Resurrection and expansion of territories of the Gohil Rajput clan in Saurashtra through the 13th century up to the middle of the 14th century

The Gohil chief Salivahan, migrated with part of the Gohil clan from Mewar in 973 A.D., leaving behind his son Shakti Kumar with the rest of his people. They settled at Juna Khergarh, which they made their capital on the Luni River (present-day Bhalotra near Jodhpur) in Marwar. There is still a village there called ‘Gohilon ki Dhani’. For two and a quarter centuries, the Gohil dynasty thus ruled Mewar as well as Marwar.

Following the invasion of Muhammad Ghori and the establishment of the Slave dynasty in Delhi, the Rathores were forced out of Kannauj (in modern Uttar Pradesh) in the early years of the 13th century. They headed for Marwar, and as a fallout the Gohils were displaced.

Under their chief Sejakji, the Gohil clan then marched back to Saurashtra after nearly five hundred years, to the court of the great Chalukya ruler Sidhraj Singh. They were granted a jagir in modern Gohilwar, thus becoming governors of the Chalukyas.

The ‘Ruling Princes and Chiefs of India’ published by The Times of India in 1930 noted that: “No single portion of the vast and vulnerable land of Ind is wrapt deeper in the fascinating glamour of immemorial legend, tradition and romance than is Kathiawar, the ancient territory of the Vallabhi kings. To Kathiawar journeyed the mighty Gohils, that historic Rajput tribe whose very name signifies ‘the strength of the earth’, centuries before Norman William fought Saxon Harold at Senlac. Originally, as it would seem, vassals of the Vallabhi kings, the Gohils, by degrees conquered the greater portion of Kathiawar, until they permanently rooted themselves in the soil of Saurashtra. They were fighters ever, these men – warriors to the bone and marrow. Sejakji – Ranoji – Mokhdaji – what memories of raid and foray, of pitched battle, of fierce siege do these names not recall! It was Mokhdaji, it may be remembered, who took Ghogha from its Mohamedan defenders and made of Perim a royal capital. Mighty in physical stature as he was in deeds of derring do, he died fighting against Muhammad Tughlaq on Ghogha soil, leaving behind him a name never to be forgotten in the annals of Saurashtra.”

Gohil chief Maheshdasji’s grandson and Jhanjharsinhji son Sejakji or Sahajigji was twenty-third in descent to Salivahan. He was chief of the Gohil clan from 1240, governor, commanding officer of King Kumarpal’s army and right-hand man of the Solankis, a branch of the Chalukyas. Sejakji befriended Rao Mahipal, King of Saurashtra, whose capital was Junagarh, and married his daughter Valumkunverba to Khengar, the heir apparent (Jayamal) of Saurashtra. Sejakji received Shahpur along with 24 villages in jagir, in the midst of which he founded a capital in 1250, naming it Sejakpur after himself. He added 40 villages by force of arms, before his death in 1254.

Somraj succeded as chief after the death of Sejakji, whose other two sons Shahji and Sarangji received jagirs in Mandvi and Arthilla, which later became the kingdoms of Palitana and Lathi.

Mulraj, brother of Somraj, was governor of Sorath. He died in 1290, by when had also carved out an independent principality Ghogha, with capital at Piram (or Pirambet), an island in the Gulf of Cambay, near present day Bhavnagar.

Ranoji became Gohil chief in 1290. He established a new Gohil capital at Ranpur but was expelled from there and slain by Muslim invaders in 1309.

Mokhdaji succeeded his father Ranoji and conquered Umrala from the Kolis, and wrested back Piram (Ghogha) from the Muslims. A master of naval warfare, he controlled the sea trade, to the ire of the Delhi Sultanate. Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq has to send an army by land to confront Mokhdaji. After a fierce battle Mokhdaji succumbed to sword wounds in 1347, a legend never to be forgotten in the folklore of Gohilwar.

Mokhdaji Gohil

Mokhdaji Gohil

Mokhdaji had married a Sarvaiya princess of Hathasani in Kathiawar. Their son Dungarsinhji succeeded as chief, and later his descendant Bhavsinhji founded the capital city of Bhavnagar in 1723. His second wife was a Parmar princess of Rajpipla, daughter of Chokrana, ruler of Junaraj (Old Rajpipla) in the western Satpuras, which was earlier part of the Imperial kingdom of Ujjain. The son of Mokhdaji Gohil and the Parmar princess, Samarsinhji, succeeded to the gadi of Rajpipla on the death of his maternal grandfather Chokrana, who had no male issue. Samarsinhji assumed the name Arjunsinhji.

