Prithviraj Chauhan

Exact Match
  Indus Valley
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North India | Bengal | Kashmir | Other States | Rajputs | Ghazni | After Ghazni | Prithviraj | Tarain 

The power of the Chauhans, who had occupied the Tomara kingdoms in the region of Delhi, remained constant despite severe reverses on occasion. The last of the Chauhan kings, Prithviraja III, has become a romantic hero owing to the manner in which he wooed and won the daughter of the king of Kannauj. A long epic poem, Prithvirajaraso, composed by the bard Chand Bardai, narrates the this legend. The daughter of the king of Kannauj was to marry and as was customary among princesses a svayamvara was held, where the eligible suitors were assembled at her father's court and she was expected to choose her husband from amongst them. But she had set her heart on the gallant Prithviraja, who unfortunately was the enemy of her father, Jaichand.

The king of Kannauj, in order to insult Prithviraja, had not only failed to invite him to the svayamvara but had placed a statue of Prithviraja in the position of a doorkeeper in his court. To the bewilderment of those present, the princess of Kannauj rejected the princes assembled and instead placed a garland, indicating her choice, around the statue's neck. Before the courtiers realized what had happened, Prithviraia, who had been hiding in the vicinity, sprung up and rode away with the princess and took her to his kingdom, where they were married. But the story did not end here. Their happiness was marred by the second invasion from the north-west - that of Muhammad Ghori, reportedly at the invitation of Jaichand who was seeking revenge. Prithviraja was defeated in the ensuing battle at Tarain and killed.

Muhammad, the ruling Ghori prince, had planned and carried out a campaign in India. He entered the Indus plain from the Gomal Pass and by 1182 the rulers of Sindh had acknowledged his suzerainty. But Muhammad was thinking in terms of establishing a kingdom and not merely of indulging in looting raids. He realized that the - richer regions were in the Upper Indus valley and in the Punjab, which he therefore planned to conquer.

This campaign was conducted through the northern route and 1185 A.D. saw Muhammad as the conqueror of Lahore. This led to visions of further conquests in India and an attack was commenced on the Rajput kingdoms controlling the Ganges plain. The Rajputs gathered together as best they could, not forgetting internal rivalries and jealousies. Prithviraja led them against Muhammad Ghori at the first battle at Tarain in 1191 and the Rajputs were successful. Muhammad sent for reinforcements and a few months later, in 1192 A.D., a second battle was fought at the same place. Prithviraja was defeated and the kingdom of Delhi fell to Muhammad, who passed on and conquered both Delhi and Ajmer. But in 1206 Muhammad was assassinated.

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