Muhammad Ghori’s Invasion of Kanauj and Bundelkhand


It is true that when Prithvi Raj was defeated in 1192, Jai Chandra of Kanauj felt happy but he did not know that he would meet a similar fate before long. Muhammad Ghori realised the significance of Kanauj in India. Its ruler was considered to be the greatest king of India, having the largest territory. Such a ruler could not be allowed to remain independent. No doubt Muhammad Ghori marched against Kanauj in 1194 A.D. and the Rathor Ruler fell.

“When the two armies met, there was great carnage; the infidels sustained by their number and the Muslims by their courage; but in the end infidels fled and the faithful were victorious. The slaughter of the Hindus was immense. None was spared, except women and children and the carnage of the men went on until the earth was weary.”

In the battle of Cnandwara, Jai Chandra was struck in the eve by a fatal arrow and he fell down dead from the elephant. The Rajputs were demoralised and they ran away from the battlefield. Muhammad Ghori proceeded to the fortress of Asni where Jai Chandra had stored his treasure; Asni was captured and the treasure was plundered. From Asni, Muhammad Ghori proceeded towards Banaras. About 1,000 temples were destroyed in Banaras and mosques were raised on their sites. Muhammad Ghori carried away treasure to Ghazni upon 14,000 camels. According to Prof. S. R. Sharma, “The fall of Jai Chandra of Chandwar made Muhammad the master of the political as well as the religious capitals of Hindustan, Kanauj and Banaras.”


The descendants of Jai Chandra continued to rule over a fraction of their kingdom which Muhammad Ghori was not able to occupy. Even Kanauj was recovered by the Gahadwaras a few years after its conquest. In 1195-96, Muhammad Ghori invaded India and defeated Jadon Bhatti Rajputs. He also advanced to Bihar and occupied a portion of it.

For the next few years, Muhammad Ghori was busy fighting the Turks in Central Asia. In his absence, the affairs of India were managed by Qutb-ud-Din Aibaq. The latter consolidated the Muslim position in Ajmer. He also waged war against Raja Bhim Deva of Anhilwara who had defeated even Muhammad Ghori. Kanwar Pal, the general of Bhim Deva, was defeated and killed. Huge booty fell into the hands of the Muslims.

Invasion of Bundelkhand

In 1197-98 A.D. Aibaq conquered Badaun from a Rashtrakuta Rajput. He reoccupied Banaras which had been lost after its first conquest. He also reoccupied Chandwara and Kanauj. He overran a part of Malwa. In 1202-03 A.D. Aibaq invaded Kalinijar which was the military capital of Paramardi Deva, the Chandela Ruler of Bundelkhand.


The Chandelas fought with courage and bravery. The Fort of Kalinjar was besieged. The ruler was willing to make peace but he died before he could do so. The resistance was continued after his death. Ultimately, the Chandelas were made to come to terms as the water supply of the fort was cut off. Thus Kalinjar, Mahoba and Khajuraho were occupied.

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