They were bestowed with the award in a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"We are extremely proud that Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana are being conferred with top honours by the Government of India. Virat is just the third Indian cricketer to receive the prestigious Khel Ratna award. This is a testimony to his work ethic, dedication and unwavering focus," said COA chairman Vinod Rai in a BCCI statement.
"He has led India with distinction and at the same time, set new records with the bat. Playing different formats of the game, Virat has shown amazing consistency leading the side by example. This Indian team is one of the fittest sides in world cricket and a lot of credit must go to the Indian captain for bringing about this transformation, he added.