Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The Chauhan was a clan of the Rajputs. They are said to have ruled from 700A.D upto 1200AD. The founder of this dynasty was Vasudeva.
Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the last hindu ruler,after him the Muslim kings could successfully invade India because of disunity among the Indian states. He belonged to the Chahamana dynasty and was born in 1168 to the royal family-king Someshwar and Karpuradevi after 10 years of long prayer. Someshwar was the king of Ajmer. He was put to death by his enemy king Bheemdev-the king of Gujarat. It was then; Prithvi succeeded the throne in 1179. Then he was just 13, a minor. His mother Karpuradevi was a very canny lady. She scrupulously and very sagaciously gave proper directions and guidance for the healthy functioning of the kingdom.
Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from the twin capital of Delhi and Ajmer. His kingdom included much of present day Indian states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. He defeated the Chandelas and conquered the territory of Bundelkhand. He extended his boundary by conquests and by ceaseless military campaigns.
Prithviraj Chauhan’s life can be called a chain of brave and glorious deeds which brought everyone under his awe. He brought Ajmer to a premier power which made other rulers to conspire against him. It brought ill-feelings between Jaichand-The Gahadvala king, who was also the father of the princess Sanyogita who was Prithviraj’s ladylove. Prithvi can also be called an epitome of kindness who would forgive his enemies on many occasions and set them free by generously granting them life instead of punishing them. He was very well known for his archery (shabd-bhedi baan vidya). He was a chivalrous and an extremely fearless king. To this date he is known as a legendary hero and the tales of his brave deeds are spread widely

His Family

Prithviraj Chauhan was a Rajput which means, “Raj-Putra”. It literally means, “Son of a king”. He belonged to a Kshatriya caste. His family can be studied right from the time of Anganpal-the king of Delhi (Pithoragarh). Anganpal had two daughters- Karpuradevi and Roopsundari. Karpuradevi was married to Someshwar-the king of Ajmer. Desirous for a child Someshwar and Karpuradevi conducted many severe prayers and rituals for 10 years long after which they were blessed with a son-Prithviraj Chauhan. They were also blessed with a daughter-Pratha, younger to Prithvi. Prithvi was a very affectionate son and a brother. Right from childhood he imbibed the rich values and culture followed by his family. He had a great reverence for his well-knit family. “Praan jaye, par vachan na jaye”-a hindi phrase which means-“I may lay down my life, but shall never go back on my words”, was the spirit of the Rajputs, and Prithviraj Chauhan lived up to it.

The City of Ajmer

South west of Jaipur, Ajmer is an oasis wrapped in the green hills. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. When Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties. Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims. It is a centre of culture and education, the British chose Ajmer for its prestigious Mayo College a school exclusively for Indian nobility. Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (11 km.), the abode of Lord Brahma, lying to its west with a temple and a picturesque lake. The Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct. /Nov.), devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
Ajaipal Chauhan founded Ajmer in the seventh century. He constructed a hill fort "Ajaimeur" or the invincible hill. The Chauhans ruled Ajmer till the 12th century when Prithviraj Chauhan lost Mohammed Ghauri. Thereafter it became a part of the sultanate of Delhi. Ajmer was also favourite residence for the great Mughals. One of the first contacts between the Mughal King Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe took place here in 1616. The Scindias took over the city in 1818 and then handed it over to the British and it became one of the only part of Rajasthan controlled directly by the East Indian Co.

Arhaidin Ka Jhonpra
Situated on the outskirts of Ajmer is Arhai-din-ka Jhonpra. It is considered to be the first Islamic structure to be built in India.

Tara Garh Fort
The fort was built by Ajaypal Chauhan in 1100 AD and gives a bird's eye view of the Ajmer city. It is also known as the Star Fort and is the first fort in India to be built on a hill. Ajaypal Chauhan originally named the fort as Ajai Meru as it was supposed to have become invincible.

Ana Sagar Lake
Located at a picturesque site to the north of Ajmer is Ana Sagar Lake, which was constructed by King Anaji, the grandfather of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Later, Shahjahan added the marble pavilion to the lake. Daulat Bagh Gardens, created by Jehangir are located next to the lake.

