Maheshwari are a business community of Vaishnava, originating from Khandela, Rajasthan in western India. They are a sub-group within the Marwaris community. The community is found throughout North India.[1]


History & Origin

Once upon a time, king, Raja Khandelsen was the ruler of Kahandelgram, a part of Rajasthan, India. He was blessed with two beautiful queens, Rani Suryakuvar and Rani Indrakuvar. However, the king did not have any children, thus no one to carry his name or kingdom. He performed many pujas, yagnas and much charity to help the poor, but no avail. Finally, one day he shared his sorrow with his spiritual advisor, Maharishi Yagyavalk. Maharishi Yagyavalk told him that he was cursed from his previous life and this was the reason he was still childless

Then the Maharishi explained to the king "In your previous life, you earned your living through killing and selling of animals flesh. Once, you aimed your bow and arrow at a pregnant deer and killed her. As she died in pain, she placed a curse upon you saying, "You shall be childless!" However, you felt guilty from this act, and went to Pushkar where you took bath in the pious pond, to wash off your sins. This religious act helped you become a king in this life. To recover from this past curse, there is one solution that I shall explain to you. Not too far from here in Bhashkar state, there is a Pipal tree, under which a Shivling is buried. You should get this Shivling out and make a beautiful temple for Lord Shiva, in which this Shivling must be embellished with respect and devotion." The king did exactly as he was told, in addition he recited the "Om, Namah Sivaya" shloka for two years. With this pious and religious act, Lord Shiva became happy and the king was blessed with a son, whom he named Sujansen.

Once the prince Sujansen was born, the spiritual advisor made his Kundali, to chart out his graha and nakhshatra. He shared the graha position findings with King Khandelsen and said "Your son will be handsome, masculine, and powerful; however due to an unforeseen incident he will suffer from sorrow for a short while, but that will eventually result in a happy ending."

The Prince Sujansen was married to princess Chadravati, a daughter of King Yudhaveer. After this marriage, the King Khandelsen handed over the kingdom to his son Sujansen, and moved to the forest for his retirement. One day King Sujansen went into the forest to hunt with his seventy-two soldiers as part of his routine. As the King and his soldiers were hunting, they got lost and became hungry. Soon, they sensed an aroma, as if someone was cooking good food, and they followed this aroma and reached a place where six rishis were performing yagna for Lord Shiva.Due to extreme hunger, the king and soldiers started eating prasad, drinking water from the nearby pond that was reserved for the yagna puja, and also started washing their stained bows and arrows in it. This broke the rishis' concentration, and they cursed king and his seventy-two soldiers to turn into stones.

Back in the kingdom, the queen and other 72 wives of soldiers were waiting for their husbands to return for months, and finally Queen Chandravati went to see Maharishi Jabali. The Rishi Jabali explained the situation in its entirety and suggested that she and all other 72 wives of soldiers should go to the temple near the pond and worship Lord Shiva for their husbands' life.

At this time, in Kailashparvath, in the Himaliyas Lord Shiva and his beautiful wife Parvati were residing. Lord Shiva told Parvati that he needs to visit Earth, some of his worshipers were performing ygana and he needs go and show his satisfaction towards the successful completion of yagna. Parvati, loves her husband dearly, and did not like to part from her husband. This time Parvati insisted that she also goes with Shiva to Earth. Lord Shiva said to Parvati, "Dear, you are very kind hearted, you will not be able to bear the pains of the people living on Earth. As always, you will ask me to take away all of their sorrows, so it is better you stay here till my return to Kailashparvath". Mata Parvati insisted and said, "No, I must go with you". After a while, Lord Shiva said, "As you wish!" and they both started their journey to Earth where the rishis were performing the yagna.

As Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati, reached the site, Parvati Mata saw the queen and all other wives were crying for their husbands' stone figures. Lord Shiva explained the situation to Mata Parvati. Mata immediately said to Lord Shiva "You must give these husbands another life, because when I can not live without you even for a fraction of a second, how can you expect me to leave this place while these wives are so sorrowful in life without their husbands." Lord Shiva said "This is what I was afraid of when you decided to join me for this journey; in any case I must do so".

At this point, Lord Shiva brought king and other seventy-two soldiers back to life, and told king Sujansen "Because you have performed sinful activities, taking away lives of God's creatures, and have misused your power, you have suffered from this incident. From now on, since I am giving all of you a second life, you will be known after my name as "Mahesh-waris". You will also stop your role of Kshatriya and play a new role of Vaishya, Vaishya Dharam , which is a role of non-violence. Sujansen to compensate for your violent tendency, from now on you will make living through donations from your other seventy-two Vaishaya brothers and you will perform the task of documenting their family trees".

At once, all came to life as if they were awakening from a long sleep. However, they were hesitant to accept their wives, since they still belonged to the Kshatriya caste. At this point, Parvati Mata said, "All of you take four parikramas around me, whoever are wife and husband; their gathbandhan will be joined auto-magically". At this, everyone did so, and they re-joined as husbands and wives. Due to this, four feras (parikramas) are done outside, during the Maheshwari weddings, as a reminder of our origin. Lord Shiva gave this blessing to the new seventy-two Vaishyas on the 9 th day of Jyesth Shukla Paksh in the year 9 of Yudhisthira Sanvat. On this day, newlywed brides and grooms are appointed to do Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati's puja so that they can also be blessed with children and live a happy and joyous life eternally.

While the seventy-two soldiers were bathing in the pond, their bows and arrows were melted, and after this the pond was named "Loh-Garl". Due to the incident in this story, new seventy-two Maheshwari khanp (Last) names were created. After this, additional five Kshatriya last names were also added to the original seventy-two last names.

Khandela town is about 10 miles away from Phulera junction of Jaipur district. Loh-Garl area still has a water bath, which is 20-25 miles away from the Ringus junction, near the mountains. Birla, one of India's most prestigious families has established a sanatorium near the Didwana of Nagour district.

The only apparent sign of recognizing Maheshwari family, according to noted journalist Ramesh Zawar, former Leader writer, Loksatta, is if festival of Teej and Ashtami Puja ritual (twice a year) is observed, you can take for sure that the family is Maheshwari even if marwari is not spoken in the family. According to Mr. Zawar more research is needed to be done as whatever material about Maheshwari community so far has been made available is based on the stories circulated down the generations. Very little "historical" evidence is collected. This community invariably would have left some historic proofs of its origin, developments and facade of life then and now. If extensive research on Maheshwari community is not impossible to find out corroborating evidence of its origin.


Marriages are very flamboyant social affairs in this community as is the case in most Indian marriages. They marry within their own group , like other castes in Hindu and Muslim society.
In Maheshwari marriages, a unique ceremony known as the Mama Phere (literally, "rounds around the groom in the lap of maternal uncle") takes place, in which the bride circumnavigates the groom in the lap of her maternal uncle as she would around a sacred yagna fire.

Notable Individual


  1. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two edited by A Hasan & J C Das Manohar publications page 925
  2. ^

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