Saibai was the first wife of Shivaji Maharaj Bhosale


Saibai Bhosale (Nimbalkar after marriage ) was the first wife and chief consort of the maratha king and the founder of the maratha Empire, Shivaji Maharaj Bhosale. She was also the mother of Sambhaji who became Shivaji’s successor and the second Chhatrapati.

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Quick Facts

  • Full Name: Saibai Nimbalkar
  • Born: c. 29th October 1633
  • Died: 5th September , 1659
  • Religion: Hinduism
  • Dynasty: Nimbalkar by birth | Bhosale by marriage
  • Spouse: Shivaji Bhosale
  • Father: Mudhoji Rao Naik Nimbalkar
  • Mother: Reubai
  • Famous as: Wife and chief consort of Shivaji Bhosale


The family members of Saibai were the rulers of Phaltan from the era of the Pawar dynasty who served the Deccan sultanates and the Mughal Empire. She was a member of the prominent Nimbalkar family. She was a daughter of the fifteenth Raja of Phaltan, Mudhoji Rao Naik Nimbalkar and a sister of sixteenth Raja, Balaji Rao Naik Nimbalkar.

Saibai’s mother Reubai belonged to the Shirke family from Andhra Pradesh being the current last grand daughter of Shivaji and Saibai.


Saibai and Shivaji were married when they were in their childhood time on 16 May 1640 at Lal Mahal, Pune. The marriage was arranged by Shivaji’s mother, Jijabai, but was evidently not attended by his father, Shahaji nor his brothers, Sambhaji and Ekoji. Thus, Shahaji soon summoned his new daughter-in-law, Shivaji and his mother, Jijabai to Bangalore, where he was living with his second wife, Tukabai.

Relationship of Saibai with Shivaji

Saibai and Shivaji shared a close relationship with each other. She is said to have been a wise woman and a loyal consort to Shivaji. By all accounts, Saibai was a beautiful, good-natured and an affectionate woman. She was known to be a “gentle and selfless person.”

All of her endearing personal qualities, however, were a sharp contrast to Shivaji’s second wife, Soyarabai, who was an intriguing lady. Yet, there is no record of any friction or mutual differences between Saibai and Shivaji’s other wives.

Saibai was an asset to Shivaji, not only regarding the affairs of the state, but also regarding the household affairs till the time she was alive. She had a significant influence over her husband as well as the royal family. She was also working as a counsel to Shivaji when he was invited by Mohammed Adil Shah, the king of Bijapur, for a meeting.

Shivaji’s private life became clouded with anxiety and unhappiness after Saibai’s untimely death in 1659 followed by Jijabai’s death in 1674. Although Soyarabai had gained prominence in the royal household following their deaths, she was not an affectionate consort like Saibai, whom Shivaji had dearly loved.

Saibai was Shivaji’s favourite till he died. A great source of inspiration to him, legend has it that “Sai” was the last word he uttered while he was on his deathbed.


During their nineteen years of marriage, Saibai and Shivaji became parents of four children: Sakavarbai, Ranubai, Ambikabai and Sambhaji. Sakhubai was married to her first-cousin, Mahadji. He who was the son of Saibai’s brother, Balaji Rao Naik Nimbalkar. The marriage took place in 1657 to consolidate Balaji’s return to Hinduism as the Mughal viceroy Aurangzeb had converted him to Islam .

Ranubai was married to a  Jadhav family. Ambikabai married Harji Raje Mahadik in 1668.  Saibai’s fourth issue was her only son, Sambhaji, who was born in 1657 and was Shivaji’s eldest son. His birth was an occasion of great joy and happiness in the royal household.

How did Saibai died

Saibai died in 1659 in Rajgad Fort when Shivaji maharaj was preparing for his meeting with Afzal Khan at Pratapgad. She was ill from the time she gave birth to Sambhaji and her illness became serious preceding her death. Her trustworthy Dhaarau took care of Sambhaji. He was just two years old at the time and was brought up by his paternal grandmother, Jijabai. Saibai’s samadhi is located at Rajgad Fort.

Saibai popularity

  • Film –  Umadevi Nadgonde who is popularly known as baby Shakuntala portrayed the role of Sai in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj movie which was a Marathi film launched in 1955.
  • Film – Smita patil played the role of Sai in the film Raja Shiv Chhatrapati released in 1974.
  • Isha Keskar also portrayed the role of Sai Bai in the movie, Sher Shivraj released in the year 2022 which was directed by Digpal lanjekar.
  • In colour television is the storical drama Veer Shivaji also launched in 2012 where Palak Jain was the actress. A teenage girl portrayed the role of Sai Bai. and the adult role was played by Sonia Sharma.
  • Rujuta Deshmukh also portrayed the role of Saibai in Raja Shivchatrapati which is the popular TV series aired on Star Pravah
  • Poorva Gokhale has also portrayed the role of Sai Bai in a television series Swarajya Rakshak Sambhaji  which was based on the life story of Sambhaji the son of Sai Bai.
  • Sameera Gujar Joshi played the role of Sai Bai in television serial Swarajya Janani Jijamata. She played the role of Saibai. This story was based on the life of Jija Bai.
  •  Literature –  Dr Sadashiv shivade has written a biography on Saibai’s life known as Shivpatni Shivade. 

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