Prithviraj Chauhan was an Indian King who ruled Sapadalaksha, in Modern-day north-western India. He was the king who belonged to the Chahamana dynasty, also known as the Chauhan dynasty. Prithviraj Chauhan was popularly known as Rai Pithora in the folk legends
Prithviraj Chauhan kingdom expanded in modern-day states of Rajasthan, Delhi, and Haryana. It also included some parts of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The capital of Prithviraj Chauhan’s kingdom was located at Ajayameru, whose modern-day name is Ajmer.
Prithviraj Chauhan drove back the early attacks of Muhammad of Ghuri, who happens to be the ruler of the Muslim dynasty, called Ghurid.
Early Life and Administration
Prithviraj Chauhan was the son of Chahamana King Someshvara and Queen Karpuradevi.
Prithviraj was born in Gujarat. His father, King Someshvara was brought up at the court of Chalukyas, who were the then rulers of Gujarat.
Although the birth year of Prithviraj Chauhan is not mentioned confirm, Dasharatha Sharma, an Indian Indologist, calculated the birth year of him, which was 1166 CE, based on the astrological planetary positions during his birth.
Prithviraj moved to Ajmer from Gujarat, where his Father was crowned as the King of the Chahamana dynasty.
When Prithviraj was only 11 years old, his father died in 1177 CE. Upon the demise of his father, Prithviraj ascended the throne when he was a minor, and his mother was the regent of the Kingdom.
The biographies of Prithviraj tell that he was well educated. As mentioned in Prithviraj Vijaya, a Sanskrit poem based on the life of King Prithviraj, he had mastered six languages. Accordingly, the Indian Chahamana King was well-versed in a number of subjects, such as mathematics, history, military, painting, etc. More particularly, he was an expert in archery.
Ministers of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan
Kadambavasa was the chief minister of the Kingdom during this period. He was an able administrator and was highly devoted to his King Prithviraj. He succeeded in many military campaigns for his king.
Bhuvanaikamalla was another important minister at the King’s court. He was the paternal uncle of Prithviraj Chauhan’s Mother. As stated in Prithviraj Vijaya, the minister was a determined general of the King, who served his King as Garuda serves Vishnu.
Great Poets in the Darbar of Chauhan
The Chahamana King was fond of poetry and other cultural things, as a result, he had a ministry of Pandits, known as scholars, and poets. Padmanabha was in charge of them.
Prithviraj Chauhan’s royal court consisted of many poets and scholars, some of them were,
- Chand Bardai
- Jayanaka, writer of Prithviraj Vijaya.
- Vidyapati Gauda.
- Vagisvara Janardana.
King Prithviraj had conflicts with many neighbouring Indian Kingdoms. The rivals of the King include Nagarjuna, Bhadanakas, Chandelas of Jejakabhukti, Chalukyas of Gujarat, Paramaras of Abu, Gahadavalas of Kannauj. However, the King’s main rival was Muhammad of Ghuri.
War with the Ghurid Dynasty
The predecessors of King Prithviraj had continuous conflicts with the Muslim dynasties as they had conquered many north-western areas of the Indian subcontinent.
Muhammad of Ghuri, the ruler of the Ghurid dynasty, had conquered many territories, and eventually expanded his Empire. He conquered Peshawar, Sindh, and Punjab, which was located to the west of Chahamana Kingdom. Muhammad of Ghuri made his attempts of expanding his Empire eastwards, as a result, he came into conflict with Prithviraj Chauhan.
According to Medieval writers, two battles were fought between the Ghurid dynasty and King Prithviraj.
The first battle was fought at Tarain between the two rivals. Muhammad of Ghuri first captured Tabarhindah. When Prithviraj learned this, he marched towards Muhammad of Ghuri with a motive to attack him. Both the forces encountered at Tarain, in which Prithviraj and his army emerged victorious, while Muhammad of Ghuri was injured and forced to retreat.
The Second battle was also fought at Tarain. King Prithviraj, who was on the victorious side, treated the first battle as a frontier fight. As a result, he made little preparations in case there emerged another battle with the Ghurids. Muhammad Ghuri, on the other hand, decided to avenge his defeat and return with full preparations. He gathered an army of about 1,20,000 and attacked the Chahamana Kingdom.
At dawn, the Chahamana camp was attacked by four divisions of the Ghurid army.
Thus, Muhammad of Ghuri attacked the Chahamana forces and defeated them.
As a result, Muhammad of Ghuri conquered Ajmer, and killed several defenders and destroyed the temples within the city, thus avenging his defeat.
Revenge of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan
Muhammad of Ghor took Prithviraj Chauhan along with him to his kingdom Ghaur and he made him there blind. Prithviraj Chauhan was well known as a king who never gives up. So he made a plan to kill Muhammad of Ghor.
He persuaded Muhammad of Ghor to demonstrate his archery skills. He did this with the help of his poet friend Chand Bardai who spread grapevine across Muhammad of Ghor’s kingdom that even if the great Prithviraj Chauhan is blind he still can shot arrows perfectly on the target.
Muhammad of Ghor thought this rumours as foolishness but still, he wanted to test his skills. The day came and Prithviraj was well set to hit the target, But, the target was not any random thing or fruit, it was Muhammad of Ghor himself. However, Muhammad of Ghor was not aware of this.
Chand Bardai was present in the open darbar of Muhammad of Ghor. The plan was like this that Chand Bardai would sing a song which would describe where exactly Muhammad of Ghor was sitting.
“Char bans, chaubis gaj, angul ashta praman, ta upar sultan hai, chuke mat Chauhan”– Sung by Chand Bardai
The above song indicated the exact direction where Muhammad of Ghor was sitting. Prithviraj Chauhan pulled the arrow with full zeal and set free it in the exact direction of the Sultan. The arrow hit the heart of the Muhammad of Ghor which lead to his death on the spot. And in this way, the great and brave Prithviraj Chauhan took his revenge for India.
After killing Muhammad of Ghor, Prithviraj Chauhan and his friend Chand Bardai stabbed each other on the spot. Such was their friendship that they did not even hesitate to die for each other.
There are various books written on Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan. However, the great king Prithviraj Chauhan is not only limited to history books but a movie is also going to get released based on him in Diwali of 2020. In this movie, Akshay Kumar is going to play the lead role of Prithviraj Chauhan and the biopic is named as “Prithviraj”