Pancharatna Kavi wrote Gita Shankaram and Saraboji Charitam.


Poet Venkateswara called by King Serfoji as Sahitya Bhoja wrote Sabapathy Vilasa and Bosalavamsavali, Nilaparinayam, Raghavanandam etc. Raghunatha Panditha wrote Sarabhoji Raja Vilasam, Anangavijayam, and Sringara Tarangini. The Telugu scholars who adorned his court are Giriraja Kavi, who served Shahaji also his work is Lilavathi Kalyanam, Tenali Arumayya wrote Sudarnasa Pariyam, Paramananda, Yathindra Thirtha composed Dottalim Satakamu, Mannaru Satakamu, Mukti kanta Parinayamu, Bhrahma Vidya Sudarnavamu and Viveka Chintamani are some of the outstanding Telugu works of his times. Sanskrit manuscript dealing with the life history and achievements of Chatrapathi shivaji the great named 'Sivabharatham' is attributed to his period and a tamil version of this manuscript is available at Sarasvati Mahal Library. Even though king Serfoji married three wives, he did not beget a son. He was a strict disciplinarian and spared none whether high or low for any breach of rules. He imprisoned his own minister, Ayyavayan a scholar and poet for illegal use of government funds and his rule was praised by his people. He was a daring warrior and subdued the chieftain of Ramanathapuram as well as the Nayak of Madura.King Serfoji died issueless in 1728 and was succeeded of his younger brother King Tukkoji alias Tulaja Rajah.