The Treasure Hunt

The Prince of Ajmer-Prithviraj Chauhan led a very luxurious life in his palace. He never even had a whiff of sorrows and pains but it was during the welfare inspection in his kingdom when he realized that there was a vehement need for greater richness for the happiness of his kingdom. He envisaged having a kingdom with utmost happiness and freeing from pains. This ardent need of the kingdom inspired him to go on a treasure hunt. There was a large chunk of treasure in a place far away but it was very difficult to achieve. Many great warriors and adventurers had been on the treasure hunt, but it was not an easy way, there was lot of trouble and risk involved. Prithvi courageously took it as a challenge. Being a responsible prince, he considered it to be his very duty to serve his kingdom not bothering for any risk even at the expense of his life. Prithvi made up his mind to the expedition of treasure hunt. His strength were his 4 friends-Sanjam, Punder, Arjun and Chand. They joined him with the same enthusiasm and willingness. All of them, together, were like the five fingers of a hand, wherein, even if one of them would be missing, a fist cannot be formed. Their bond was very high and could never be broken, ready to give up life for each other

The rule of the treasure was that it could be acquired by virtue of one’s righteousness. The pre-requisite to win the treasure was to search for four stones-one by one, each stone directing the way to treasure.
They started off with the treasure hunt without retarding any longer. They entered a village .It had been a long journey and not knowing which way to take further they took a halt in that village. That village was under the threat of a dacoit named-Malik. Every citizen of that village was suffering from his atrocities. Prithvi couldn’t withstand this injustice. To him the liberation of the villagers became his first priority .He encouraged every member of the village to shun the injustice. Prithvi with his friends and all the village members fought with the dacoit. It was a fight for the justice and they won it. Seeing his bravery and valour, a village member offered him the first stone which showed a map to the treasure. He had got it from his father who had also made an attempt in seeking the treasure but had failed on half the way. He was successful in achieving the first stone called-‘Paschim ka Pani’. Chand-the friend of Prithvi was a master of many languages. He could read the script on the stone which directed the way to the second stone called-‘Dakshin ki Hawa’ which was their next target.

There were many others too who had made an attempt to reach the treasure and there were yet many others who were making attempts to reach the treasure. One of them was the Prince of Chittor -Samar Singh. He was aware that the first stone (Paschim ka Pani ) was with Prithviraj Chauhan and made up his mind to be at the heels of Prithvi so that he could steal the first stone and cause hurdles on their way. Samar Singh wanted to be the only winner of the treasure. Prithvi and his friends were heading off on the way to the next stage; they stopped on the way and went to take rest in a cave. By an accident the mouth of the cave got closed by a huge rock. All their trials of pushing off the huge rock were unsuccessful. Samar Singh was following them and decided to help them to get the first stone (Paschim ka Pani). He let them out and named himself as Mitwa to conceal his identity. He said that he could show them a short cut route to the nearest village where they all wanted to go. Making a pretext of being their route guide, Mitwa tried stealing the stone (Paschim ka Pani), but Prithvi was clever enough to smell something fishy and catch Samar Singh red handed. Prithvi could guard the stone well without letting it go in wrong hands. However Samar Singh kept vigil on every act of Prithvi and was following him.

Prithvi and his friends reached a village. Inspite of there being a rat-race for the treasure, Prithvi gave the prior importance to humanity. He could not see the injustice which was being faced by the villagers; they sorted all the problems of the village. Impressed with his humanitarian approach an elderly person of the village who knew the location of the second stone (Dakshin ki Hawa) guided Prithvi. To achieve it one had to go in a maze and search for the stone and come out successfully. It was a very difficult process and the one who went in the maze never returned. Prithvi started off, but on the way some dacoits kidnapped Prithvi’s friends. The ransom was to hand over the second stone (Dakshin Ki Hawa) to the dacoits. To Prithvi, there was nothing more important than his friends. He hurried to get the stone. There was also Samar Singh and now they had to compete with each other in winning the stone. At the end the real worthy person-Prithvi won it. He rushed to free his friends. He freed them but by then his friends were brutally tortured by the dacoits. They were the best of friends but now they did not want to participate in the treasure hunt any more. They repelled from their target, left Prithvi all alone and started back for Ajmer. But Prithvi was an iron willed person and no hurdles could ever shake his determination. He proceeded with his mission with the 2 stones- Paschim Ka Pani and Dakshin Ka Hawa. Now that his friends had left him alone, he did not have Chand to read the script on the second stone (Dakshin Ki Hawa). There was a man named- Rounak Singh who had the knowledge of reading that script. Prithvi went in search of Rounak Singh. He met him and after a persuading for long, Rounak Singh helped Prithvi in reading the script. The script revealed that he was yet to search a third stone (Purab Ki Agni) and guided the way to it.

