Famous Indian Emperors & Kings

When it comes to heritage and legacy, not many countries can assert of a rich and vibrant history as India. Home to several rulers, dynasties, emperors, conquerors, kings and monarchs, the opulence and grandeur of India reached new heights under different dynasties and empires. Be it Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of Mauryan Empire and the first ruler of unified India or his grandson Samrat Chakravartin Ashoka who globally spread Buddhism and gave modern India its emblem, Akbar, the greatest Mughal Emperor who led way for cultural integration or Privithiraj Chauhan who ruled the kingdom of Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana, each of them added to the lustrous heritage of the country. While some contributed as great warriors the others became connoisseurs of art, some proved to be generous in their rule and others were known for their bravery and chivalry. At different phases, India was ruled by different rulers before coming under the British rule, and finally gaining its independence in 1947. Chronicling through the pages of history, one can only marvel at how the country became a hotbed for some of the greatest monarchs and kings. Check out this section to know about the life and works of some of the greatest Indian emperors and kings.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Shivaji

Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shivneri
Died: April 3, 1680

Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.

 2 Babur

Famous As: Founder of Mughal Dyanasty
Birthdate: February 14, 1483
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Andijan
Died: December 26, 1530
Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal Dynasty of India, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE and then defeated Rajput ruler Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanwa in 1527. His memoir is titled Baburnama.

 3 Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap
Famous As: Ruler of Mewar
Birthdate: May 9, 1540
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kumbhalgarh
Died: January 19, 1597
Maharana Pratap, son of Maharana Udai Singh, ruled the Indian region of Mewar, in modern-day Rajasthan, from 1572 to 1597. Also known as “Mewari Rana,” he is best remembered for his exploits at the Battle of Haldighati, against the Mughal army of Akbar, led by Man Singh I of Amer.
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 4 Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan
Famous As: Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty
Birthdate: 1149 AD
Birthplace: Ajmer
Died: 1192 AD

A king from the Chahamana dynasty, Prithviraj Chauhan ruled Sapadalaksha in present-day north-western India. The son of king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi, he ascended to the throne when he was just a child. As a young man, he became known as a brave warrior and an excellent military commander. Various sources differ on the exact circumstances of his death.

 5 Akbar

Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1542
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Umarkot, Pakistan
Died: October 27, 1605

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.

 6 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Famous As: Founder of the Sikh Empire
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gujranwala
Died: June 27, 1839
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the "Lion of Punjab" and the “Napoleon of the East,” was a Sikh leader who reigned over the northwest Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. He fought valiantly against the Afghans and introduced many modern reforms. His Khalsa Army included people of all religions.

 7 Ashoka

Famous As: Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty
Birthdate: 0304 BC
Birthplace: Pataliputra
Died: 0232 BC
Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. Following the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan, he converted to Buddhism and propagated the faith.
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 8 Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan
Famous As: Ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore
Birthdate: November 20, 1750
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Devanahalli
Died: May 4, 1799
Tipu Sultan, or the “Tiger of Mysore,” ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1782 to 1799. Apart from improving his kingdom’s military arrangements, he also established a new calendar, a new land-revenue system, and a coinage system. He died while defending the fort of Seringapatam in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.

 9 Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya
Famous As: Founder of the Maurya Empire
Birthdate: 0340 BC
Birthplace: Pataliputra
Died: 0298 BC

Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in India. He was mostly advised by philosopher Chanakya. He conquered the Nanda Empire and fought the Seleucid-Mauryan War, too. His reign was marked by religious tolerance, and cultural and economic prosperity. He later relinquished his throne and became a Jain monk.

 10 Krishnadevaraya

Famous As: Emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire
Birthdate: February 16, 1471
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hampi
Died: 1529 AD
Krishnadevaraya, from the Tuluva Dynasty, was the emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1509 to 1529. Named the Lord of the Kannada empire, he was one of the most influential Hindu kings of the Indian peninsula. An able military general and ruler, he also patronized art and literature.

 11 Bindusara

Famous As: Second Maurya Emperor
Birthdate: 0320 BC
Died: 0273 BC

Bindusara, son of Chandragupta Maurya, reigned as the second Mauryan emperor of India. He was the father of Ashoka the Great. Not much is known about his life. It is believed that much of the Deccan had been conquered by him, though there is no concrete proof of the same.

