Famous Indian Historical Personalities

India as a nation boasts of a rich and varied heritage that spans several millennia and dates back to the ancient times. The country saw a succession of powerful dynasties and empires for several centuries throughout various geographic areas of the subcontinent and also witnessed the development of spirituality the subcontinent is well known for. The emergence of the likes of Magadha, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha during the fifth and sixth century BCE marked Indian history significantly. The establishment of the Maurya Empire by Chandragupta Maurya who was assisted by Chanakya was another significant historical event. The reign of Mauryan emperor Ashoka lasted for almost four decades before he was succeeded by his grandson Dasharatha. The Mughal invaded India in the 16th century and Babur established the Mughal Empire. Among his descendents, Akbar is credited to have been a great emperor whose reign was instrumental in shaping the modern history of India. The Mughal Empire began to decline after the death of Aurangazeb and India fell under British colonial rule before gaining independence in the mid-20th century. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous Indian historical personalities.

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

Shivaji
75
Famous As: 1st Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire (1674-80)
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
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 Ashoka

Ashoka
83
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.

 3 Rani Lakshmibai

Rani Lakshmibai
26
Famous As: Queen of Jhansi State
Birthdate: November 19, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Died: June 18, 1858

Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.

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 4 Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya
42
Famous As: Founder of the Maurya Empire
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Pataliputra

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.

 5 Babur

Babur
33
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.

 6 Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap
21
Famous As: 13th Rana of Mewar (1572-1597)
Birthdate: May 9, 1540
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rajsamand District, Rajasthan, India
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.

 7 Razia Sultana

Razia Sultana
20
Famous As: First Female Sultan of Delhi
Birthdate: 1205 AD
Died: October 14, 1240

Razia Sultana is known for being the only female Muslim ruler of Delhi. She ruled the Delhi Sultanate in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent from 1236 to 1240. She was the daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish. Upon her ascend to the throne, she was challenged by rival nobles, many of whom she defeated.

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 8 Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan
20
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.

 9 Rani Padmini

Rani Padmini
20
Famous As: Queen of Chittor
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Died: 1303 AD
Legendary Indian queen Padmini, or Padmavati, wife of 13th–14th century king Ratan Sen, was the queen of the kingdom of Mewar. Smitten by her beauty, Alauddin Khalji beseiged Chittor Fort to gain her. However, Padmini and the other women of her kingdom immolated themselves to protect their honor.

 10 Samudragupta

Samudragupta
7
Famous As: Ruler of the Gupta Empire (335-375)
Birthdate: 0335 AD
Birthplace: Indraprastha, India

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.

 11 Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan
32
Famous As: Ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore (1782-99)
Birthdate: November 20, 1750
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Devanhalli, Karnataka, India
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.

 12 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
15
Famous As: Maharaja of the Sikh Empire (1801-39)
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
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.

 13 Raja Raja Chola I

Raja Raja Chola I
5
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.

 14 Akbar

Akbar
62
Famous As: Mughal Emperor (1556-1605)
Birthdate: October 15, 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.

 15 Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb
41
Famous As: Mughal Emperor (1658-1707)
Birthdate: November 3, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dahod, Gujarat, India
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..

 16 Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin Khilji
36
Famous As: 13th Sultan of Delhi (1926-1316)
Birthdate: 1261 AD
Birthplace: Qalāt-e Ġilzay, Afghanistan
Died: December 31, 1316

 17 Krishnadevaraya

Krishnadevaraya
12
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.

 18 Porus

Porus
20
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Punjab, India
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.

 19 Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan
40
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.

 20 Bindusara

Bindusara
14
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.

 21 Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri
20
Famous As: Sultan of the Suri Empire (1537-45)
Birthdate: 1486 AD
Birthplace: Sasaram, India
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.

 22 Jahangir

Jahangir
31
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. 

 23 Baji Rao I

Baji Rao I
3
Famous As: Peshwa of Maratha Empire (1720-40)
Birthdate: August 18, 1700
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sinnar, Maharashtra, India
Died: April 28, 1740

Baji Rao I was a peshwa, or chief minister, of the Maratha empire in India. His conquests led a massive blow to the Mughal Empire. In spite of being married to Kashibai, he took a second wife, half-Muslim Mastani, a story that was retold in several movies later.

 24 Sambhaji

Sambhaji
16
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.

 25 Pulakeshin II

Pulakeshin II
4
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Veerapur, Karnataka, India
Died: 0642 AD

 26 Humayun

Humayun
26
Famous As: Mughal Emperor (1530-40)
Birthdate: March 6, 1508
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kabul, Afghanistan
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.

