Statue of Prithviraj Chauhan at Ajmer
|King of Ajmer and Delhi|
|Predecessor||Anangpal Tomar II|
|Successor||Muhammad of Ghor|
|Died||1192 (aged 43)
Rai Pithora, commonly known as Prithviraj Chauhan (1149–1192 CE), was a Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.
Prithviraj Chauhan was the last independent Hindu king, before Hemu, to sit upon the throne of Delhi. He succeeded to the throne in 1169 CE at the age of 20, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi which he received from his maternal grandfather, Arkpal or Anangpal III of the Tomara dynasty in Delhi. He controlled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana, and unified the Rajputs against Turkic invasions. His elopement in 1175 with Samyukta (Sanyogita), the daughter of Jai Chandra Rathod, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, is a popular romantic tale in India, and is one of the subjects of the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem composed by Chauhan's court poet and friend, Chand Bardai.
Chauhan defeated Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191. Ghauri attacked for a second time the following year, whereupon Chauhan was defeated, captured at the Second Battle of Tarain (1192) and executed.
First Battle of Tarain, 1191
In 1191, Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori captured the fortress of Bhatinda in East Punjab, leaving a garrison of 1200 men, which was located on the frontier of Prithiviraj Chauhan's domains. Prithviraj marched to Bhatinda and met his enemy at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori) near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiated battle by attacking with cavalry who launched arrows at the Rajput center. The forces of Prithviraj counter-attacked from three sides and dominated the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into a withdrawal. Meanwhile, Mu'izz al-Din was wounded in personal combat with Prithviraj's brother, Govind Tai. Prithviraj succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards Hindustan in the first battle of Tarain. He did not pursue Ghori's army either not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori's ambition, instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.
Second Battle of Tarain, 1192
In 1192, Ghori reassembled an army of 120,000 men and returned to challenge Chauhan at the Second Battle of Tarain. When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy to demand surrender but Chauhan refused to comply. Chauhan then appealed to his fellow Rajput rulers and the aristocracy to come to his aid against Ghori.
Chauhan assembled a very large army with the aid of approximately 150 Rajput rulers and aristocrats. According to the Persian historian Firishta, it consisted of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 horsemen, and considerable infantry. The army was larger than that of Ghori. The armies met in Tarain, where Ghori delivered an ultimatum to Chauhan that he convert to Islam or be defeated. Chauhan countered with an offer that Ghori should consider a truce and be allowed to retreat with his army. Ghori decided to attack.
Ghori divided his troops into five parts and attacked in the early morning hours, sending waves of mounted archers. They retreated as the Chauhan elephant phalanx advanced. Ghori deployed four parts to attack the Rajputs on four sides, keeping a fifth part of his army in reserve. General Khande Rao of the Chauhan forces was killed. At dusk, Ghori himself led a force of 12,000 heavily armored horsemen to the centre of the Rajput line, which collapsed into confusion. Chauhan attempted to escape but was captured. The Rajput army broke ranks and fled, thereby conceding victory to Ghori. Chauhan was put to death.
Prithviraj Raso, a folkloric poem written by Chand Bardai, says that the death of Ghori (also referred to as Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad) was caused by Prithviraj with the help of Chadravardai and that afterwards they killed each other,  which is not borne out by historical documents.
- Encyclopædia Britannica
- A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 263.
- Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206-1526), Part 1, (Har-Anand Publications, 2006), 25.
- Barua, Pradeep (2005). The State at War in South Asia. University of Nebraska Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780803213449.
- ‘Prithviraj grave in Afghanistan’(Archived), (Original)
- Prithviraj Chauhan relics transfer sought
- Prithviraj, a valorous hero par excellence, has been depicted in the lofty style which has been a source of inspiration to and influence on the North-Indian people. Krishnadatt Paliwal (1988) "Epic (Hindi)" In Datta, Amaresh (1988) The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature: Volume Two: Devraj to Jyoti, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, India, page 1178, ISBN 81-260-1194-7
- Kaviraj Syamaldas (1886) "The Antiquity, Authenticity and Genuineness of the epic called the Prithviraj Rasa and commonly ascribed to Chand Bardai" Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 55, pt.1,