15 Most Famous Indian Historical Figures

India is what it is today thanks to the contributions of many leaders throughout history. These famous Indian historical figures made significant contributions to a variety of areas of life that are vital to Indian society. Let’s take a look at some of them in the list below.

1. Shivaji

Shivaji was a warrior-king from India. He is credited with establishing the Maratha Empire, which rose to prominence in the 18th century. In addition, he is credited with founding his own navy. Shivaji’s life and work have inspired several works of art, including films, and is considered one of the most important Indian kings and a Hindu hero.


Image source: Wikimedia

2. Maharana Pratap

From 1572 to 1597, Maharana Pratap, the son of Maharana Udai Singh, ruled the Indian region of Mewar, which is now known as Rajasthan. He is best known as “Mewari Rana” for his actions at the Battle of Haldighati, where he defeated the Mughal army of Akbar, led by Man Singh I of Amer.


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3. Ashoka

From c. 268 to 232 BCE, Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty ruled the Indian subcontinent as the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. He converted to Buddhism and spread the faith after the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan. His reign contributed to the future of India hence making him one of the most famous Indian historical figures.


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4. Rani Laxmi Bai

Rani Laxmi Bai, the Indian Joan of Arc, is remembered for her valor in the face of the British in the 1857 Indian Rebellion. She is the wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, and after her husband’s death, she is credited with leading the fight against the British. She was also the inspiration for the famous Khoob Ladi Mardani lines.


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5. Chandragupta Maurya

In India, Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire. Chanakya, the philosopher, was his main advisor. He also fought in the Seleucid-Mauryan War and conquered the Nanda Empire. Religious tolerance, as well as cultural and economic prosperity, were hallmarks of his reign. He eventually gave up his throne and became a Jain monk.


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6. Aurangzeb

Sixth on our list of famous Indian historical figures, we have Aurangzeb. As the sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb ruled over the majority of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years. He aided the Mughal Empire in its greatest expansion and helped India become the world’s largest manufacturing power and economy. He was well-known for his religious zeal and lived a simple life.

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7. Akbar

The third Mughal emperor, Akbar, was instrumental in spreading Persian culture across the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is regarded as one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that infiltrated medieval India with foreign ideas and culture, the effects of which can still be seen in modern-day India, particularly in the north.


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8. Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2nd, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat. For Indian independence, he took the Ahimsa path. Civil Disobedience Movement, Hind Swaraj, Dandi March, Swadeshi Movement, Satyagraha, and others are some of Gandhi’s well-known movements. He always led his countrymen down the path of truth and goodwill, automatically making him one of the famous Indian historical figures.

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9. B.R Ambedkar

Can you name the person who was denied an education but persevered in his quest to become India’s law minister? The father of the Indian Constitution was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar was born in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, on April 14, 1891. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the first Indian to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from a foreign university. He served in the Viceroy’s Executive Council as British India’s Minister of Labour, as Chairman of the Constituent Drafting Committee, and as independent India’s first Minister of Law and Justice.

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10. Jawahar Lal Nehru

Next, on our list of famous Indian historical figures is a man popular among children. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru served as India’s first Prime Minister. He was well-liked by children, who dubbed him Chacha Nehru. He was born in Allahabad on November 14, 1889. Nehru entered Indian politics in 1912 after attending an annual session of the Indian National Congress in Patna. He was a leader in movements such as the Home Rule Movement, the Non-Cooperation Movement, and many others.

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11. Buddha

Buddha is the founder of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions and philosophical systems, which originated in southern and eastern Asia. Buddha is one of the many names given to a teacher who lived in northern India between the sixth and fourth centuries before the Common Era.

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12. Chanakya

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, was a Hindu statesman and philosopher who lived around 300 BCE and wrote Artha-shastra (“The Science of Material Gain”), a compilation of almost everything written about artha in India up to that time (property, economics, or material success). Chanakya served as a counselor and adviser to Chandragupta (reigned c. 321–c. 297), the founder of the Mauryan empire in northern India, but he lived alone. He played a key role in Chandragupta’s victory over the powerful Nanda dynasty at Pataliputra in the Magadha region. He is remembered as one of the famous Indian historical figures to ever rule India.

13. Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan, a Chahamana dynasty king, ruled Sapadalaksha in modern-day northwestern India. He ascended to the throne as a child, the son of king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi. As a young man, he gained a reputation as a fearless warrior and a capable military commander. The exact circumstances of his death are unknown according to various sources.


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14. Sher Shah Suri

The rupee was established as the Indian currency by Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri Empire. He served in Babur’s Mughal army before becoming the governor of Bihar. He is also known for extending the Grand Trunk Road and developing Humayun’s Dina-panah city.

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15. Babur

Babur, the Mughal Dynasty’s first emperor, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur. In the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE, he defeated Ibrahim Lodi, and then in the Battle of Khanwa in 1527, he defeated Rajput ruler Rana Sanga. Baburnama is the title of his autobiography.

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India has indeed come a very long way and it is all because of the famous Indian historical figures. Comment down below if we left out any of the legends who helped shape our country.