The First Battle of Tarain

The First Battle of Tarain, was fought in 1191 at the town of Tarain (Taraori), near Thanesar in present-day Haryana, approximately 150 kilometers north of Delhi.

The battle pitted the armies of Muḥammad Shihābuddīn Ghorī, conqueror of the Ghaznavid Kingdom and northwestern India, against the armies of Prithvirāj III, a Rajput of the Chauhān clan who ruled the most powerful kingdom in northern India. Prithvirāj's army, led by his vassal Govindā-Rāj of Delhi, and assisted by Jaychandra, King of Kannauj and Banaras (now Varanasi), rushed to the defense of the frontier, and the two armies met at Tarain.

According to a myth common in contemporary India, the armies clashed first with the charge of the Rajput cavalry. The two wings of the Turkic army were turned and fled while Muḥammad Ghorī held out in the centre with the body of the soldiers; here he met Govindā-Rāj in personal combat, and he lost his front teeth to Sultan Muḥammad Ghorī's lance. As the battle continued the Ghorid army was exhausted, short of water, and unfamiliar with the scale of its opponent it retreated in apparent disarray towards the Afghan highlands. In 1192, the Ghorid army returned to challenge Prithvirāj at the Second Battle of Tarain.