Second battle of Tarain (1192AD): Defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan

3 Dec 2022  Read 1030 Views

Wondering what if Prithviraj Chauhan had won the second battle against Muhammad Ghori? Then, would there have been another Islamic invasion in India? Or may be India’s demography would be different. After Mahmud of Ghazni (Ghaznavid empire), India did not face invaders for nearly 160 years! Then in 1191 CE a Turkish invader Muhammad Ghori attacked India. He was the ruler of Ghor, a small kingdom in Afghanistan. He is also famous for defeating Prithviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain, a battle fought near Tarain (modern Taraori in Haryana, India) in 1192AD between Ghurid army against the Rajput army. This battle is also considered as a major turning point in the history of Medieval India as it led to heavy destruction of Rajput powers in Northern India and establishment of Delhi Sultanate or dominance of Muslim presence in India. This article discusses the major events of second battle fo tarain, reasons behind Prithviraj Chauhan’s defeat, causes, aftermaths and many more. So let’s get started. 

What happened in the second Battle of Tarain?

After the defeat of Muhammad Ghori at the hands of Prithvi Raj Chauhan in the first battle of Tarain in 1191CE, Ghori returned to Ghazni. He publicly shamed and dismissed all the captains or commanders of his forces who showed cowardness at the first battle & desperately wanted to avenge his defeat. So, he started rebuilding his forces, emphasising firepower etc. In contrast, Prithviraj Chauhan, on the other hand, bragged about his victory and neglected to strengthen his borders. Yet Prithviraj did send proposals to neighbouring states to have a large army, just in case, Ghori makes a re-attempt to conquer.

  • In 1192, Muhammad Ghori returned to avenge his defeat with an army of 52,000 cavalries which was approximately half of the army of the Ghurid Army. 

  • When he reached Peshawar, he thought of reuniting with his dismissed captains and commanders, and they then joined. 

  • Ghurids knew that the Rajput forces were well-disciplined, so the Ghurids army was formed into five units, and four units were sent to attack the enemy flanks and rear. Muhammad Ghori recaptured the fort at Bathinda soon in a month from the Rajput forces. 

  • Once again, Muhammad Ghori, this time as well, sent a demand to Prithvi Raj Chauhan to accept him as a sovereign, but again, it was refused.

  • Prithvi Raj Chauhan met Muhammad Ghori once again. Still, the men in his army was below his expectation.

  • As per contemporary sources, Prithvi Raj Chauhans’ forces were numbered at 500,000 men and 3000 elephants, modern historians believe that 100,000 was the correct number with 300 elephants, Prithviraj Chauhan had; however, contemporary sources consider 500,000 men & 3000 elephants.

  • What was different in this second battle was that the Ghurid army marched out at dawn, carrying out a surprise raid in the Rajput’s camp. 

  • The Rajput side was highly unaware as they have always forbidden night- battles which led to the Ghurids setting up the second battle of Tarain. 

  • Ultimately, the Ghurid army was victorious, and Muhammad Ghori avenged his defeat in the first battle & defeated the Rajput army (Prithviraj Chauhan).

Why did Prithviraj Chauhan lose the second battle of Tarain?

The Second Battle of Tarian was fought in 1192 AD between Mohammed Ghori’s Ghurid army & Prithviraj Chauhan’s Rajput army. After his defeat in the first battle of Tarain a year earlier, Mohammad Ghori came back to avenge his loss. Prithviraj Chauhan lost the second battle of Tarain as he lost most of his Hindu allies like Jaichand, the ruler of Kanauj refused an alliance with him.

What happened after the second battle of Tarain?

After Tarain, Muhammad Ghori returned to Ghazni, (in present-day) Afghanistan and left his slave, general Qutbuddin Aibak, in charge of India.

  • After the second battle of Tarain in 1192, that is, from 1192 to 1194 CE, the Turks headed by Aibak ran areas of the upper doab without any opposition from the Gahadavalas dynasty of Kanauj.

  • In 1194 CE, Muhammad Ghori returned to India and crossed Jamuna with a force of 50,000 cavalries & headed towards Kanauj.

Battle of Chandawar: Who faced defeat in the Battle of Chandawar in 1194?

After Ghori returned, the battle of Chandawar was fought between Muhammad Ghori and Jaichandra (Gahadvala ruler of Banaras & Kannauj) wherein Jaichandra was defeated and killed in action. Ghori marched to Benaras and ravaged it as many temples in Benaras were destroyed, then conquered the forts of Bayana & Gwalior to guard the southern flank of Delhi. Later, his slave General Qutbuddin Aibak captured Mahoba, Kalinjar, and Khajuraho from the Chandelas & defeated the Solanki king, Bhima II of Gujarat, but could not annex the lands.

On the other hand, another of his slave general, Bakhtiyar Khalji, was appointed in charge of the places east of Benaras and sometimes raided into Bihar due to the power vacuum there. Ultimately, in 1204, he marched towards Nadia in Bengal where the Sena capital of Nabadwip was.

What happened to Prithviraj Chauhan after second battle?

The historical sources believe that Prithvi Raj Chauhan was captured & summarily executed. In contrast, other sources state that Prithviraj was taken to Ajmer’s capital, where Ghori planned to reinstate him as a Ghurid vassal. But, Prithviraj rebelled against Ghori and was killed for ‘treason’.

After all these theories, we know that Prithviraj Chauhan’s army was defeated in the second battle of Tarain, eventually subjugating the entire Gangetic plain in less than a decade under Ghurids. and reaching as far as Bengal. The second battle of Tarain was a very important event for Turkish and Arab invasions in India because although the Ghurid dynasty didn’t last for long but yet the Islamic culture or presence it brought ensured that it would be its permanent base. 

Aftermath of battles of Tarain

After both the Battles of Tarain, the Ghurid army captured the Hansi, Saraswati, and Samana forts. Later, they attacked and captured Ajmer. One belief is that Prithviraj was permitted to rule over Ajmer as a Ghurid subordinate for a while before being executed for conspiracy. The Tomar ruler of Delhi was also overthrown, and Delhi and eastern Rajasthan came under Ghurid rule.

Apart from Indian folklore, which described Ghori’s assassination by Prithviraj, the historical sources say that Prithviraj’s son moved to Ranthambore and founded a new Chauhan Dynasty. Ghori ultimately flew to Afghanistan and left behind Ghurid generals to attack and conquer neighbouring lands.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 137 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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