First Battle of Tarain [1191]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 8, 2023, 15:44

Also known as the Battle of Tarain or Taraori, occurred in 1191. The actions ultimately concluded in establishing Islamic sovereignty in North India. The fights were fought by Chauhan Rajput, ruler of Ajmer and Delhi-Prithviraj III from India and the Turkish leader Muizz al-Dn Muhammad ibn Sm of Ghr and the.

The first battle took place in the Karnal district of modern-day Haryana, 70 miles north of Delhi, in Karnal and Thanesar. The Rajput armies were victorious in the First Battle of Tarain, but a year post, the Turkish leader Muhummad requited his defeat in the second battle of Tarain.

Circumstances that led to the First Battle of Tarain

During the 12th century, the Ghazni dynasty collapsed. Soon after that, numerous clans battled for the kingdom's command, leading to a power struggle. Of these, the clan that triumphed and had successfully sacked Ghazni, the ancient capital, by 1149 was the Ghurid empire.

The kingdom was in command of two brothers, Mu'izz-al-Din (more commonly known as Muhammad Ghori ) and Ghiyas al-Din. They executed an expansion campaign that included most of today's Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Post this, the brothers set their sights on spreading their supremacy towards the East and into India.

At that time, the northern part of India used to be a conglomeration of weak states. Prithviraj Chauhan's Rajput Chahamanas covering Ajmer and Delhi, Gujarat's Chalukya dynasty based in the Gujarat Area, and Jaichandra's Solanki dynasty Kanauj were the powerful dynasties.

Muhammed Ghori conveyed a messenger to the court of Prithvi Raj Chauhan first to reach a consensus. Accepting Islam as a religion and the Ghurids' suzerainty were the compulsory choices to abide by. Prithvi Raj III refused to make these choices.

During the Arab and Turkish invasions of India, the First Battle of Tarain was one of many. In 1178, the Chalukya throne was charged by Muhammed Ghori's army undauntingly despite the wars. The final remnants of the Ghaznavids in Lahore and Multan prevented the direct road to Delhi.

After facing massive fatalities, the Chalukya army badly defeated the Ghurid troops, who did not have a choice but to flee. In 1186, Muhammad Ghori, undeterred by losses, bolstered his troops and occupied the last battling Ghaznavids, where he took control of Lahore. Post this, Muhammad Ghori had a direct pathway to strike Prithvi Raj Chauhan's kingdom, which would historically be known as the First Battle of Tarain.

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Important Episodes in First Battle of Tarain

The First Battle of Tarain started as Muhammad Ghori led his troops inside India and took Bathinda, the country's most important fort. The army of Delhi retaliated after the defeat of Bathinda.

Prithviraj Chauhan gathered his forces and led Muhammad Ghori's army into combat. Ghurid archers launched a provoking battle on the Rajput emergence, scattering arrows across it. Prithvi Raj Chauhan quickly retaliated with a full-throttle assault that caught the Ghurids' unpreparedness. They were unaccustomed to the Rajput battle style, which championed close-quarter fighting.

To their credit, the Ghurid army held out against many warriors, but the Rajput clan began to overwhelm the Ghurid flank. Muhammad Ghori understood that close combat benefitted the Rajputs considerably, giving them the winning advantage in the First Battle of Tarain. Muhammad's forces dispersed and retreated, unable to withstand the pressure applied to their wing.

Results of the First Battle of Tarain

The Ghurids' morale in the First Battle of Tarain was further shattered when they saw their commander flee from the battle, and they fled. Before Prithviraj Chauhan switched his focus to laying claim to the fort at Bathinda, which fell in 1192, the Rajput army followed the Ghurids for over 40 kilometres.

The Ghurid invasion into India would not stop there. After being acquainted with his foes' powers and flaws, Muhammad Ghori would come back and be wary of underestimating his rivals in the First Battle of Tarain.

In the First Battle of Tarain, the Turkish forces of Ghurid were defeated by Prithviraj Chauhan's forces. However, the First Battle of Tarain was not the end of the invasions as the second battle of Tarain would demonstrate Prithvi Raj Chauhan's inability to challenge and battle his rival while also consolidating his frontiers and disastrous outcomes for Indian history.

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FAQs on First Battle of Tarain

Q.1. When was the First Battle of Tarain fought?

The First Battle of Tarain was fought in 1191.

Q.2. Who fought the First Battle of Tarain?

The First Battle of Tarain was battled between the Turkish leader Muhammad Ghori and Rajput forces led by Prithviraj Chauhan.

Q.3. Where did the First Battle of Tarain occur?

The First Battle of Tarain took place in Karnal and Thanesar, 70 miles north of Delhi, in the Karnal district of modern-day Haryana, India.

Q.4. Which main event triggered the First Battle of Tarain?

The possession of the Bhatinda Fort by Muhammad Ghori set off the First Battle of Tarain.

Q.5. Keeping the First Battle of Tarain in mind, who won the second battle of Tarain?

Turkish leader Muhammad Ghori avenged his defeat after a year of the First Battle of Tarain in the second battle of Tarain.