(Last Updated on : 01/10/2010)
Conquest of Prithviraj Chauhan can be characterised as aggressive and implementation of shrewd tactics occasionally. Prithviraj Chauhan was a king of the Chauhan dynasty
, who controlled the kingdom of Delhi
in northern India during the second half of the twelfth century. He belonged to the Agnikula clan of Rajputs
. Delhi had witnessed Prithviraj Chauhan as the last Hindu King. He ruled to a large extent current Rajasthan
, and unified the Rajputs against Muslim invasions.
Battle against Bhimdev Solanki of Gujarat
Prithviraj Chauhan had killed many of Bhimdev's generals before getting into a war with him. Bhimdev was a ruler of the Solanki dynasty in Gujarat. A general had betrayed Prithviraj and had joined Bhimdev in this battle. He had given all the inside information to Bhimdev and had poisoned Prithviraj Chauhan's army. Bhimdev was sending his army men accordingly. All his plans failed and on the final day of the battle, Bhimdev himself clashed with Prithviraj Chauhan and was crushed to defeat.
Battle against Mahoba
Some Chauhan dynasty soldiers from Delhi decided to stop at the Mahoba royal gardens as they were injured. The Mahoba soldiers told the Delhi soldiers that they had insulted the Mohaba king Parmar by stepping into his garden and were attacked. Prithviraj Chauhan came to know about this and declared war on Mahoba. The Mahoban army was divided into three different sections during this battle. One part was led by the Prince of Mahoba, whilst the other two were led by the brothers Alha and Udal. Prithviraj Chauhan defeated the section controlled by Udal and Prince of Mahoba. Udal had injured Pundir a friend and general of Prithviraj Chauhan in combat. Udal was then killed by Prithviraj who was injured badly. Prithviraj and his friend Sanjham Rai, who was also injured, fell down a nearby hill and were left to be eaten by crows. Sanjham Rai, in order to save his friend allowed the crows to feed on him and not on Prithviraj and died a slow death. Alha's section was still in battle with Prithviraj's army. He was stopped from killing Prithviraj Chauhan by his guru. When Chand Bardai, had arrived Prithviraj became unconscious. He recovered later and was grieved at his friend's death.
Prithviraj Chauhan continued his conquests winning one territory after another.
One of Prithviraj's small battles was in opposition to King Raichand. King Raichand and some of the other neighbouring kings took advantage of Prithviraj's injury. They attacked at that time knowing his inability to fight .The generals and close friends of Prithviraj Chauhan guarded the king of Delhi. Some villagers also came in handy to get rid of King Raichand and he was finally killed.
Prithviraj Chauhan took over the Kukada kingdom. He continued expanding his area of control by extending his region in all four directions. His army continued a rather bloody victory march for over four years. They won the battle against King of Dariyagargh. Soon after this conquest he had to witness the destruction of a major portion of his state. This was Muhammad Ghori's
first attack on Prithviraj's province.
First Battle of Tarain 1191
In 1191, Shahabuddin Ghori invaded India through the Khyber Pass and reached Punjab
. He captured a fortress, either at Sirhind or Bathinda on the north-western frontier of Prithviraj Chauhan's kingdom. Prithviraj's army led by his vassal prince Govinda-Raja of Delhi rushed to defend the frontier. The two armies met at the town of Tarain, near Thanesar in present-day Haryana
. Shahabuddin Ghori's army had been divided into three flanks. The Hindu Rajput army had elephant cavalry whereas Shahabuddin Ghori's army had no elephants. Shahabuddin Ghori's horse cavalry was unable to hold its own against Prithviraj's elephant cavalry, resulting in the defeat of Shahabuddin Ghori's left and right flanks. Two regiments of the Muslim army with Shahabuddin Ghori attacked the center with a body of soldiers; where Shahabuddin Ghori met Govinda Raja in personal combat. Ghori's army was exhausted and withdrew back and Shahabuddin Ghori himself was captured by the Rajputs.
Second Battle of Tarain, 1192
In 1192, Shahabuddin Ghori re-assembled his army and returned to challenge Prithviraj at the Second Battle of Tarain. He had sent his envoy to Prithviraj Chauhan to demand his surrender but Prithviraj Chauhan refused. He assembled a large army with the help of his fellow Rajput rulers to combat Ghori's army. Shahabuddin Ghori issued delivered an ultimatum to him that he convert to Islam or be defeated. Either of the side could reach on an agreement. Shahabuddin Ghori divided his troops into five parts and attacked the Rajput armies in the early morning hours but retreated as the Rajput elephant group advanced. Khande Rao general of Prithviraj was killed. By the end of the day, Shahabuddin Ghori himself led a heavily-armoured force to the center of the Rajput line, which collapsed into confusion. Prithviraj abandoned the battlefield and attempted to escape but was captured. The Rajput Army also fled, thereby conceding victory to Shahabuddin Ghori.Shahabuddin Ghori took the captured Prithviraj back with him to Ghazni, where he was executed in 1192.
Although Prithviraj Chauhan could not conquer many territories like the other Indian rulers, yet he proved himself as an able soldier in the first battle of Tarain. Conquests of Prithviraj Chauhan proved him to be a great soldier but lacking political insight of a diplomatic administrator. With his victory at Tarain, Muslim rule ushered in North India and decline of Hindu supremacy begun.