Battle of Hydaspes - Part I

Exact Match
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Republics & Kingdoms | Magadha as Empire | Ajatashatru | Gautam Buddha | Vardhamana Mahavira | Nandas | Alexander | Battle of Hydaspes 

Porus-Alexander war is of great significance in the History of ancient India. Alexander, the son of King Phillip of Macedonia (a small kingdom in ancient Greece) ascended the throne in 336 B.C. Alexander was an ambitious ruler and soon he established a strong empire by conquering all the city states in Greece. When he had extended his Kingdom upto the river Danube, Alexander was emboldened to carry on the expansion of his empire so as to become a world conqueror. He organized a vast army and embarked on his world campaign in 334 B.C. at the age of only 22. First he occupied Asia Minor and then advancing further eastwards conquered Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Samarkand, etc. After conquering Bactria, across the Hindu Kush in May 327 B.C., he entered India.

As soon as Alexander crossed borders into India, Ambhi, the King of Taxila, accorded a warm welcome to him. He bestowed immense gifts on him and accepted his suzerainty. What made him to behave in such a supine manner was that with the help of Alexander, he wanted to take revenge on his enemy Porus. Many of the other smaller chiefs of the area submitted to the Greek invader without fighting. However, Porus, the brave and powerful ruler between Jhelum and the Chenab, refused to surrender and decided to stand up to the foreign invader.

In July 326 B.C., Alexander marched towards the river Jhelum with his huge army together with 5000 soldiers contributed by Ambhi. The river was in flood and across it the king Porus was present with his vast army and warlike elephants. In view of the swollen river and the heavy strength of the forces of Porus, Alexander shifted the position of his troops from place to place everyday in order to camouflage Porus. He also dispatched several units of his army into different directions to find out a spot where from the river could be crossed.

From the placid movement of the enemy troops on the river bank, Porus could form no idea as to when, where and how the attack would be delivered. Moreover, Alexander had already made an announcement that he would not be crossing the river until the flood water had receded. Thus while Porus was kept guessing, Alexander on one rainy and stormy night took with him a small force consisting of archers, horsemen and some infantrymen and went 18 miles upstream the spot where his army had encamped. This place was full of thick shrubs making it convenient for his soldiers to cross the river without getting noticed by the enemy. Alexander let the rest of his army remain behind in the camp.


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