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Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of Rajasthan
Geography of Rajasthan
Art, Culture and Heritage of Rajasthan
Polity and Administration of Rajasthan
Economy of Rajasthan
The Raja Saheb of Mainpuri, Head of all
1. Songara Chauhan:
Kuldevi is Chandi Devi. They are descended from the Rajas of Jalore, and had
one branch, viz. Bhadoria
2. Khichi Chauhan:
Kuldevi is Bhagwati. They are descended from Raja Bhagwat rai, Raja Gugalsingh
and Raja Jaisingh of Khinchipur.
3. Hada Chauhan:
Kuldevi is Ashapura. They are descended from Raja Manik Rai of Sambhar, and
have the following branches, Udawat, Devra, Devre, Jaitawat and Chandrawat.
4. Bhadauria Chauhan:
Their Kingdom was Bhadawar and are said to be a branch of the Songara Chauhan.
5. Bachgoti: Their name is
derived from Vatsa Gotri and has two branches viz. Rajkumar and Rajwar.
The word Chauhan is the vernacular form of
the Sanskrit term Chahamana. While the earlier versions of Chandbardai work
Prithviraj Raso does not mention Chauhan as born from Agnikunda, the later
The 15th-century Hammira Mahakavya of
Nayachandra Suri & Jayanayak’s Prithviraj Vijay considers Chauhans as
Suryavanshi. Pandit Gaurishankar Ojha seconds this opinion.
Based on Bijloia Inscription (1170 CE), Dr.
Dasrath Sharma considers that early ancestor of Chauhan was born at
Ahichchhatrapura in the gotra of sage Vatsa. Ahichchhatrapura can be identified
with modern Nagaur.
Chahamanas probably started out as petty
rulers of Ahichchhatrapura. As the Chahamana territory expanded, the entire
region ruled by them came to be known as Sapadalaksha. In course of time
Chauhans formed ruling dynasties at various places.
Chauhan dynasties include:
- Chauhans of Shakambhari
- Chauhans of Ranthambore
- Chauhans of Jalore
Apart from these, there are other ruling
dynasties that claim Chauhan descent including:
Raja Guvaka I, 1st Raja of the Chahamana
Dynasty at Harsha from 809 to 836, also known as Govindraj I, his predecessors
were rulers at their capital of Purnatallakapura, initially he was the Samanta
of Raja Nagabhata II of Kannauj, who had married his sister Kalavati Devi; he
took part in a battle against the Muslims on behalf of Nagabhata II, and had
defeated Sultan Beg Varisa; at some time he probably declared himself
independent, and made his capital at Harsha, married and had issue. He lived
(c. 6th century CE)
as founder of Shakambhari branch of Chauhans around 551 CE
- According to a mythical account in Prithviraja
Vijaya, he received the Sambhar Salt Lake as a gift from a vidyadhara (a
(c. 684-709 CE); identified as the legendary Manik Rai by R. B. Singh
(c. 709-721 CE)
I (c. 721-734 CE), alias Jayaraja or Ajayapala
I (c. 734-759 CE)
I (c. 759-771 CE)
(c. 771-784 CE)
I (c. 784-809 CE)
I (c. 809-836 CE), alias Guvaka-I: Constructed Harshnath Temple in Sikar
II (c. 836-863 CE)
II (c. 863-890 CE), alias Guvaka II
(c. 890-917 CE)
(c. 917-944 CE)
(c. 944-971 CE)
II (c. 971-998 CE)
II (c. 998-1012 CE)
- Govinda-raja III (c. 1012-1026 CE)
II (c. 1026-1040 CE)
(c. 1040 CE)
(c. 1040-1065 CE)
- Durlabha-raja III (c. 1065-1070 CE), alias
III (c. 1070-1090 CE), alias Visala
I (c. 1090-1110 CE)
II (c. 1110-1135 CE): Moved the capital to Ajayameru (Ajmer) and Repulsed a
Ghaznavid attack, and also defeated the Paramara king Naravarman.
- Arno-raja (c. 1135-1150 CE), alias Ana: Defeated
Turkish invaders and Constructed Anasagar Lake in Ajmer.
