The first battle of Tarain was a battle of two completely opposite forces. One was looking for expansion, the other was protecting its motherland. One’s army was made up of experienced slave warriors, the others of braveheart volunteers. One side preferred raining arrows of death on his enemies, the other carried heavy sharp swords. The men of one side were short and light in nature making them great horse riders. On the other side were men well built and mostly taller than six feet, who rode elephants. This is the battle of Ghurids versus Chaunhans. This is the battle between Mohmmad Ghori and Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan.

The Ghurid dynasty came into existence after the death of Mohammad Ghazni. The Ghurids started by taking over the Ghaznavids. The Ghurid dynasty was led by two brothers, Ghiyath Al Mohammad and Mohammad Ghori. While Ghiyath looked to the west for expansion, Ghori started expanding towards the east, towards India. 

The trigger points of the first battle of tarain

In India, the Pratihara dynasty has fallen creating many smaller Rajputana kingdoms. Ajmer, Kannauj, and Solanki were the frontier kingdoms that guarded the heartland of India. Ajmer was under the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan. Prithviraj had earned himself a reputation of being a formidable warrior and an inspirational King. Hence, Ghori decided to attack the Solankis instead.

But before attacking the Solankis he sent an offer of peace to Prithviraj Chauhan. Ghori wanted a safe passage to Solanki and would share half of the kingdom with Prithviraj if he wins. But the offer also wanted Prithviraj to convert into a Muslim. Prithviraj denied the offer and Ghori was forced to take a longer route to the Solanki. This route was through the Thar desert. Ghori’s men were dehydrated and weak from so much travelling and hence faced a loss against the Solankis.

What happened during the first battle of tarain?

Ghori blamed Prithviraj for the defeat and swore vengeance. A few years later he reorganized an army of twenty thousand in the city of Lahore. From Lahore, they started marching towards the kingdom of Prithviraj Chauhan. Prithiviraj had foreseen this threat and had armed a fort at Bhatinda with some of his best generals. But Ghori and his men overthrew the watch on the fort. This action meant a declaration of war. And Prithviraj quickly called upon his subsidiaries to form an army.

Both armies started marching toward each other. And they met on the plain fields of Tarain. Ghori had an army of twenty thousand, consisting mostly of horse riders. On the other hand, Prithiviraj had an army of Fifty thousand, consisting of horse riders, elephant riders, and foot soldiers.

Ghori’s style of attack was known as flanking. In this strategy, horse riders quickly surround an incoming army and attack from all sides. This confuses and disorganizes the army and they lose. But Ghori has never seen the Rajputs fight on an open field. On the battle of Tarain, the Rajputs charged all in one. A massive force of fifty thousand men charged together giving no room for Ghori’s rider to flank them.

The centre of the Rajput army was led by Prithviraj’s highly trusted general Govind Rai. After overwhelming Ghori’s army with their numbers, Govind Rai moved toward Mohammad Ghori himself. Ghori was on his horse while Govind was on an elephant. In a battle of spears between the two, Ghori was injured badly and knocked off his horse. He was saved by his bodyguards and then fled to retreat. This retreat of their king came as a sign of defeat and Ghori’s men too ran off.

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