Introduction: Sultan of Multan and the Rani Naiki Devi of Gujrat (Nayika Devi)
We all know about the establishment of Islamic rule over North India led by Moh Ghori in 1192 CE and the formation of Delhi Sultanate in 1206. The fanatical Islamic invader attacked India between 1175 CE- 1206 CE and was able to capture Multan( in 1175), Punjab(in 1179), Peshawar( in 1180), Sialkot( in 1185), and ultimately Delhi in 1192.
But what most people don’t remember is the defeat Mohd Ghori suffered from the hands of Chalukyan( Solanki) queen Naiki Devi(NaikiDevi) in 1178 CE at the battle of Kasahrada. The history of the Chalukyas, also known as Solankis of Gujarat, has been written about by many historians. However, the valour of great Queen Naiki Devi,who defeated muhammad ghori in Gujrat 1178 , remains relatively unsung.
Naiki Devi was a Great Indian warrior queen , born to Paramardin, who was the Chief of Kadamba( Goa). Naiki Devi was married to king Ajayapala of Gujarat who ascended the throne of Gujarat in 1171 CE.
However king Ajayapala died in 1175 and ruled for only 4 years. After his death his elder son Mularaja 2 became his successor. The new king was a minor, so his mother Naiki Devi ascended the throne and effectively ruled on his behalf.
Background of the battle: Fanatical Ghurids vs Outnumbered Chalukyas
After becoming queen Naiki Devi immediately looked after the administration and military affairs of the kingdom. During this time Moh Ghori captured multan and already had established Ghurid empire over Afghanistan.
With base at Multan, ambitious Ghori decided to invade India for wealth. Motivated by the stories of raids conducted by Moh Ghazni several years before he marched with a huge army to Uch, the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province. It is also believed that Moh Ghori’s primary goal was to loot Somnath temple as Ghazni did several years before.
From there they were able to cross the desert and started marching towards Anhilwara( capital of Chalukyan Kingdom). Chalukyan kingdom at that time consisted of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Ghori was well aware of the fact that the Chalukyan’s didn’t have a king and were vulnerable to attack.He percieved the hindu queen to be weak and easy to defeat as he had a much bigger army at his disposal. But he was soon going to be proved very wrong.
Meanwhile Naiki Devi sought help from neighbouring feudatory rulers namely Jalor Chahamana ruler Kirtipala, Arbuda Paramara ruler Dharavarsha and Naddula Chahamana ruler Kelhanadeva.
The Chalukyan army was out numbered and to counter this Naiki Devi chose the rugged terrain of Gadaraghatta an area at the foot of Mount Abu near the village of Kasahrada. This was chosen by her due to the narrow mountain passages that made it hard for the invaders to attack with full force and diluted their attack.
Moh Ghori’s army were full of experience soldiers and consisted of steppe nomads who were excellent archers, superior armoured cavalry, and central Asian steppe horses which provided speed and stamina in Ghori’s army. Apart from having technical advantage Moh Ghori and his soldiers were also motivated by religious zeal. They, like all other islamic invader,were obsessed with killing infidels(non Muslims) and converting the whole of non muslim lands to an islamic ruled land.
Main Battle:Ghori vs Naiki Devi
Turkish warlords mobilized their Muslim retainers by pointing out that war against the enemy of faith was necessary and obligatory by decree of Islamic law.
It is believed that before the battle Moh Ghori sent a messanger to the court of the Chalukyan queen with a condition that he would not attack Gujarat if the queen herself surrendered to Ghori.
After hearing this message Naiki Devi approached towards the camp of Moh Ghori with her son tied to her lap. For a moment Ghori thought that the queen had accepted his offer.Soon after it the Rajputs charged the army of the Mlechhas. The combined force of the rajputs under Naiki Devi broke havoc among the Ghurids. The dishonorable and treacherous Ghori, who used such tactics all the time was caught in the one this time.
The war elephants of the Rajputs covered with armours stood in a row like a mountain steel. They ran across the field like wind and fire. They were able to break the morale of Moh Ghori’s experience armoured cavalry.
Naiki Devi through her strong will power and combat skills, herself cut down every single invading soldier that came her way. it is astonishing to note that She fought this fierce battle with her child tied to her body.
Soon after it the Ghurid army started retreating from the battlefield.The battle resulted in a complete disaster for Moh Ghori. He escaped with few of his bodyguards to save his life. He never tried to invade Gujrat again and instead tried to enter India through the more vulnerable Punjab region.
Both Hindu and Muslim chroniclers mention about this battle.14th century Jain scholar Merutunga in his work Prabandha Chinramani mentions how Naiki Devi the queen of Chalukyan kingdom defeated the armies of the mleccha king at Gadararaghatta near Mount Abu.
Minhaj-i-Siraj also mentions about the Chalukyan victory in the battle of Kayadara.(“Muhammad of Ghor marched towards Nahrwala (Anhilwara) via Uchchha and Multan. The Rae (king) of Nahrwala was very young but commanded a huge army with war elephants.)
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