Jayapala Immolates Himself
Maharaja Jayapala was the ruler of the Hindu Shahi dynasty in India from 964 to 1001 CE.
His kingdom stretched from Laghman to Kashmir and Sirhind to Multan, with Peshawar being in the center.He was the son of Maharaja Hutpal and the father of Maharaja Anandapala. Epithets from the Bari Kot inscriptions record his full title as “Parama Bhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Sri Jayapaladeva”.
Jayapala is known successfully defending his kingdom against the Ghaznavids in the modern-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan region his entire life, until finally being defeated in Peshawar due to a snowstorm. Jayapala saw a danger in the consolidation of the Ghaznavids and invaded their capital city of Ghazni both in the reign of Sebuktigin and in that of his son Mahmud, which initiated the Muslim Ghaznavid and Hindu Shahi struggles. Sebuk Tigin, however, was defeated, and he was forced to pay an indemnity to Jayapala. Jayapala stopped receiving tribute and took to the battlefield once more. Jayapala, however, lost control of the entire region between the Kabul Valley and Khyber Pass.
Before his struggle began Jayapala had raised a small army of Punjabis. When Jayapala went to the Punjab region, his army had 10,000 horsemen and an smaller host of foot soldiers. According to Firishta:
“The two armies having met on the confines of Lumghan, the Maharaja ascended a hill to view the forces of Sabuktigin, which appeared in extent like the boundless ocean, and in numbers like the ants or the locusts of the wilderness. However, Jayapala considered himself as a wolf about to attack a flock of sheep: calling, therefore, his chiefs together, he encouraged them to glory, and issued to each his commands. His soldiers, though few in number, were divided into squadrons of five hundred men each, which were directed to attack successively, one particular point of the Mooslim line, so that it might continually have to encounter fresh troops.“
However, the army was hopeless in battle against the eastern forces, particularly against the Punjabis.In the year 1001, soon after Sultan Mahmud came to power and was occupied with the Qarakhanids north of the Hindu Kush, Jayapala attacked Ghazni once more and upon suffered his first defeat by the powerful numerous Ghaznavid forces, near present-day Peshawar. After the Battle of Peshawar, the Maharaja planned in his last day’s further attacks.
Battle of Peshawar, was fought on 27 November 1001 between Mahmud of Ghazni and the army of Jayapala, near Peshawar. Jayapala was defeated and captured, and as a result of the humiliation of the defeat, he later immolated himself in a funeral pyre. This is the first of many major battles in the expansion of the Ghaznavid Empire into the Indian subcontinent by Mahmud of Ghazni .
Alp Tigin’s successor Sebuk Tigin started to vigorously expand his domain, first capturing Kandahar, then began a struggle with the Hindu Shahi kingdom. Jayapala attacked Sebuk Tigin, but was defeated, then again later when his army of a reported size of over 100,000 was beaten.Lamghan was plundered, and Kabul and Jalalabad were annexed by the Ghaznavids. In 997, Mahmud ascended the throne at Ghazni, and vowed to invade India every year until the northern lands were his. In 1001 he arrived at Peshawar with a select group of 15,000 cavalry, and a large corps of ghazis and Afghans.
An account of the battle between the invading Turkic Ghaznavids and the Shahi kingdom was given by Al-Utbi in Tarikh Yamini.According to Al-Utbi, Mahmud pitched his tent outside the city upon reaching Peshawar. Jayapala avoided action for some time waiting for reinforcements, and Mahmud then took the decision to attack with swords, arrows, and spears. Jayapala moved his cavalry and elephants to engage his opponent, but his army was decisively defeated.
Jayapala, along with members of his family were captured, and valuable personal adornments were taken off the prisoners, including a necklace of great value from Jayapala. The figures of Hindu dead ranged from 5,000 to 15,000,and five hundred thousands were said to have been taken captive. Judging from the personal adornments taken off captured Hindus, Jayapala’s army was not prepared for battle and thousands of children were taken captive as well.
Jayapala was bound and paraded, and a large ransom was paid for the release of members of his family. Jayapala felt the defeat to be a great humiliation, and later he built himself a funeral pyre, lit it, and threw himself into the fire.
Mahmud later conquered the upper Indus region, and then in 1009, defeated Jayapala’s son Anandapala in a battle at Chach. The battle is known as the battle of Waihind. He then captured Lahore and Multan, giving him control of the Punjab region.
Anandapala who ascended his father Jayapala’s throne at Lahore (in about March/April AD 1002) already proved an able warrior and general in leading many battles prior to his ascension. According to ‘Adáb al-Harb’ (pp. 307–10) in about AD 990, it is written,
“the arrogant but ambitious Raja of Lahore, having put his father in confinement, marched on the country of Jayapála with the intention of conquering the districts of Nandana, Jailum (Jehlum) and Tákeshar“
(in an attempt to take advantage of Jayapala’s concentrated effort with defence against the armies of Ghazni). “
Anandapala defeated Bharat of Lahore and took him prisoner in the battle of Takeshar and marched on Lahore and captured the city and established his kingdom from there.
However, during his reign as emperor many losses were inflicted on his kingdom by the Ghaznavids. During the battle of Chach between Mahmud and Anandapala, it is stated that “a body of 30,000 Gakhars fought alongside as soldiers for the Shahi Emperor and incurred huge losses for the Ghaznavids”. However, despite the heavy losses of the enemy, he lost the battle and suffered much financial and territorial loss.
This was Anandapala’s last stand against Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. He eventually signed a treaty with the Ghaznavid Empire in AD 1010 and shortly a year later died a peaceful death. R.C Majumdar (D.V. Potdar Commemoration Volume, Poona 1950, p. 351) compared him to ancient “King Porus, who bravely opposed Alexander but later submitted and helped in subduing other Indian rulers”. And Tahqíq Má li’l-Hind (p. 351) finally revered him in his legacy as “noble and
Nandana or Nandna was a fort built at strategic location on a hilly range on the eastern flanks of the Salt Range in Punjab Pakistan. Its ruins, including those of a town and a temple, are present. It was ruled by the Hindu Shahi kings until, in the early 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni expelled them from Nandana. Anandapala, the son of Jayapala of the Hindu Shahi dynasty, had erected the Shiva temple in Nandana.
Retold By Ramachandran