Legendary Life of Prithviraj Chauan

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Prithviraj Chauhan

The name Prithviraj Chauhan is not new to any one of us. The 12th-century king, Prithviraj Chauhan (1166 CE to 1192 CE), is among the most well-known of Indian history. Tales of his incredibly daring battles, a love affair with princess Sanyogita and the war with Mohammed Ghori, Chauhan’s life had always been full of adventures and amazements. His stories had inspired many TV shows, Bollywood movies, dramas, and popular literature. And all such tales are further inspired by the poem Prithviraj Rasu! It is a Brajbhasha epic poem about the life of this legend! So, let’s dwell in his life and discover some of the most mysterious, amazing and unknown tales of the great Indian ruler- Prithviraj Chauhan.

Gems of Prithviraj Chauhan!

नैनन निरषि सुष पाय सुक, यह सुदिन्न मूरति रचिय।

उमा प्रसाद हर हेरियत, मिलहि राज प्रथिराज जिय॥

A phrase from the famous poem ‘Prithviraj Rasu’ written by Chand Bardai explains that “Like the parrot gets happiness by looking at those nuns, who have such a strong body composition. Prithviraj always has a secret like Shankar who has a charming image, so, just like Shankar the kingdom of Prithviraj also stays forever!”

Prithviraj Chauhan was born around 1168 and was the son of King Someshwara Chauhan and his wife Karpuravalli. He belonged to the Rajput Chauhan dynasty and later became the ruler of a kingdom in north India. The Chauhans were believed to trace their origins from the rulers of Sapadlaksh province. Many legends also say that Ajmer was founded by their ancestor Ajaipal Chauhan in the early sixth century! According to these accounts, Prithviraj ascended the throne in c. 1178 CE at the tender age of 11 after the death of his father. Legends and history state that his kingdom was expanded even beyond Thanesar and Jahazpur. His chief minister was Kadambavasa during that time, who helped the king win many battles. The first-ever recorded victory of Prithviraj Chauhan was from Nagarjuna, son of his uncle Vigraharaja. But the only legendary battle of this great king was with Mohammed Ghori!

Muhammad Ghori was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 1173 to 1202 and as the sole ruler from 1202 to 1206. He was the biggest enemy of Prithviraj Chauhan. Apparently, the Prithviraj army had defeated Ghori’s, he let the Afghan go despite being warned not to- he did this 16 times! Prithviraj won over Ghori almost 16 times but didn’t kill him. Afghan invader returned once again, the 17th time. Prithviraj sent him the letter warning about what happened last time, and Ghori surprisingly took back his troops. But it was all just a part of a plot set by Mohammed Ghori. Knowing that Rajput doesn’t attack in the night, Ghori attacked in the early hours, taking everyone at surprise. Unfortunately, Prithviraj was defeated this time but it was definitely a heroic death. This battle today had come to be known as the Second Battle of Tarain.

Prithviraj Chauhan’s love affair with Sanyogita!

Prithviraj Chauhan

According to Prithviraj Rasu, the kind gained widespread recognition for his bravery and chivalry. Soon the tales of his ultimate victories spread across. Sanyogita who was the daughter of Jai Chandra, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, fell in love by jus hearing about his legends. She is said to be deeply fallen in love with Prithviraj Chauhan and doesn’t desire for any other man. On the other hand, Prithviraj too was mesmerized by hearing about the stories of Snayogita’s beauty. It is believed that both fell in love when a painter from Prithviraj’s court, Panna Ray, visited Kannauj and showed his painting of the king to the princess. The same painter painted Sanyogita’s portrait and showed it to Prithviraj. Interestingly, both of them haven’t seen each other in reality all this time.

Unfortunately, before their love could dwell, Prithviraj and Sabyogita’s father became enemies due to their kingdom rivalry. Jaichand decided to do Rajsuya Yagya, but Prithviraj refused to accept his supremacy. This became the major reason behind Jaichand’s hatred for Prithviraj. To insult him, Jaichand organized a swayamvar for Sanyogita and didn’t invite Prithviraj. This wasn’t enough, further Jaichand even constructed a clay statue of Prithviraj and placed it as a doorman of the swayamvar. On the other hand, upon hearing about the swayamvar of Sanyogita, Prithviraj planned to elope the princess. On the auspicious day of Swayamvar, Sanyogita ignored all the kings and put the garland around the clay statue of Prithviraj. Surprisingly, Prithviraj was hiding behind that statue who then took Sanyogita by his arm and whisked away on a horse! 

It was the love tale of Indian medieval hero and heroine, Sanyogita’s and Prithviraj Chauhan love story is of great pride for our history. It is still remembered as a resonance among the folklore of marvelous Indian scriptures.

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