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Raja Serfoji II the last King of Bhonsle dynasty

  • Ekaki
  • October 21, 2016
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Serfoji II was the last leader of the Bhonsle dynasty of the Maratha of Tanjore. His contribution to the field of Ophthalmic was notable, though his contribution remains unnoticed till 2004.King Serfoji II was born on September 24, 1777. He ruled between 1798 and 1832.He also established herbal research institution named Dhanavantari Mahal. The research center recorded various procedures to cure diseases in the form of poems, later compiled and published as a book named Sarabhendra Vaidhya Muraigal.

His contribution to the Sarasvati Mahal Library was commendable. He purchased around 4000 books across the world and enriched the Sarasvati Mahal Library. Scholar Pradeep Chakravarthy called Sarasvati Mahal Library “India’s Best-Kept Secret” while delivering his lecture at IIC.There is a Reference Library comprises of old books and new books The old books were mostly collected by the king Serfoji during his life time which consists of 4,500 books in English French, German, Italy, Greek and Danish languages These books deal with many subjects. [Source]

Records in Sarasvati Mahal Library also known as Modi documents.

Modi is a type of script used for writing the Marathi court language during the Maratha rulers of Maharashtra as well as Thanjavur. [Source]

It was King Serfoji II who carried out methodical ophthalmic practices between 1798 and 1832.The evidence of Serfoji’s contribution to medicine can be found in charts and manuscripts preserved by Saraswathi Mahal Library.


The Encyclopædia Britannica in its survey of the libraries of the world mentions Saraswathi Mahal Library as “perhaps the most remarkable library in India”. It was established by Nayak kings of Thanjavur but nurtured by great scholar, Philosopher Serfoji II.

The book “Sarabhendra Vaidhya System” compiled under direction of Serfoji II recorded various diseases, such as Garbhini Bala Roga (Diseases of pregnant women and children), Nayana Roga (Diseases of the eye), Vata Roga (Diseases of nerves and joints), Gunma Roga (Stomach trouble), Nirizhivu (Diabetics and other urinary diseases), Visha Vaidhyam (Poisonous bites and drugs), Kshaya Rogam (Asthma, cough, and so on), Janni Rogam (Delirium), and Pandu Kamalai (Anemia and jaundice). [Source]


Serfoji also built a pharmaceutical warehouse named Aoushadha Kothari, where pharmaceutical products were stored.Apart from his interest in medicine, art etc, Serfoji was very good administrator. To cite one example of his governance he was the one who constructed an underground drainage system for the whole of Thanjavur city.


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