 27 Mariam-uz-Zamani

Mariam-uz-Zamani
14
Famous As: Akbar's Third Wife
Birthdate: 1542 AD
Died: May 19, 1623

Mariam-uz-Zamani, or Jodha Bai, was the wife of Mughal emperor Akbar. She was a Hindu Rajput princess and the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber. Mariam’s marriage to Akbar signified her father’s submission to the Mughal emperor. She was symbolic of the gradual rise of multiculturalism in the Mughal era.

 28 Harshavardhana

Harshavardhana
10
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.

 29 Iltutmish

Iltutmish
6
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.

 30 Muhammad of Ghor

Muhammad of Ghor
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1149 AD
Birthplace: Ghor, Afghanistan
Died: March 15, 1206

Muhammad of Ghor of the Ghurid Empire went down in history as the man who established Muslim rule in the Indian subcontinent and set the tone for the upcoming Mughal dynasty. He ruled over a vast area, which included India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, among others, along with his brother, Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad.

 31 Balaji Baji Rao

Balaji Baji Rao
4
Famous As: 8th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire (1740-61)
Birthdate: December 8, 1720
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pune, Maharashtra, India
Died: June 23, 1761

 32 Rana Sanga

Rana Sanga
5
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.

 33 Ahilyabai Holkar

Ahilyabai Holkar
0
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: May 31, 1725
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India
Died: August 13, 1795

Ahilyabai Holkar was the Queen of the Maratha Empire who reigned from 1767 to 1795. A great pioneer, Ahilyabai is credited with building hundreds of temples throughout India. She is best remembered for rebuilding the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple which had been plundered, desecrated, and converted into a mosque by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

 34 Muhammad bin Tughluq

Muhammad bin Tughluq
24
Famous As: Sultan of Delhi (1325-1351)
Birthdate: 1290 AD
Birthplace: Multan, Pakistan
Died: March 20, 1351

 35 Bahadur Shah Zafar

Bahadur Shah Zafar
22
Famous As: Mughal Emperor (1837-57)
Birthdate: October 24, 1775
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delhi, India
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.

 36 Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola I
3
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.

 37 Dalip Singh

Dalip Singh
4
Famous As: Sikh maharaja
Birthdate: September 4, 1838
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan
Died: October 22, 1893

 38 Hyder Ali

Hyder Ali
14
Famous As: Ruler of Mysore
Birthdate: 1721 AD
Birthplace: Budikote
Died: December 6, 1782

 39 Gayatri Devi

Gayatri Devi
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: May 23, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 29, 2009

Gayatri Devi was the Maharani (Queen) of Jaipur from 1940 to 1949. She became the queen consort of Jaipur after her marriage to Man Singh II, who served as the Maharaja of Jaipur during the British Raj. After India's independence, Gayatri Devi became a successful politician. Devi was also renowned for her beauty and was considered a fashion icon as well.

 40 Bharata

Bharata
6
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.

 41 Ajatasatru

Ajatasatru
5
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.

 42 Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan
3
Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: May 31, 1577
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Died: December 18, 1645

Nur Jahan was the chief consort of Mughal emperor Jahangir. She reigned as Badshah Begum of the empire from 1620 to 1627. Nur Jahan is often credited with influencing Jahangir's decisions for much of his reign. She is also remembered for her strength and courage and her skills in hunting ferocious tigers. Her life has inspired many books and movies.

 43 Kanishka

Kanishka
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0078 AD
Birthplace: Peshawar, Pakistan
Died: 0144 AD

 44 Tarabai

Tarabai
4
Famous As: Regent of Maratha Empire
Birthdate: April 14, 1675
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Satara
Died: December 9, 1761

Tarabai reigned as the Queen Regent of the famous Maratha Empire from 1700 to 1708. The queen of Rajaram Bhosle I, Tarabai played an important role in fending off the Mughal forces from the Maratha territories after the demise of her husband. Tarabai's life and heroics have inspired films like Shivrayachi Soon Tararani where she was portrayed by Nishigandha Wad.

 45 Shah Alam II

Shah Alam II
14
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: June 25, 1728
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: November 19, 1806

 46 Bahadur Shah I

Bahadur Shah I
17
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1643
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burhanpur, India
Died: February 27, 1712

 47 Chandragupta II

Chandragupta II
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0380 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0410 AD

 48 Bimbisara

Bimbisara
4
Famous As: King of Magadha
Birthdate: 0558 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0491 AD

 49 Rajaram Chhatrapati

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

 50 Mīr Jaʿfar

Mīr Jaʿfar
9
Famous As: Bengali ruler
Birthdate: 1691 AD
Birthplace: Cumilla, Bangladesh
Died: February 5, 1765