Kumber Fort, Bharatpur, where Khanderao Holkar, son of Malhar Rao holkar died

Khanderao Holkar – Biography, Death, and Wife Ahilyabai Holkar

Khanderao Holkar (1723-1754 CE) was the only son of the founder of Holkar Dynasty Malhar Rao Holkar and Gautama Bai

Life of Khanderao Holkar

Khanderao was the only son of Malhar Rao Holkar. So, there was no doubt in his becoming king. Ahilyabai Holkar was his wife. He had one son, Malerao, and a daughter, Muktabai. 

Ahilyabai gradually turned Khanderao’s thinking and mended his stubborn nature by repeating her statecraft and training lessons to him. She used to tell Khanderao stories from the epics, to motivate him to do his duty faithfully.


In 1754, on the command of Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur‘s Mir Bakhshi Imad-ul-Mulk, Khanderao laid seize of Kumher fort of Jat Maharaj Suraj Mal of Bharatpur State who had sided with Safdar Jang, an opponent of Ahmad Shah.

When Khanderao was inspecting his troops on an open palanquin in the battle of Kumher, he was hit and killed by a cannonball from the Jat army.

In the honor of Khanderao, Jat Maharaja Suraj Mal built a Chattri in Hindu style on his cremation spot at Kumher near Deeg.

After the death of Khanderao Holkar

After his death, 9 of his 10 wives committed Sati. Malhar Rao Holkar prevented Khanderao’s first wife Ahilya Bai from committing Sati.

In 1766, 12 years after the death of Khanderao, Malhar Rao also died. Male Rao Holkar, the grandson of Malhar Rao and the only son of Khanderao, became the ruler of Indore at a young age, under the regentship of Ahilyabai Holkar. After the death of Male Rao, Ahilyabai became the ruler of Indore.

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12 thoughts on “Khanderao Holkar – Biography, Death, and Wife Ahilyabai Holkar

  1. Based on the literature on Holkar dynasty, Khanderao Holkar had only one wife Ahilya Bai Holkar, who later became queen. It is incorrect to mention that he had 10 wives and 9 wives out of 10 committed Sati. This is blatant lie.

    1. Literature is not used as the reliable source of history. The reason is literature is written by the court poets of a dynasty. A court poet will not dare to show that what cruel or unpleasant things happened during the reign of their king or in the ruling dynasty. To ascertain any data, historian uses the data of many different sources to draw a conclusion. Statements of history are neither correct nor incorrect but they are assumptions based on these data.

      1. True however having 10 wives & Having only one child is less likely. Though there might be various factors.

        I don’t think they have mentioned any source for this information.

        Also importantly polygamy was well accepted concept back then, it was not considered as a wrong practice.

        Still entire issue is debatable. People used to have more then 1 wife but 10 wives as no is seen very rarely in mentioned historical duration.

  2. Please correct the information about Khanderao Ji Holkar about his wife. He has only one wife Ahilya Bai Holkar. Else will fill a lawsuit against the website. thanks.

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