Prithvi learnt that the King of that village was a sadist and had forcibly married Rounak Singh’s daughter and was perpetually torturing her. Prithvi went in a disguise to the palace and freed Rounak Singh’s daughter. This is how; Prithvi took every opportunity to help the mankind which always listed his top priority.

Sanjam, Arjun, Punder and Chand were on their way to Ajmer but could not carry the burden of guilt of leaving Prithvi all alone when he actually needed them. They all made up their mind to go back and assist Prithvi. They went back, confessed and once again got united. Now they started off on their way to the third stone (Purab Ki Agni) with the same vigour.

They come across a lady named Jwala. Jwala had known of the heroic deeds which Prithvi showed in his mission and she considered him a worthy person of the treasure therefore she too joined them. Her only fear was a prediction that one of the treasure searchers would perish and die. She had a soft corner for them and wanted them to gain the treasure and serve their kingdom righteously. They had to pass through a desert where they had to face the dangerous sand storms. They faced it courageously but ran out of food and water. It was the hardest time but their unity gave them the strength. They faced every obstacle on their way and at last reached the third stone (Purab Ki Agni).Here there was an incessant fatal fire. Jwala was afraid that the prediction would come true that one of the treasure searchers would die, she was their well wisher, and therefore to save the others she deliberately put herself in the incessant fire and died. She was mortal but her help to them was immortal. It brought them all to an undying grief, their grief was more than the happiness of achieving the third stone (Purab Ki Agni) they were absolutely deterred and lost their balance, but they didn’t let Jwala’s sacrifice go in a vain, they went further to fulfill their aim which was Jwala’s earnest desire. Days passed by and one day Jwala resonated in Prithvi’s dream asking him for help. She said that her family was in a danger. The dream was very intense and he could not ignore it. He immediately went to her family and found out that Jwala’s sister was carried away by some scamp dacoits. Prithvi traced the dacoits and got Jwala’s sister released. In this way he showed his gratitude to Jwala.

Based on the directions given as per the script, now they were to cross a river. The boat in which they travelled was attacked by Samar Singh and dacoits for the treasure stones but they were defeated. Prithvi also saved the life of the other passengers on board in the boat. The third stone (Purab Ki Agni) conveyed that a girl by the name Mohini from Ongole village would be of a help in tracing the last stone. They searched for Mohini and she led them to the last stage. The last stone was enclosed in an idol and to get it, one had to drop in a river something which was as valuable as the treasure. They were beating their brains to determine what could be equally valuable as the treasure. The four friends thought it to be ‘life’ which is equally valuable to the treasure but Prithvi considered life to be more valuable than the treasure. They thought for long and at last Prithvi concluded that at that moment the three treasure stones-Paschim Ka Pani, Dakshin Ki Hawa and Purab Ki Agni, which he had were as valuable as the treasure. He threw all the three stones in a river. Now he was to break the idol for the fourth stone and thus he gained the fourth stone too. The fourth stone showed the direction of the place which had the huge reserve of treasure they craved for. They reached their destination and now their happiness knew no bounds. Their dream of bringing richness to their kingdom and serving them could be fulfilled. They were thoroughly rejoiced to find the unlimited treasure. But trouble always shadowed them, Samar Singh and the dacoits kept following them and they entered the treasure site. Dacoits didn’t want to share the treasure with Samar Singh and attacked him too. This was the time when Samar Singh realized his mistakes. The dacoits were collecting all the treasure just then the guardians of the treasure entered in and killed all the dacoits. Their duty was to guard the treasure and was to see to it that no wrong person acquired it. They considered Prithvi to be a worthy person and devolved the treasure to him. Samar Singh was guilty of his wrong doings and did not accept the treasure when Prithvi asked him to take half of the treasure.

Now Prithvi was the owner of the treasure. He took it to his kingdom to serve his kinsmen.
Thus the treasure hunt ended making Prithvi victorious.

Muhammad Ghuri

Muizz-ud-din Muhammad bin Sam, commonly known as Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri is one of the key persons who played a significant role in the establishment of Muslim rule in North India.

