Over time, the Prithviraj Raso has been embellished with the interpolations and additions of many other authors. Only a small portion of the existing texts is likely to have been part of the original text. Several versions of the Prithivraj Raso are available, but scholars agree that a small 1300 stanza manuscript in Bikaner is closest to the original text. The longest available version is the Udaipur manuscript, which is an epic comprising of 16,306 stanzas. The language of the texts available today largely appears to be post-15th century.
On the day of the ceremony, Sanyogita emerged from an inner chamber, entered the venue of the swayamwara, walked straight down the hall past the assembled suitors, bypassing them all. She reached the door and garlanded the statue of Prithviraj. The assemblage were stunned at this brash act, but more was to follow: Prithviraj, who had been hiding behind the statue in the garb of a doorman, emerged, put Sanyogita upon his horse and the two ran away with each other. This incident resulted in a string of battles between the two kingdoms and both of them suffered heavily. The Chauhan-Gahadvala feud led to the weakening of both Rajput kingdoms.
Mohammad Ghori or Muhammad of Ghor i.e. Muhammad, a warlord hailing from Ghor in present-day Afghanistan, captured Ghazni and subsequently defeated the Ghaznavid governor of Punjab. Muhammad Ghori's domain now touched upon that of Prithviraj Chauhan. A clash was inevitable.
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 (Kurekshetra, Haryana state).
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 followed a traditional practice of battling only between sunrise and sunset.This practise was based upon tradition in their society, in keeping with the Mahabharata and Ramayana's accounts. Ghori attacked the surprised Rajput army before daybreak and thus emerged victorious. The defeated Prithviraj was pursued up to his capital. At the point when annihilation became certain, Sanyogita committed suicide.
Prithviraj's former courtier Chand Bardai, who was later to compose the Prithviraj Raso, a ballad-biography of Prithviraj, came to Ghori to be near Prithviraj in his misery. Chand Bardai came in disguise and paens. On the one hand, he earned Mahmud's regard; on the other, he took every opportunity to meet with Prithviraj and urge him to avenge Ghori. The two got an opportunity to kill Muhammad Ghori when Ghori announced an archery competition. Chand Bardai told Ghori that Prithviraj was so skilled an archer, that 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 arrow into his hand, they taunted him to take aim.
Chand Bardai told Ghori that this taunting would avail nothing, for Prithviraj would never do as some sundry courtiers bade him do. He said that Prithviraj, as an anointed king, would not accept orders from anyone other than another king. His ego thus massaged, and in the spirit of the occasion, Ghori agreed to personally give Prithviraj the order to shoot.Some iron plates were hung and Prithiviraj was asked to aim at them.A man was to strike the plate with a hammer and Prithviraj was supposed to hit that plate.
Thus, Chand Bardai provided Prithviraj with an oral indication of where Ghori was seated 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 hai sultan, mat chuke Chauhan." (an account of distance and direction as to where to aim)
Ghori then ordered Prithviraj to shoot. Prithviraj thus came to know the location of Ghori and started shooting at the plates.When he hit the target courtiers said "vah" "vah" and Ghori said "Shabash", recognising Ghori's voice and turning in the direction from where he heard Ghori speak, Prithviraj took aim based only on the voice and on Chand Bardai's couplet, he sent an arrow racing to Ghori's throat. Ghori was thus struck dead by Prithviraj. Prithviraj and Chand Bardai did not want to die from the hands of Ghori's courtiers so they stabbed each other.