 12 Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri
Famous As: Founder of the Sur Empire in North India
Birthdate: 1486 AD
Birthplace: Sasaram
Died: May 22, 1545
Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri Empire, established the rupee as the Indian currency. He was initially part of Babur’s Mughal army and then became the governor of Bihar. He is also remembered for developing Humayun's Dina-panah city, reviving Pataliputra, and extending the Grand Trunk Road.

 13 Porus

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Punjab, Indian
Died: 0321 AD

Fourth century BC Indian prince Porus only finds mention in Greek texts but is said to have ruled over a vast land in what is present-day Punjab in the Indian subcontinent. He fought and lost against the legendary Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes.

 14 Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin Khilji
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 1250 AD
Birthplace: Qalat, Zabul Province
Died: 1316 AD

 15 Jahangir

Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: August 31, 1569
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fatehpur Sikri
Died: November 8, 1627
Prince Salim, son of Mughal emperor Akbar, ruled as Emperor Jahangir from 1605 to 1627. Jahangir was a patron of the arts and architecture, and focused on expansion through war. Fictional accounts of his relationship with a courtesan named Anarkali were later portrayed in literature and movies. 

 16 Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: January 5, 1592
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lahore
Died: February 1, 1666

Shah Jahan, emperor Jahangir’s son, ruled as the fifth Mughal emperor, from 1628 to 1658. He is known for commissioning the Taj Mahal for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, among other contributions to Mughal architecture. He was put under house arrest by his son, Aurangzeb, during his final years.

 17 Harshavardhana

Famous As: Indian emperor
Birthdate: 0590 AD
Died: 0647 AD

Harshavardhana, the second son of king Prabhakaravardhana of Thanesar, became a king at 16. Also known as Harsha, he reigned over a vast region of North and Northwestern India from 606 to 647 CE. Hieun Tsang’s Harshacharita detailed how Harsha converted from Hinduism to Buddhism, banned animal slaughter, and built monasteries.

 18 Humayun

Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: March 17, 1508
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kabul
Died: January 27, 1556

Humayun was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, which ruled over South Asia for nearly two centuries. At the time of his demise, the empire spanned nearly one million square kilometers. The expansion of the empire under Humayun’s reign helped his son Akbar establish a substantial legacy of his own.

 19 Aurangzeb

Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: November 4, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dahod
Died: March 3, 1707

Aurangzeb reigned over most part of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years as the sixth Mughal emperor. He helped the Mughal Empire reach its greatest extent and helped India become the biggest manufacturing power and the world's largest economy. He was known for his religious piety and led a very simple life..

 20 Samudragupta

Famous As: Ruler of the Gupta Empire
Birthdate: 0335 AD
Died: 0380 AD

The son of legendary Gupta emperor ruler Chandragupta I, Samudragupta ruled from 350 to 375 CE. He was part of the golden age of Hindu history and is known to have revived the horse sacrifice or Ashvamedha ritual. A devout follower of Vishnu, he had control over almost the entire Gangetic valley.

 21 Iltutmish

Famous As: Founder of Delhi Sultanate
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Central Asia
Died: April 11, 1236
Regarded as the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, Iltutmish came to power after defeating Aram Shah, Qutb al-Din Aibak’s inefficient son. Born in Turkey, Iltutmish was sold to a slave trader, who sold him to Aibak. He later married Aibak’s daughter. It is believed he averted a possible Mongol invasion.

 22 Muhammad bin Tughluq

Muhammad bin Tughluq
Famous As: Sultan of Delhi
Birthdate: 1300 AD
Died: March 20, 1351

 23 Rana Sanga

Rana Sanga
Famous As: Ruler of Mewar
Birthdate: April 12, 1484
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Malwa
Died: March 17, 1527

Maharana Sangram Singh I, better known as Rana Sanga, is remembered in history as a fierce Rajput king of the Sisodia dynasty. He controlled modern-day Rajasthan, Gujarat, and MP, with Chittor as his capital. In his struggle for power, he had lost one arm and one eye, and was crippled for life.

 24 Raja Raja Chola I

Raja Raja Chola I
Famous As: Sovereign
Birthdate: 0947 AD
Died: 1015 AD

Raja Raja Chola I was an emperor who reigned over south India from 985 to 1014. Also known as Rajaraja the Great, the emperor was deemed the most powerful southern king. He is remembered for resuscitating the Chola power and controlling south India and Indian Ocean. He is also credited with building the Brihadisvara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 25 Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola I
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 1014 AD
Birthplace: Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Died: 1044 AD

Rajendra Chola I, or Rajendra the Great, was a Tamil ruler who reigned over the mighty Chola empire. He outdid his father Rajaraja I and expanded the kingdom to areas such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives. His conquests in the North covered the Gangetic plain.

