Prithvi Raj Chauhan (1168-1192 CE; pronounced: ) Prithvi Raj Chauhan was a king of the Hindu Rajput Chauhan (Chauhamana) dynasty, who ruled a kingdom in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.
Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the second last Hindu king to sit upon the throne of Delhi (the last Hindu king being Hemu). He succeeded to the throne in 1179 CE at the age of 11, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi. He controlled much of Rajasthan and Haryana, and unified the Rajputs against Muslim invasions. His elopement with Samyukta (Sanyogita), the daughter of Jai Chandra, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, is a popular romantic tale in India, and is one of the subjects of the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem composed by Prithviraj's court poet and friend, Chand Bardai.
Prithvi Raj fought and defeated the Afghan ruler Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 CE but was then immediately defeated at the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 CE. After his defeat, India was open to invasion by the Mahmud Ghori, and Delhi came under the control of him. Qila Rai Pithora in Delhi, also known as Pithoragarh, is named after him.
When Someswara ascended the throne of Ajmer and Sakambhari around V. 1226 his family accompanied him there.
Vigraharaj is accredited to the capture of Delhi and Hansi from the Tomaras. The conquest of Delhi turned the Chauhans into an Indian empire. His first fight against the mlecchas was in self-defense. The Moslem ruler Hammira invited Vigraharaj into submitting his authority. His Prime Minister Sridhara thought it better to buy the invader, but the Chauhan considered it disgraceful. He had decided to protect his friends, the Brahamanas, and sacred places. He not only defeated the attacker but also recovered lost territory from other Ghaznavites (Mohammad from Ghazni had raided Gujarat half a century earlier and plundered the Somnath temple).
Vigraharaj IV was succeeded by his son Amaragangeya, but he didn’t rule long. He was slain by Prthvibhata or Prithviraj Chauhan II. Prthvibhata died before the end of the Vikrama year V.1226., probably without leaving any issue. The ministers offered the throne to Someswara, the only surviving son of Arnoraja, who was at that time in Gujarat.
Nagarjuna, one of the enemies of Prithviraj II (Prithviraj III’s cousin) decided to take advantage of the king’s tenderness and inexperience. He captured the town of Godapura. Prithviraj II marched against him with a large army and laid siege of Godapura. Nagarjuna managed to escape the fort but his wife, mother and followers fell into the hands of the victor with a large amount of booty. Devabhata, an officer of Nagarjuna, and the remaining soldiers under him, were soon killed and their heads were hung across the gate of the fort of Ajmer.
Prithviraj III captured the city of Mahoba, the capital of Chandel monarch Paramala, after a stiff fight with Alha and Udal who were also aided by army from Kannauj.
On one of his many wars, Chauhan led a night attack on Dharavarsa Paramara of Abu. The attack is said to be a failure as he was defeated by the warrior brothers Alha-Udal.
Legends of Mahoba, a small town in modern Uttar Pradesh even say that Alha was given boon of immortality by goddess Sharada.
The Gujaratis needed help, but they had none from Prithviraj because of the advice of his Chief Minister Kadamvasa. Taking both the Gujaratis and Moslems alike as their enemies, the Chauhans of Ajmer were rather glad to see they were fighting and destroying each other. Due to a serious reverse sustained by Ghori at the hands of the Gujaratis in the battle of Kasahadra, the Chauhans would not taste immediately the fruit of their policy. Chauhan’s failure to help the Gujaratis proved in subsequent years detrimental not merely to the cause of Chauhans but also that of the Hindu nation as a whole. In 1181, Ghori marched to Sialkot and built a fort there. Five years later, he made himself the master of Punjab by treacherously seizing Khusrao Malik, the last Ghaznavite ruler of Lahore. From this new base, he proceeded to the conquest of further Indian territory and naturally soon came into conflict with Chauhan.
The campaign leading to Ghori’s first great battle with Chauhan began in the winter of 1190-91. Advancing from either Ghazni or his new base at Lahore, Ghori captured Tabarhindah in the dominions of Chauhan and put it in the charge of Qazi Ziya-ud-din of Tulak and a garrison of 1200 horsemen, asking them to hold it until he returned there after a period of eight months. Before he could leave the fortress, he received the alarming news that Prithviraj and Govindaraj Chauhan were marching towards the fort. He therefore set out to meet the Chauhan forces and encountered them at Tarain, a village in the Karnal district - the very field of Kurukshetra where the Pandavas and Kauravas fought each other and decided the fate of their country in their days of yore.