Jodhpur princely State (also called Marwar) was the largest state in Rajputana during the British Raj. The kingdom's founders were the Rathore clan of Rajputs, who claimed descent from the Gahadavala kings of Kannauj. After the sacking of Kannauj by Muhammad of Ghor, the Ghurid king in 1194 was captured by the Delhi sultanate in the early thirteenth century, which made the Rathores fled west. The Rathore family chronicles relate that Siyaji, grandson of Jai Chandra, the last Gahadavala king of Kannauj, entered Marwar on a pilgrimage to Dwarka in Gujarat, and on halting at the town of Pali he and his followers settled there to protect the Brahmin community from the raids of marauding bands. Later, Rao (king) Chanda, who was tenth in line of succession from Siyaji of Marwar, finally wrested control of Marwar from the Pratiharas and established his own independent kingdom from Jodhpur.

The Maharaja of Jodhpur was the head of the Rathore clan of Rajputs, and claimed descent from Rama, the deified king of Ayodhya. The original name of the clan was Rashtra (protector), and subsequently eulogistic suffixes and prefixes were attached such as Rashtrakuta (kuta = highest) or Maharashtra (maha = great) etc.

The clan is mentioned in some of Ashoka’s edicts as rulers of the Deccan, but their earliest known king is Abhimanyu of the fifth or sixth century A.D., from which time onward their history is increasingly clear. For nearly four centuries preceding 973 A.D. the Rashtrakutas gave nineteen kings to the Deccan, but in the year last mentioned they were driven out by the Chalukyas (Solanki Rajputs) and sought shelter in Kanauj, where a branch of their family was said to have formed a settlement early in the ninth century. Here after living in comparative obscurity for about 25 years, they dispossessed their protecting kinsmen and founded a new dynasty known by the name of Gaharwar. There were seven kings of this dynasty (though the first two were said to have never actually ruled over Kanauj) and the last was Jai Chand, who in 1194 was defeated by Muhammad Ghori ehile attempting to escape he was drowned in the Ganga. The near kinsmen of Jai Chand unwilling to submit to the conqueror sought in the scrub and desert of Rajputana a second line of defense against the advancing wave of Muhammadan conquest.

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