Venkoji I was the progenitor of the junior branch of the Bhonsle family. Thanjavur was ruled by the Bhonsle dynasty until the formal annexation of the kingdom by the British in 1855. He was the younger son of Shahji Bhonsle who was a military commander in service of the Nawab of Bijapur
. He became the jagir of Bengaluru
when his father died.
Conquest of Thanjavur
In 1673, he invaded the kingdom of Thanjavur
and drove away the ruler. He placed his own brother Alagiri on the throne of Thanjavur. Adil Shah sent Venkoji to invade Thanjavur and restore the throne to Chengamaldas. Venkoji had conquered Arni and proceeded to Thanjavur in order to liberate it from the shackles of the Nayak of Tiruchirapalli. With the help of Rayasam Venkanna who had again switched sides Venkoji conquered Ayyampettai and drove away Alagiri as well as Changamaldas and secured the throne. When Sultan of Bijapur died, he crowned himself as the independent king of Thanjavur.
Ekoji I was forced to become a feudatory of Shivaji
. However when Shivaji died the tribute was stopped and Thanjavur became independent. The chiefs of Ramnad were the feudatories of Nayaks of Madurai. New ruler Kilavan wanted to rule independently and therefore concluded an alliance with Ekoji I and rebelled against his overlord. This battle ended during the rule of Shahuji I and the nayaks of Madurai
During Venkoji`s rule Sanskrit and Telugu literature
flourished. The king himself composed a Telugu version of the Ramayana
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