1A cushion or cushioned seat used as a throne by an Indian ruler or leader; (hence by metonymy) the office or power of an Indian ruler or leader.
Often in figurative expressions such as "to be placed on the gaddi": (of an Indian ruler) to succeed to the throne or to a position of power.
2In Indian contexts: a pad or cushion placed on the back of an elephant for protection when carrying a load or passenger. Now somewhat rare.
Early 19th century. From Marathi gādī and its cognate Hindi gaddī, †gādī cushion, thin mattress, padded seat, seat of an eminent person, royal cushion, throne, use as noun of the feminine of the past participle of gādnā to stuff.