Arjunsinhji thus became the first Gohil Rajput ruler of the principality of Rajpipla around 1340. Despite being hemmed in by such powerful Muslim realms as Gujarat, Malwa and Khandesh, and the Bahamani Kingdom, and later the Gaekwars, the Gohil sovereignty over Rajpipla survived through six turbulent centuries till merger with the Indian Union in 1948.

3 thoughts on “Resurrection and expansion of territories of the Gohil Rajput clan in Saurashtra through the 13th century up to the middle of the 14th century

    As per available records Shri Gohil Sen was from the lineage of Kanak Sen. His fourth son Bir Sen, had moved over to Mewar by the end of 2nd Century A.D . According to bardial chronicles ‘Bir Sen’ established Birnagar near Chitor. This was as per instructions from Maharaja Kanak Sen. Bir Sen eldest son Uttam Sen ruled over Birnagar. Gohil Sen was born 13 generation after Bir Sen. Crowned at five, he studied at Vallabhi Universtiy for 18 years. He started the Gohil clan in his name. His progeny in Rajasthan were to be known as Guhilots. Those who stayed in Gujarat became famous ‘Gohils’. Gohil Sen was to be the next Emperor of Vallabhi.
    नीरज भट्ट के पुत्र षलष द्वारा रचित

    गोहिल वंश बसत हों, सौराष्ट्र पीरमगढ़मा।
    सोमपाल, रतनपाल, पुत्र दुई सजीलो।
    एक नान्दोदी एक भावनगर राज्य करत।
    मान यश बढ़ावत, राजवंश मा गोहिलो।
    भाव नगर का राज्य छोडि़, गोहिल वंशी रजपूत।
    अनहिलवाड़ा जाय सम्भालो, जहाँ से आयो दूत।
    राघवसेन को वंश सम्भालो भावनगर का राज।
    कामेश्वर को पौत्र ओरछा, ताहि भयो युवराज।
    Niraj son Salash Bhat says ‘the messenger had brought orders for shifting some members of Gohil clan from Bhavnagar to Ahilwara’n along with their families. Later they seem to have shifted to Piramgarh as well. This was to meet the requirement of Kanak Sen’s empire. The evidence of those who stayed at Bhavnagar and other towns of Gujarat still exists.Sompal & Rattanpal were the two of Gohiladitya’s siblings in Gujarat. While Sompal Gohil ruled over Nandoyee, Rattanpal was allocated Bhavnagar.
    Most Kanak Sen’s progeny including that of Raghav Sen resided there.Thus the progeny of Rattanpal Gohil seemed to have moved to Ahilwara. Tod in his Annals says that ‘Sompal Gohil’s was pushed back from Khergarh by the Rathores’ (‘History of Rajput Tribes Page-137).
    Gohil Sen eldest son Bhojaditya ruled over Chitor as its next emperor. As time flowed, frequent victories, addition of fresh territories and personal valour of it princes increased the fame of the clan. Thus we find Gohils in Mewar, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Malwa and Uttar Pradesh. They came there to hold fresh territory in order to cater for changing political realities. They also seem to have made Idar, Nagdha and Sisoda as the capital of Mewar.
    Col Dharam Raj Singh Sikarwar.

    • Thanx for sharing your knowledge about Gohil clan in so much depth. I just wanted to know or if you have any written proof or historical evident about Gohil clan with its gotra, and other information ( spl about they are chandravanshi or suryaavanshi with the historical evident) then please send it to me if you want and your permission I wanted to increase my knowledge about rajput clans so in it if you help me I would be always grateful to you in my whole life.
      Khamma ghani

      • Well. The same doubt existed about the Jhalas. People in Gujarat were in doubt whether they were from Suriyavans or Chandravans. I visited their old state and palaces at Halwad. The insignia of the Sun was clearly embossed all over gates and beams of Halwad palaces. The same was at Dharangdhara. Same ought to be with the Gohil Rajputs. I don’t have any doubt that they are anything other then Suriyavans. However good photographs of their old palaces will clarify everything.
        Col Dharam Raj Singh Sikarwar.

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