MAHARAJAH SERFOJI I
Third King of Thanjavur, H.H. Cholasimhasanathipathi Srimant Rajasri Maharaja Kshatrapati Sri Serfoji I Raje Saheb Bhosle Maharajah ruled Thanjavur from 1712–1728 A.D. After the death of Shahaji II in 1712, he having no issue of his own was succeeded by his brother Serfoji I, who was his representative at Shahakottai fort a few miles west of Kumbakonam, his other younger brother Tukkoji was similarly a representative of Shahaji at Mahadeva Pattinam fort near Mannargudi. Serfoji I ruled Thanjavur with the help of his brother Tukkoji. He followed his later brother 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 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 Serfoji I’s general Ananda Raya Peshwa who served Shahaji II previously and after Serfoji I he served the last brother of Shahaji II, Tukkoji.
During his period the dam of Kallanai came into disrepair and Serfoji I was prevented to carry out the repairs by Nayakas of Madura who had shifted to Trichy as their capital. Serfoji I threatened invasion and then only the Nayak permitted Serfoji I to carry out the repairs and avoided further famine in his country.
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.