Second battle of Taraori or Tarain, 1192

The second battle of Taraori (or Tarain) of 1192 was a decisive victory won by Muhammad of Ghur one year after he had suffered a rare defeat on the same site and that left northern India vulnerable to conquest.

The first battle of Taraori had seen Muhammad defeated by a large army commanded by Prithviraja Chauhana III of Delhi. Muhammad was forced to retreat back across the Indus to his capital at Ghazni, where he prepared for a new campaign. Prithviraja took his armies west, where he conducted a slow but successful siege of Bhatinda.

Muhammad returned to India in 1192 with an army strong in mounted Turkish archers and a plan that he hoped would negate the Hindu advantage in numbers. He found Prithviraja camped at Taraori, close to the site of the first battle, and put his plan into operation.

Muhammad's army was split into five divisions, four of mounted archers and one of heavy cavalry. The four divisions of mounted archers were ordered to attack the flanks and rear of Prithviraja's army, and to avoid any hand-to-hand combat. Prithviraja didn't have any effective answer to this new tactic, and his army slowly lost its cohesion.

Once Muhammad believed that the Hindu army was sufficiently weakened he charged their centre with his 12,000 heavy cavalry. Prithviraja's army was broken, and a rout began. Prithviraja attempted to escape on horseback, but was captured and killed close to the Saraswati River, as was his brother Govind Rai.

Northern India had seen Muslim victories before, but they had not led to any permanent conquests. This time things were different. Delhi was soon captured, and in 1194 Raja Jaichandra of Kanauj suffered a crushing defeat at Chandwar. By the end of the century Bihar and Bengal had also fallen to the Muslims, and by the time Muhammad was murdered in 1206 the foundations had been laid for the Delhi Sultanate, the first Muslim state to dominate northern India.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 February 2010), Second battle of Taraori or Tarain, 1192 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_taraori_1192.html

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