- Jagad-deva (c. 1150 CE)
- Vigraha-raja IV (c. 1150-1164 CE), alias
Visala deva: Expanded the Chauhan territories, and captured Delhi from The
- Apara-gangeya (c. 1164-1165 CE)
- Prithvi-raja II (c. 1165-1169 CE)
- Someshvara (c. 1169-1178 CE)
- Prithvi-raja III (c. 1178-1192 CE): Better
known as Prithviraj Chauhan and Defeated Mohd. Ghori in first Battle of Tarain
Battles of Tarain: 1191 & 1192 :-The
Battles of Tarain, also known as the Battles of Taraori, were series of two
battles fought in 1191 and 1192 A.D between Prithviraj Chauhan III of
Ajmer and Ghurid ruler Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad or Mohammed Ghori. The battles were fought near the town
of Tarain (Taraori), near Thanesar in present-day Haryana.
extend the boundaries of his empire Muhammad Shahabuddin Ghori entered into
India in 1175 CE.
advanced to Gujarat in 1178 CE and advanced further by seizing Peshawar and
Lahore and he ended the rule of Ghaznavid in Punjab with the help of the ruler
a result of successive conquests the boundaries of Ghori’s kingdom extended to
the border of Prithviraj’s kingdom. In 1191, Muhammad Ghori attacked Sirhind or
Bathinda on northwestern frontier of Chauhan kingdom. Prithviraj’s along with
his army, led by vassal Govinda-Raj, rushed to the defense of the frontier, and
the two armies fought a battle at Tarain. This is how the First war of Tarain
wings of Turkic army was defeated and fled away while Muhammad Ghori could not
recover from the blow and fainted from the shock. The army surrendered and
Muhammad was made prisoner. Muhammad of Ghor begged for mercy and Prithviraj
1192, Ghori after returning to his capital Ghazni challenged Prithviraj at the
Second Battle of Tarain. Both Muhammad and Prithviraj increased their army’s
strength. Muhammad divided his huge troop into 5 parts and Prithviraj increased
army with the help of 150 Rajput kingdoms. Muhammad Ghori asked Prithviraj
Chauhan to either change his religion to Muslim or be prepared to be defeated
Chauhan cease-fired. Muhammad Ghori
deceived Prithviraj with a letter of acceptance of the treaty. The Rajput arm
mood. Suddenly Ghori`s army attacked Prithviraj`s army in the wee hours. At the
end of the day Muhammad Ghori was victorious.
hundred thousand Rajput soldiers died in the battle. The second battle of
Tarain opened the way for conquerors of India. Muhammad and his successors
established an Islamic Empire in India as the Sultanate of Delhi.
Muhammad Ghori: Muhammad
Ghazni established the Ghaznavid Empire with capital at Ghazni. After his
death, Ghazni was Oghuz Turks. Ghori defeated the Turks and laid foundation of
Ghurid Empire. After having made his position strong and secure at Ghazni,
Muhammad Ghori turned his attention to India.
In 1175, Muhammad Ghori captured Multan and
occupied whole of Sind in his subsequent expeditions. He turned south across
the desert towards Anhilwara (modern day Patan, in Gujarat). In 1178, suffered
defeat in the Battle of Kayadara (Gujarat), from ruler of Gujarat, Bhimdev
Solanki II (ruled 1178–1241). As a result, Ghori retreated back to Multan.
In 1186 he attacked Punjab, and defeated
Khusru Malik and added Malik’s empire to his dominions. Ghori returned back to
Ghanzi to help his brother, only to return in 1191.
first Battle of Tarain (1191): In 1191, Ghori proceeded towards India
through the Khyber Pass and captured a fortress of Bathinda.
This brought him on northwestern frontier of
Prithviraj Chauhans kingdom. Realizing their grave situation, the Hindu princes
of north India formed a confederacy under the command of Prithiviraj Chauhan.
Prithviraj’s army, led by his vassal prince Govind Tai marched on to Bathinda
and met his enemy at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori).
Ghori was wounded in personal battle with
Govind Tai and so Ghori’s army retreated, giving victory to Prithviraj Chauhan.
However, Prithviraj did not pursue Ghori’s army, not wanting to invade hostile
territory or misjudging Ghori’s ambition, instead electing to retake the fortress
Alternatively it has also been mentioned
that, Ghori’s army surrendered and Muhammad was made prisoner.
Muhammad of Ghor begged for mercy and
Prithviraj pardoned him. Hence, Prithviraj Chauhan won the First Battle of
Tarain, held in 1191.
After the First Battle:
Ghori return to Ghazni, and started
preparations to avenge the defeat. When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy to
Prithviraj to demand his submission, but the Chauhan ruler refused to comply.
Second Battle of Tarain (1192): In 1192, Ghori challenged Prithviraj and a
battle ensued at the same place (Tarain). Both Ghori and Prithviraj increased
their army’s strength. But Ghori changed his tactics as he did not want to
engage in melee combat with disciplined Rajput warriors. He divided his huge
troop into 5 parts and four units were sent to attack the Rajput flanks and
rear. Hoping for Rajput attack, Ghori ordered his fifth unit to fast retreat.
As Ghori expected, the Rajput’s charged the fleeing Ghurid unit. The Ghurids
then sent a fresh cavalry unit of 12,000 and they managed to throw back the
Rajput advance. Muhammad Ghori won the second Battle of Tarain.
Regarding, fate of Prthiviraj after second
battle, two stories emerge.
- The first story says that Prthivraj Chauhan
was captured in the battle field and executed.
