• Mon. May 20th, 2024

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Prithviraj Chauhan

As today marks the birth anniversary of the valiant warrior and king, Prithviraj Chauhan, let us take a moment to remember his bravery, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to his kingdom. Prithviraj Chauhan’s legacy has inspired generations, and his tales of heroism continue to live on even today.

Prithviraj Chauhan

 

INTRODUCTION

Prithviraj Chauhan, also known as Prithviraj III, was a prominent king of the Chauhan dynasty in the 12th century. He ruled over the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India. Born in 1168 CE in Ajmer, Rajasthan, he became the king at 20 after his father’s death. Prithviraj Chauhan is famous for his military skills and his battles against Muhammad Ghori, an invader from abroad.

Prithviraj Chauhan

Initially, Prithviraj won battles against Hindu kingdoms, including Chandela’s king, Paramardidev. He also defended against an attack by the Gauri ruler, Mohammad Gauri. However, in 1192, Gauri defeated Prithviraj in the Second Battle of Tarain and killed him soon after. This event is significant in the Islamic conquest of India and is described in various semi-legendary writings, such as the popular Prithviraj Raso, which portrays him as a Rajput king.

EARLY LIFE

Prithviraj Chauhan was born into the royal Chauhan dynasty. His father, King Someshwar, ruled in Gujarat, where Prithviraj and his younger brother Hariraj were born. After his father’s demise, Prithviraj moved from Gujarat to Ajmer, where he ascended to the throne as the Chauhan king after the passing of his brother, Prithviraj II. He assumed full control of his kingdom in 1180.

Prithviraj Chauhan is known for the construction of the Qila Rai Pithora fort in Delhi, now in ruins. According to the epic poem “Prithviraj Raso,” King Anangpal Tomar of Delhi granted the city to his son-in-law, Prithviraj, but Prithviraj lost it in his attempt to reclaim it. However, historical evidence suggests that Prithviraj’s uncle, Vigraharaja IV, played a crucial role in bringing Delhi under the Chauhan dynasty’s rule. It is worth mentioning that King Anangpal Tomar passed away before Prithviraj’s birth. Claims regarding Prithviraj marrying Anangpal Tomar’s daughter surface in later accounts.

WAR WITH MUHAMMAD GHORI

Prithviraj Chauhan and Ghori had two major battles. The first battle called the Battle of Tarain, happened in 1191 CE, where Prithviraj’s army defeated Ghori’s forces. However, in the second battle in 1192 CE, Ghori emerged victorious, captured Prithviraj, and ended his rule and the Chauhan dynasty’s reign in Delhi.

Prithviraj Chauhan
Muhammad Ghori

The Battle of Tarain occurred near Tarain, now in Haryana, India. Prithviraj’s well-prepared army, including skilled archers, successfully countered Ghori’s cavalry-based tactics and forced his army to retreat.

The second battle took place the following year. Having learned from his previous defeat, Ghori overcame Prithviraj’s defenses and emerged as the winner. Prithviraj was captured, marking the beginning of Ghori’s rule in Delhi.

Prithviraj Chauhan
Map from Dristi IAS

This battle is significant in Indian history as it marked the end of Hindu rule in northern India and the rise of Muslim dominance in the region.

DEATH

After being captured in the second battle of Tarain, Muhammad Ghori took Prithviraj Chauhan as a prisoner. Legend has it that Ghori ordered Prithviraj to display his archery skills, and when Prithviraj did so, he was treacherously blinded. Subsequently, Prithviraj was killed, either executed or tortured to death, along with his loyal companion and friend, Chand Bardai.

The epic poem Prithviraj Raso tells a fictional story where Ghori captured and blinded Prithviraj. According to the poem, poet Chand Bardai traveled to Ghazni, tricked Ghori, and helped Prithviraj kill him.

चार बांस चौबीस गज, अंगुल अष्ट प्रमाण, ता ऊपर सुल्तान है मत चूके चौहान.

However, this legend is not supported by historical evidence. Ghori continued to rule for several years after Prithviraj’s death.

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