Narayanrao Peshwa

Narayanrao Peshwa

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Category: Royal , History

Narayanrao Peshwa Profile

  • Name:
  • Narayanrao Peshwa
  • Other Name:
  • Narayanrao
  • Profession / Known For:
  • Ruler
  • Father:
  • Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao
  • Mother:
  • Gopikabai

Narayanrao Peshwa Biography

Narayanrao Peshwa, simply called Narayanrao was a ruler of the Maratha Empire in the 18th century. He ruled Maratha Empire for a brief period from November 1772 until his murder in August 1773. His pregnant wife Gangabai Sathe gave birth to a son after the death of Narayanrao, and he was named as Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa, who later committed suicide at the age of 21 by jumping off from the high walls of the Shaniwar Wada in Pune, where his father was brutally murdered by Raghunathrao at a young age.


Narayan Rao was born into the royal Maratha family as the third son of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao and his wife Gopikabai. His eldest brother Vishwas Rao was killed during the Third Battle of Panipat. Then the second brother Madhavrao ascended on the throne following their father’s death. Their uncle Raghunathrao was appointed as regent to Madhavrao, a crooked person who wanted the power. His conspiracy against young ruler got caught and he was eventually placed under house arrest. However Madhavrao died in 1772 from tuberculosis, and thus Narayan Rao became the heir to the throne. As he was only 17, Raghunathrao was released from home arrest and given the power of regent. Drifts between uncle and nephew, fuelled by people from outside finally resulted in the home arrest of Raghunathrao once again.


As per popular legends, Raghunathrao’s wife Anandibai and Tulaji Pawar, a servant conspired behind the death of Narayanrao Peshwa, and it revolves around a message to Sumer Singh Gardi to fetch Narayanrao using the Marathi word dharaa (means hold). It’s said Anandibai changed a single letter to make it read as maaraa which literally means ‘kill’. On the last day of Ganesh Festival, when Gardis attacked Narayanrao, he took refuge at his uncle’s residence thinking that his uncle would protect him and act as mediator. But Narayanrao was killed and his corpse was cremated secretly by the river at midnight.


A rumour is still alive that Narayanrao's ghost still hovers about Shanivar wada and calls out for help from his uncle. Many people say that they have heard Shaniwar Wada is haunted and the young Peshwa still roams in the fort asking for help, as nobody had stepped forward to help him on that doomed day. The gate through which his body parts in earthen pots were taken has been named as the Narayan gate.

Published: January 28, 2019

Updated: January 28, 2019

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