- The second story, the more famous one in
Rajasthan, is based on poem written by Prithviraj’s court poet Chandbardai. The
story says that Mohammad Ghori attacked Prithviraj Chauhan unfairly at night,
defeated his armies and captured him. Later Chauhan was taken to Ghor and
presented in the court. Ghori ordered Prithvi to lower his eyes to which
Prithvi retorted that the eyelids of Rajputs are lowered only on his death.
Feeling insulted, Ghori blinded the Rajput prince.
- Chandbardai entered the court of Mahmud of
Ghori in a disguise. Chand Bardai told Ghori that Prithviraj was a very skilled
archer, and he could take aim based only on sound, and did not even need to
look at his target. Ghori disdained to believe this and asked for the display.
When Prithviraj was given a bow and arrows
into his hand and asked to take aim. Sighting opportunity, Chandbardai recited
in a poetic stanza the location where Ghori sat. The stanza is: “Char
bans, Chaubis Gaj, angul ashta Praman, Ta Upar sultan hai, Chuke mat
Chauhan.” (Four measures ahead of you and twenty four yards away as
measured with eight finger measurement, is seated the Sultan. Do not miss him
- Getting the direction and location Prithviraj
shot his arrow through Ghori and killed him.
of Second Battle of Tarain on India: The second battle of Tarain was a decisive
battle. It was a major disaster for the Rajputs and their political prestige
suffered a serious setback. In 1193, Ghori’s general Qutub-Din Aibak took over
Ajmer and soon established Ghurid control in northern and central India. Son of
Prithviraj was moved to Ranthambore (laid foundation of Chauhan kingdom there).
Further, in 1194, Battle of Chandwar took place, in which Aibak defeated
Gahadavala ruler Jayachandra. In conlusion, the Battles of Tarain and Chandwar
laid the foundation for establishment of Turkish rule in India.
Bakhtiyar Khilji extended the domain of
empire to Bihar destroying Universities of Nalanda & Vikramsila in the
process. Later in 1202, his army completed the occupation of Hindustan by
taking the province of Bengal.
Causes for the failure of Hindu kingdoms: The
most important cause for the downfall of Hindu Kingdoms was that the lack
unity. They were divided by factions and Rajput Kingdoms were engaged in
eternal mutual conflicts. It was the result of these conflicts that Jai Chandra
did not help, Prithvi Raj Chauhan in putting up a united front against
Secondly, the military methods of Indian
Kingdoms were also out of date and inferior to those of Muslims. Indians
continued to rely on elephants while the Muslims possessed quick-moving
cavalry. More importantly, Ghori had spent the time carefully planning his
campaign and his tactics proved a major winner in war.
1. Govinda-raja IV (c. 1192 CE): Banished
by Hari-raja for accepting Muslim suzerainty and established the Chauhan branch
2. Hari-raja (c. 1193-1194 CE): Hewas a king from the Shakambhari Chahamana dynasty of north-western India.
After the Ghurid invaders defeated his brother Prithviraja III in 1192 CE, he
dethroned his nephew Govindaraja IV, who had been appointed as a vassal ruler
by the Ghurids. He ruled a part of his ancestral kingdom (in present-day
Rajasthan) for a brief period, before being defeated by the Ghurids in 1194 CE.
Hariraja was a son of the Chahamana king Someshvara and Queen Karpura
Devi. He and his elder brother Prithviraja III were born in Gujarat, where
their father Someshvara was brought up at the Chalukya court by his maternal
relatives. Prithviraja ascended the Chahamana throne after Someshvara death,
but his reign ended in 1192 CE with a Ghurid conquest of the kingdom. The
Ghurids appointed Prithviraj’s son Govindaraja IV as a vassal ruler in return
for a heavy tribute.
The Chauhan lost Ranthambore as a result of
defeat of Prithviraja III in battle of Tarain 1192. By Mahmud of Ghori But,
Prithviraj’s son Govindaraja IV accepted the Ghurid suzerainty, and ruled
Ranthambore as his vassal.
of Prthvi Raja Chauhan III
- Balhana-deva or Balhan
- Prahlada or Prahlad,
- Viranarayana or Vir Narayan,
- Vagabhata, son of Balhana;
as Bahar Deo in bardic chronicles
- Jaitra-simha or Jaitra Singh
- Hammira-deva or Hammir Dev
In 1299, he defeated Allauddin Khilji’s army
led by Ulugh Khan & Nusrat Khan.
- In 1301, Allauddin Khilji again invaded his
kingdom, which resulted in his defeat and death.
