Thanjavur Marathi people

Thanjavur Marathi People

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Thanjavur Marathi people

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Thanjavur Marathi (, ) (colloquially called Rāyar ()), are a Marathi-speaking ethno-linguistic group, who reside in the central and northern parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They are the descendants of Marathi administrators, soldiers and noblemen who migrated during the rule of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom. Kshatriyas use the designation Maratha while Brahmins use the self-designation Deshastha.

Thanjavur Marathi is the mother tongue for over 3% of the total population in the towns of Kumbakonam and Thanjavur.


There has been evidence of Marathi immigrants in the Tamil country ever since ancient times. During the Vijayanagar Empire and its aftermath, there was regular movement of people from central India. The Thanjavur Marathi community originated in the 17th century. The first Thanjavur Marathi was Venkoji, also known as Ekoji, a brother of Chattrapathi Shivaji, who established the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom.

In the early years of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, migrants to Thanjavur were very few and rare. Most Thanjavur Marathis are descendants of people who migrated during and after the reign of Serfoji I who ruled from 1712 to 1726. Serfoji I invited Brahmins to settle in Thanjavur and offered them vast quantities of land. He also established agraharams such as Sarabhojirajapuram. Migrations to the Tamil country from Maharashtra and northern Karnataka took place throughout the 18th and the first half of the 19th century until the demise of the...
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