After his defeat in the first battle of Tarain in 1191 at the hands of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, ruler of Delhi and Ajmer, he spent a complete year preparing for war. He came back in 1192 and defeated Raj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain. He was the first Muslim ruler to conquer Delhi and establish a Muslim rule in India

Ghuri never considered himself anything but a general in his brother's army. After every victory he would send the best of the looted items to his elder brother. Muhammad Ghuri had no heirs and thus he treated his slaves as his sons. It is said that he trained thousands of Turkish slaves in the art of warfare and administration. Most of his slaves were given excellent education. During his reign many hardworking and intelligent slaves rose to positions of excellence. Once a courtier regretted that Sultan has no male heirs. Ghuri immediately replied, "Other monarchs may have one son, or two sons; I have thousands of sons. Namely my Turkish slaves who will be the heirs of my dominions, and who, after me, will take care to preserve my name in the Khutbah throughout these territories". Ghuri's prediction proved true when he was succeeded by a dynasty of Turkish Slaves.

Battle of Tarain

First battle of Tarain (1191 CE): Muhammad Ghori invaded Prithviraj's domains and laid siege to the fortress of Bhatinda in Punjab, which was at the frontier between the two kingdoms. Prithviraj's appeal for help from his father-in-law was scornfully rejected by the haughty Jaichandra. Undaunted, Prithviraj marched on Bhatinda and gave battle to the invaders at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori) near the town of Thanesar.

In face of the Rajput onslaught, the invading Muslim army broke ranks and fled, leaving their leader, Muhammad Ghori, a prisoner in Prithviraj's hands.Muhammad Ghori was brought in chains to Pithoragarh, Prithviraj's capital. He begged his captor for mercy and release. Prithviraj's ministers advised against pardoning the aggressor. However, the chivalrous and valiant Prithviraj thought otherwise and respectfully released the vanquished Ghori.

Second battle of Tarain (1192 CE): The very next year, Ghori repaid Prithviraj's gesture by again invading Prithviraj's kingdom with a stronger army. Again, the two armies met at Tarain. The Hindus incidentally followed a hoary practice of battling only between sunrise and sunset. Ghori attacked the Rajput army before daybreak and thus emerged victorious. The defeated Prithviraj was pursued upto his capital. At the point when annihilation became certain, Samyukta committed suicide by self-immolation rather than face the prospect of personal dishonour at the hands of a barbaric invader. Prithviraj was taken in chains to Ghor in present-day Afghanistan.

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti was born in Seistan (Eastern Persia) also known as Sajistan, around 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) into a well-respected family. . Khwaja Sahib was orphaned at age sixteen. He inherited an orchard and millstone which were his means of livelihood. He was inspired by the message of God to spread Islam in India.

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, arrived in Ajmer at the age 52 around 587 A.H. (1190 CE). Ajmer was then ruled by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the famous Rajput king who employed a large number of powerful magicians, with Ajai Pal as their leader.

Khwaja Sahib stayed on a hill close to Ana Sagar Lake, now known as the Chillah Khwaja Sahib. When the news spread that a very pious dervish had come to Ajmer, people began to flock to him in increasing numbers. Whoever came to him received the kindest treatment and blessings. People were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they began to embrace Islam and many became his disciples. Ajai Pal and the other were sent to the saint to work magic on him. Even Ajai Pal submitted himself to the divine powers of Khwaja Sahib, gave up all his magic and became his disciple.

Such was the mesmerizing power possessed by Khwaja Muinudin Chisti that Prithviraj Chuahan’s magicians who were against the saint lost their bad intentions, instead they came under the divine magic of the pious saint.

Even today many devotees irrespective of their caste or creed visit his darga with complete devotion which is in Ajmer

Revenge and Death

Rules of war was disobeyed, thus Prithviraj was defeated by Mahmud of Ghori in the second battle of Tarrain. Prithvi was imprisoned and was jailed in Ghor.

Several times Prithvi was brought in the court of Mahmud and was humiliated, but this never broke the brave Prithvi. Inspite of his agony, he looked straight in the eye of Mahmud. Angry on this, Mahmud ordered Prithvi to lower his eyes. Prithvi retorted that the eyelids of Rajputs are lowered only on his death. Mahmud flew into rage and ordered that Prithviraj’s eyes be burnt with red hot irons. This barbaric act was done. The blinded Prithvi was brought to the court very often and was insulted by the merciless king and his courtiers.