Chauhans of Ranthambore and Delhi Sultans: After the subjugation
of Chauhan kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi by Shihabuddin and his lieutenant
Qutbuddin Aibak, Prithviraja Chauhans son and successor, Govindaraja was
appointed Muslim nominee on the ancestral throne. Govindaraja rule over Ajmer
was not favoured by Hariraja, probably due to his acting as a Muslim vassal and
as a result, repeated attempts were made by Prithviraj’s brother Hariraja to
dislodge Govindaraja. Hariraja was apparently dissatisfied with the Muslim rule
and of his nephew acting as their nominee he attacked Govindaraja and succeeded
in driving him away from Ajmer. However, due to timely intervention of
Qutbuddin, Hariraja was re-installed on the throne of Ajmer.
- Hariraja made another attempt by sending
Jatwan (Jaitra – perhaps his general) towards Delhi. The second attempt to
failed and after some resistance, Hariraja was obliged to take shelter inside
the fortress, which being hard pressed by the Delhi forces, fell and
consequently Hariraja immolated himself.
- By the close of 12th century, Govindaraja as
a result of serious attacks by Hariraja, vacated his ancestral place and
established himself at Ranthambhor. It is clear from all Muslims and Rajputs
accounts that Hariraja succeeded in depriving Govindaraja of the territory of
Ajmer whereupon the latter carved out an independent kingdom.
- The final battle was fought near the foot of
Mt. Abu between Rai Vallahanadeva and Dharavarsha, the Paramara feudatories of
Bhima II of Gujarat. Qutbuddin strategy and farsightedness won the day in
battle and the Rajputs forces were completely routed. After the victory, Aibak
marched unopposed to Narhwala, which too was completely sacked. The repeated
attempts on the part of the Chauhans during the early years of establishment of
Delhi Sultanate, to regain their lost territories failed not only due to their
reliance on numerical strength of forces, rather than skill, fighting strength
and methods of warfare, but also because of their energies being exhausted
against the neighboring kingdoms, notably, the Chalukyas, Chandellas and
- In a short span of about six years Aibak thus
led successful invasions into most of the Rajput territories. However, due to
his policy of non-annexation, authority over the conquered Rajput states was a
superficial one – His distant and nominal control could hardly bring any
significant change in the Rajput ruling order and much went on as usual.
of Jalore: Prathihar king VatsaRaja was the ruler of
Jalore during 8th century. Towards the end of 12th Century, Parmars ruled here.
Historians believe that the Jalore fort was built by Parmar rulers. It is known
from a stone inscription of 1238 A.D. of fort that Parmar King Biral’s-queen
Maludevi Powered Gold wins on Sindhu King.
Nadole king, Arhan’s, youngest son Kirtipala
started Chouhan tradition in Jalore. The Chauhan lineage of Jalore is as under:
- Kirtipala (c. 1160-1182 CE)
- Samara-Simha (c. 1182-1204 CE)
- Udaya-Simha (c. 1204-1257 CE)
- Chachiga-deva (c. 1257-1282 CE)
- Samanta-Simha (c. 1282-1305 CE)
- Kanhada-deva (c. 1292-1311 CE)
Kanha-Prabhandha: Epic elaborating war between Kanha Dev & Alaudin Khilji.
- Rathore king Rao Maldev ruled the fort of
Jalore in 15th Century.
Akbar’s rule, Abdul Rahim Khan Khana took it infinitely from Gazni Khan.
- Jahangir built the walls of the fort.
- After the death of Aurangzeb it permanently
became a part of Jodhpur.
kingdom of Jalore was one of the important possessions of the Chauhans. It
appears that after the attack of Qutbuddin on Nadol in 1197 A.D., the Chauhans
under Kirtipala migrated towards Jalore, where the latter succeeded in
establishing a new kingdom of Jalore. From its foundation by Kirtipala up to
its last ruler Kanhadadera, is appears predominantly in the history of
Rajasthan. Many of its princes had to contest with the Sultans of Delhi in a
bid to retain possession of this small kingdom. Like the kingdom of Ranthambhor
it saw its rise and fall during the period of Delhi Sultanate. The kingdom
founded by Kirtipala was successfully retained by his successors, Samar Simha
Simla and Udaya Simha. The latter is credited with having taken possession of
several adjoining territories (in possession of the Chalukyas and the
- The increasing power of the Jalore Chauhans,
ultimately brought Udaya Simha and Iltutmish face to face in the formers’
- According to Tajul Maasir, the contemporary
Persian account, Udaya Simha took shelter in the forests and after being hard
pressed sued for peace.
- The terms included the offer of one hundred
camels and 20 horses, for being restored to his fortress. It may thus be safely
assumed that Jalore campaign did not yield the desired result, probably because
of its geographical position.
- Though rulers apparently accepted the
overlordship of the Sultan, the kingdom was never brought under complete
subjugation. Within five years, when Iltutmish invaded the Guhilot of Mewar,
Udaya Simla acted in league with the Gujarat and Marwar princess and the Sultan
had to retreat without an encounter.
- The traditional as it was, however, only
under Sultan Alauddin that the fortress was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate.