Story of Alha and Udal and their Spirited Resistance against Prithviraj Chauhan: The Warriors of Mahoba (1182):

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Story of Alha and Udal 

Prithviraj Chauhan the renowned Rajput monarch of Delhi whose spirited resistance exploits and to the Turkish invaders are praised in every part of the country.

His reign was full of military struggle and from an early age, he was involved in serious military expeditions. No one can doubt the courage and leadership persona of the great Chauhan king.

Statue of warrior Alha
Alha and Udal
Prithviraj Chauhan
Statue of Alha, the brother of Udal

But during his assault on Kalinjar, the great Chauhan king witnessed unmatched valor and bravery from two men whose names have been immortalized by bards, folklores, and stories.

The two generals of Mahoba King Paramardideva fought audaciously for their motherland and its people. Even the Chauhan who invaded their kingdom praised their valor and gave them much honor.

So who were these two valiant warriors of Mahoba and why even to this day there bravery and heroism praised and honored? Let’s find out…   

The names of Alha and Udal are taken with great respect in the land of Madhya Pradesh/Bundelkhand. The duo guarded the kingdom of Mahoba against the formidable army of Prithviraj Chauhan.

Both Alha and Udal were capable leaders who remained loyal to their kingdom. The sacrifice that they attained in the battle of Mahoba immortalized their spirit adorning their tale of bravery.

Background Rise of Prithviraj Chauhan

After the death of King Someshvar Chauhan in 1177 CE the young Prithviraj Chauhan III ascended the throne of Ajmer. However, at that period, he was still a minor due to which his mother Kapuradevi/Kapuridevi acted as the regent.

Story of Alha and Udal
Image of Pritviraj Chauhan
Battle of Mahoba
Image of Chauhan king Prithviraj Chauhan

During the years of the queen’s regency, the city of Ajmer prospered and flourished greatly. It is believed that the regent queen took great measures to adorn the city by establishing gardens, parks, and wells.

Later when Prithviraj took charge of the kingdom in 1178 CE things changed instantly for the Chauhan Rajputs of Ajmer. They were surrounded by enemies from almost all sides which made their position a little precarious.

However, the gallant king of Ajmer didn’t stop there and launched a series of military expeditions in all possible directions.   

The Chauhan army were embellished by able leadership and commanders like Skanda, Kadambavasa, Bhuvanaikamalla, Vamana, etc. Together they forged victories and expanded their influence in all corners. But the expedition against Mahoba tested their spirit to their highest potential. 

Kingdom of Mahoba

Mahoba was the region comprising the borderland of Madhya Pradesh and UP. The kingdom during the period of Prithviraj was ruled by Paramardideva Chandel/Chandela.

The Chandela Rajputs ruled this region from 9th to 12th CE. Alha and Udal were the two generals of Paramardideva who were known for their heroism and patriotism for their motherland.

They were the sons of King Jasaraja/ or Dakshraj in some writings of Banafar/  clan.

However, after some time it is believed that the Chandela king suspected his two generals of disloyalty towards him and dismissed his most trusted warriors from his court.

Later the two went to the court of Gahadvala king Jaichand of Kannauj. However, things became bleak for the Chandela ruler due to the invasion of the Chauhan hordes in 1182.

Battle of Mahoba and the bravery of Alha and Udal

In the year 1182 Prithviraj Chauhan launched an expedition on the Bhadanakas/Bhandanak tribe which resided around the region of modern-day Bhiwani, Jhajjar, etc.

After successfully suppressing the Bhadanakas Prithviraj Chauhan focused on securing the kingdom of Mahoba.

In the same year, the Chauhan reached Kalinjar and annexed its strong fort. From here they reached the border of Mahoba. When the news of this invasion reached Paramardideva he sent a message to his two generals which he dismissed on grounds of disloyalty.

However, initially, Alha and Udal refused to help the Chandel king because of the false allegation of the former but later they decided (probably on their mother’s advice) to halt the advance of the Chauhan king for the sake of their motherland and its people.

The two generals fought heroically and killed many invaders who tried to subdue their kingdom. Till there last Alha and Udal didn’t back down and died fighting for their people.

The battle of Mahoba is remembered not for the victory of Prithviraj Chauhan but for the spirit and valor displayed by the two generals of Paramardideva.

Their story is still alive in the local traditions, bards, poems, and folklore. 

After the battle, the Chauhans annexed Mahoba and even appointed Panjvan Rai the ruler of Amer as an administrator of Mahoba.

However, the epigraphic evidence which belongs to this period had been recovered from Kalinjar and Mahoba and suggests that the Chauhan control over these two regions didn’t last long.

The Chandela’s recovered their territory and by 1183 they again became the master of Mahoba and Kalinjar.

Sources: Struggle For Empire: R.C.Majumdar, Prithviraj Raso

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