 26 Ajatasatru

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0492 BC
Birthplace: Rajgir
Died: 0460 BC

Fifth-century BC empire of Magadha, what is now South Bihar, Ajatasatru was the son of King Bimbisara, and forcefully gained control of the kingdom by imprisoning his father. The Haryanka dynasty ruler formed the city of Pataliputra and also extended the kingdom to Kashi. He lived during the time of Buddha.

 27 Sambhaji

Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: May 14, 1657
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Purandar fort, India
Died: March 11, 1689

The Maratha Empire’s second Chhatrapati, Sambhaji Bhosale, was the eldest son of Shivaji. After losing his mother at 2, he was raised by his grandmother. A treaty made him a Mughal mansabdar. Later, following repeated clashes with the Mughals, he was eventually captured and tortured to death.

 28 Pulakeshin II

Pulakeshin II
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Veerapur, Karnataka, India
Died: 0642 AD

 29 Bahadur Shah Zafar

Bahadur Shah Zafar
Famous As: Last Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: October 24, 1775
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delhi
Died: November 7, 1862
Bahadur Shah Zafar, son of Akbar II, was the last Mughal emperor. Back then, the Mughals had been reduced to nominal rulers, and his authority extended till the walled city of Old Delhi, or Shahjahanbad. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he was exiled to Rangoon by the British.

 30 Hyder Ali

Hyder Ali
Famous As: Ruler of Mysore
Birthdate: 1721 AD
Birthplace: Budikote
Died: December 6, 1782

 31 Bharata

Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: not known

Bharata finds mention in the Indian epic Mahābhārata, and was the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. He also appears in poet Kalidasa’s Abhijñānaśākuntalam. Though Bharata’s dynasty gave rise to the Pandavas, it is believed they were not his real descendants. Sources also mention him as an ancestor of Kurus.

 32 Kanishka

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0078 AD
Birthplace: Peshawar, Pakistan
Died: 0144 AD

 33 Shah Alam II

Shah Alam II
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: June 25, 1728
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: November 19, 1806

 34 Bahadur Shah I

Bahadur Shah I
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1643
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burhanpur, India
Died: February 27, 1712

 35 Chandragupta II

Chandragupta II
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0380 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0410 AD

 36 Bimbisara

Famous As: King of Magadha
Birthdate: 0558 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0491 AD

 37 Mīr Jaʿfar

Mīr Jaʿfar
Famous As: Bengali ruler
Birthdate: 1691 AD
Birthplace: Cumilla, Bangladesh
Died: February 5, 1765

 38 Rajaram Chhatrapati

Rajaram Chhatrapati
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: February 24, 1670
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Raigad Fort
Died: March 2, 1700

 39 Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII

Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: April 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Purani Haveli, Hyderabad, India
Died: February 24, 1967

 40 Siraj ud-Daulah

Siraj ud-Daulah
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1733 AD
Birthplace: Murshidabad, India
Died: July 2, 1757

 41 Janamejaya

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

 42 Jahandar Shah

Jahandar Shah
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: May 9, 1661
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Deccan Plateau, India
Died: February 12, 1713

 43 Chandra Gupta I

Chandra Gupta I
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0335 AD

 44 Alamgir II

Alamgir II
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: June 6, 1699
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Burhanpur, India
Died: November 29, 1759

 45 Ranjitsinhji

Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: September 10, 1872
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kathiawar, Vansoj, India
Died: April 2, 1933

 46 Ibrāhīm Lodī

Ibrāhīm Lodī
Famous As: Sultan
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: April 21, 1526

 47 Kumbha of Mewar

Kumbha of Mewar
Famous As: Ruler of Mewar
Birthdate: 1433 AD
Died: 1468 AD

 48 Mukarram Jah

Mukarram Jah
Famous As: 8th Nizam of Hyderabad
Birthdate: October 6, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nice, France

 49 Śuddhodana

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Kapilavastu, Shakya

 50 Akbar II

Akbar II
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: April 22, 1760
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Maratha Empire
Died: September 28, 1837