During those days Chandbardai, a very close friend of Prithvi who composed Prithviraj Raso, the biography of Prithviraj joined him. Chandbardai assisted Prithvi in every war and was his court poet. He extended his friendship even during the hardest time of the blind Prithvi. Chand entered the court of Mahmud of Ghori in a disguise. Thus he could win the confidence of Ghori and also earn the opportunity to meet Prithvi every now and then. This was the time when Chand created the urge in Prithvi to take the revenge on Ghori. The two got an opportunity when Ghori announced an archery competition. 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; the courtiers guffawed and taunted Chand Bardai, asking how a blind man could possibly shoot arrows. In the spirit of their usual barbaric mockery, they brought the blind and hapless Prithviraj out to the field. Pressing a bow and arrows into his hand, they taunted him to take aim.

Thus, Chand Bardai provided Prithviraj with an aural indication of where Ghori was seated. He gave Prithviraj one further indication of the same, by composing a couplet on the spot and reciting the same in Prithviraj's hearing. The couplet, composed in a language understood only by Prithviraj went thus:

"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 now, Chauhan).

Guided solely by sound, Prithviraj shot his arrow through Ghori. He was thus stuck dead by Prithviraj.

Naturally, after this deed, Prithviraj and Chandbardai stabbed each other, to avoid further humiliation at the hands of courtiers of Ghori. But the brave Rajput had avenged the betrayals and humiliations suffered by him. Thus ended the story of the brave and chivalrous Prithviraj Chauhan, the last Hindu king.

Chand Bardai’s Prithviraj Raso

Chand Bardai was born in Lahore in 1149. A Bhat Brahman of Jagati gotra, he was the worshipper of goddess Saraswati, who gifted him with boon of Bardai. Chand Bardai belonged to the community of Charan . The Charans were known for their bravery and exhibited their war skills in the battle field.

Chand ‘Bardai’ was the court poet of King Prithvi Raj Chauhan, at the close of the 12th century. He was married twice. His wives — Kamla and Gauran — gave birth to 10 sons, namely Sur, Sunder, Sujan, Jalhan, Vallah, Balbhadra, Kehari, Vir Chand, Avdut and Gunraj and one daughter, Rajabai. He was closest to his son Jalhan, who was extremely intelligent that is why when the poet went to Ghazni, he asked Jalhan to complete the pending work of ‘Prithviraj Raso’ or ‘Chand Raisa’.

The royal poet had mastery of grammar, literature, astrology, prosody and the Puranas. He was conversant with the Abhiri, Autkali, Chandali, Dravirhini, Shkari, Swali and Vijaitia dialects. One of his most famous works was Prithviraj Raso. He compiled it in the archaic form of Brajbhasa. It is a long poem consisting of nearly 100,000 stanzas elucidating a chronicle of Prithviraj Chauhan’s achievements and the historical accounts. Chand Bardai was not only a court poet but was a member of the inner circle of the king. The poet accompanied the king during wars.

It was Chand Bardai-a very dear friend of Prithviraj Chauhan who managed to enter the court of the Ghori in a disguise when Prithviraj was imprisoned by Ghori. He did it to support his friend. He could successfully convince Ghori that Prithviraj could shoot the target without eye sight and only on the basis of sound,thus the unity of Chand Bardai and Prithviraj could win over ghori and could set an example of true friendship. He showed it practically that-‘A friend in need is a friend in deed.’

The Prithviraj Raso was embellished with time and quite a few authors added to it. Only parts of the original manuscript are still intact. There are many versions of Raso but scholars agree that a small 1400 stanza poem is the real "Prithivraj Raso". In its longest form the poem comprises upwords of 10,000 stanzas. The Prithviraj Raso is a source of information on the social and clan structure of the Kshatriya communities of northern India.

It is valuable not only as historical material but as the earliest monument of the Western Hindi language, and the first of the long series of bardic chronicles for which Rajputana is celebrated. It is written in ballad form, and portions of it are still sung by itinerant bards throughout north-western India and Rajputana.

Prithviraj Chauhan's Tomb

While the legendary Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan is a hero in India, his 'grave' in Ghor, the now called-‘ Afghanistan’ is visited by the locals even today.

On the outskirts of Ghazni in Afghanistan are two domed tombs, the larger is of Ghori and few meters away, a second smaller tomb is of Prithviraj Chauhan.

In the center of the second tomb is a bare patch of earth where the actual grave should have been. Hanging over this spot from the top of the dome is a long, thick rope ending in a knot at shoulder height. Local visitors grab the rope in one hand and stamp vigorously with one foot on the bare patch in the center of the tomb where Prithviraj Chauhan is lay buried.