Battles of Tarain

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Battles of Tarain

The Battles of Tarain, also known as the Battles of Taraori, were fought in 1191 and 1192 near the town of Tarain (Taraori), near Thanesar in present-day Haryana, approximately 150 kilometres north of Delhi, India, between a Ghurid force led by Mu'izz al-Din and a Chauhan Rajput army led by Prithviraj Chauhan.[1]

The First Battle

1st Battle of Tarain
Date 1191
near Thanesar
Result Decisive Chauhan Rajput victory
Prithviraj retakes the fortress of Bhatinda
Ghurid Empire Rajput
Commanders and leaders
Mu'izz al-Din (WIA) Prithviraj Chauhan
unknown[2] unknown, reportedly outnumbered Mu'izz al-Din's army[2]

In 1191, Mu'izz al-Din captured the fortress of Bhatinda in East Punjab, which was on the frontier of Prithiviraj Chauhan's domains.[1] Prithviraj marched on to Bhatinda and met his enemy at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori) near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiates battle by attacking with cavalry who launch arrows at the Rajput center. The forces of Prithviraj counter-attack from three sides and dominate the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into a withdrawal. Meanwhile, Mu'izz al-Din is wounded in personal combat with Prithviraj's brother, Govind Tai.[1] The victory of Prithviraj was decisive, he inflicted the crushing defeat on Mu'izz ad-Din by completely routing his forces and succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards Hindustan in the first battle of Tarain. He did not pursue Ghori's army either not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori's ambition,[3] instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.[1]

The Second Battle

2nd Battle of Tarain
The last stan of Rajputs against Muhammadans.jpg
Date 1192
near Thanesar
Result Ghurid victory
Mu'izz al-Din takes Bihar province
Ghurid Empire Rajput
Commanders and leaders
Mu'izz al-Din Prithviraj Chauhan 
Modern estimates (12,000-20,000 Cavalry and 1,200 horse archers ).
300,000 (likely exaggeration)[3]
Modern estimates 100,000 soldiers (cavalry , infantry and War elephants).
Casualties and losses
Prithviraj Chauhan (executed)

On his return to Ghazni, Mu'izz al-Din made preparations to avenge his defeat. When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy to Prithviraj to demand his submission, but the Chauhan ruler refused to comply. Prithviraj saw through Mu'izz al-Din's stratagem and issued a fervent appeal to his fellow Rajput chiefs to come to his aid against the Muslim invader.

Size of the forces and generals

According to Firishta, the Rajput army consisted of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 cavalry and infantry, most likely a gross exaggeration.[3] Minhaj-i-Siraj, stated Mu'izz al-Din brought 120,000 fully armored men to battle.[3]


The battle occurred in the same field as the first one. Knowing the Rajputs were well-disciplined, the Ghurids did not want to engage in melee combat with them. Instead the Ghurids army was formed into five units, and four units were sent to attack the Rajput flanks and rear. The flanking attacks failed and the fighting continued. In hopes of causing a break in the Rajput lines, Mu'izz al-Din ordered his fifth unit to feign retreat. The Rajput's charged the fleeing Ghurid unit, as the Ghurids expected. The Ghurids then sent a fresh cavalry unit of 12,000 and they managed to throw back the Rajput advance. The remaining Ghurid forces then attack and the Rajputs flee in panic.[1] Prithviraj Chauhan abandons his elephant for a horse and tries to escape. But he is caught a few miles from the battlefield and promptly executed.[1]

The aftermath

Mu'izz al-Din barely won against Prithviraj, he followed up this victory by defeating Jayachandra in the Battle of Chandawar, eradicating Buddhism in that area.[1] Later in 1202, his army completes the occupation of Hindustan by taking the province of Bengal.[1]

The third battle of Tarain

Shamshuddin Iltutmish (1211-1236), the king of the Mamluk dynasty, also known as Slave dynasty, captured Taj al-Din Yildiz in a battle at Tarain (1216) and then executed him at Budaun in the same year.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 263.
  2. ^ a b Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, (Oxford University Press, 1999), 133.
  3. ^ a b c d e Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206-1526), (Har-Anand Publications, 2006), 25.
  4. ^ Mehta, J. L. (1900). Advanced Study In The History Of Medieval India.


  • Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206–1526), Har-Anand Publications, 2006.
  • Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, ABC-CLIO, 2010.
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