Chauhan, a name derived from the historical Chahamanas, a clan name associated with various ruling Rajput families in the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan from seventh century onwards.[1]

Coin of the Chahamana of Ajmer ruler Vigraharaja IV, circa 1150–1164 CE


Khichi, Hada, Songara, Bhadauria, Devda etc. are the branches or subclans of Chauhan Rajputs.[2][3]


The word Chauhan is the vernacular form of the Sanskrit term Chahamana (IAST: Cāhamāna).[definition needed] Several Chauhan inscriptions name a legendary hero called Chahamana as their ancestor, but none of them state the period in which he lived.[4]

The earliest extant inscription that describes the origin of the Chauhans is the 1119 CE Sevadi inscription of Ratnapala, a ruler of the Naddula Chahamana dynasty. According to this inscription, the ancestor of the Chahamanas was born from the eye of Indra.[5]

The 1170 CE Bijolia rock inscription of the Shakambhari Chahamana king Someshvara states that his ancestor Samantaraja was born at Ahichchhatrapura (possibly modern Nagaur[6]) in the gotra of sage Vatsa. The 1262 CE Sundha hill inscription of the Jalor Chahamana king Chachiga-deva states that the dynasty's ancestor Chahamana was "a source of joy" to the Vatsa. The 1320 Mount Abu (Achaleshwar temple) inscription of the Deora Chauhan ruler Lumbha states that Vatsa created the Chahamanas as a new lineage of warriors, after the solar dynasty and the lunar dynasty had ceased to exist.[7]

The Ajmer inscription of the Shakambhari Chahamana ruler Vigraharaja IV (c. 1150–64 CE) claims that Chahamana belonged to the solar dynasty, descending from Ikshavaku and Rama. The 12th-century Prithviraja Vijaya mahakavya, composed by Prithviraja III's court poet Jayanaka, also claims a solar dynasty origin for the ruling dynasty. According to this text, Chahamana came to earth from Arkamandal (the orbit of the sun).[8]

Drachms of the Chahamanas of Ranastambhapura.
Stamp depicting Prithviraj Chauhan, a medieval Hindu ruler of North India

The 15th-century Hammira Mahakavya of Nayachandra Suri, which describes the life of the Ranthambore branch ruler Hammira, gives the following account: Once Brahma was wandering in search of an auspicious place to conduct a ritual sacrifice. He ultimately chose the place where a lotus from his hand fell; this place came to be known as Pushkara. Brahma wanted to protect his sacrificial ceremony against interference from danavas (miscreant beings). Therefore, he remembered the Sun, and a hero came into being from the sun's orb. This hero was Chohan, the ancestor of the Hammira's dynasty.[9] The earliest extant recension of Prithviraj Raso of Chand Bardai, dated to 15th or 16th century, states that the first Chauhan king – Manikya Rai – was born from Brahma's sacrifice.[9] The 16th-century Surjana-Charita, composed by the Bengali poet Chandra Shekhara under patronage of the Ranthambore ruler Rao Surjana, contains a similar account. It states that Brahma created the first Chahamana from the Sun's disc during a sacrificial ceremony at Pushkara.[10]

Despite these earlier myths, it was the Agnivanshi (or Agnikula) myth that became most popular among the Chauhans and other Rajput clans. According to this myth, some of the Rajput clans originated from Agni, in a sacrificial fire pit. This legend was probably invented by the 10th-century Paramara court poet Padmagupta, whose Nava-sahasanka-charita mentions only the Paramaras as fire-born.[11] The inclusion of Chauhans in the Agnivanshi myth can be traced back to the later recensions of Prithviraj Raso. In this version of the legend, once Vashistha and other great sages begin a major sacrificial ceremony on Mount Abu. The ritual was interrupted by miscreant daityas (demons). To get rid of these demons, Vashistha created progenitors of three Rajput dynasties from the sacrificial fire pit. These were Parihar (Pratiharas), Chaluk (Chaulukya or Solanki), and Parmar (Paramara). These heroes were unable to defeat the demons. So, the sages prayed again, and this time a fourth warrior appeared: Chahuvana (Chauhan). This fourth hero slayed the demons.[12][13]

The earliest available copies of Prithviraj Raso do not mention the Agnivanshi legend.[14] It is possible that the 16th-century bards came up with the legend to foster Rajput unity against the Mughal emperor Akbar.[15] Adaptions of the Prithviraj Raso occur in several later works. The Hammira Raso (1728 CE) by Jodharaja, a court poet of prince Chandrabhana of Neemrana, states that once the Kshatriyas (warriors) became extinct. So, the great sages assembled at Mount Abu and created three heroes. When these three heroes could not defeat the demons, they created Chahuvanaji.[16] A slight variation occurs in the writings of Surya Malla Mishrana, the court poet of Bundi. In this version, the various gods create the four heroes on Vashistha's request.[17] According to the bardic tale of the Khichi clan of Chauhans, the Parwar (Paramara) was born from Shiva's essence; the Solankhi (Solanki) or Chaluk Rao (Chalukya) was born from Brahma's essence; the Pariyar (Parihar) was born from Devi's essence; and the Chahuvan (Chauhan) was born from Agni, the fire.[18]


The Chauhans were historically a powerful group in the region now known as Rajasthan. For around 400 years from the 7th century CE their strength in Sambhar was a threat to the power-base of the Guhilots in the south-west of the area, as also was the strength of their fellow Agnivanshi clans.[19] They suffered a set-back in 1192 when their leader, Prithviraj Chauhan, was defeated at the Second Battle of Tarain but this did not signify their demise.[20] The kingdom broke into the Satyapura and Devda branches after the invasion of Qutbu l-Din Aibak in 1197.[21] The 13th and 14th centuries saw the struggle between the Chauhan Rajputs and the Delhi Sultanate to control the strategic areas of Delhi, Punjab and Gujarat.[22]

The earliest Chauhan inscription is a copper-plate inscription found at Hansot.[23]

Dynasties and states

The ruling dynasties belonging to the Chauhan clan included:


  1. ^
    • Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004). A History of India. Psychology Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-415-32919-4. When Gurjara Pratiharas power declined after the sacking of Kannauj by the Rashtrakutkas in the early tenth century many Rajput princes declared their independence and founded their own kingdoms, some of which grew to importance in the subsequent two centuries. The better known among these dynasties were the Chaulukyas or Solankis of Kathiawar and Gujarat, the Chahamanas (i.e. Chauhan) of eastern Rajasthan (Ajmer and Jodhpur), and the Tomaras who had founded Delhi (Dhillika) in 736 but had then been displaced by the Chauhans in the twelfth century.
    • Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya (2006). Studying Early India: Archaeology, Texts and Historical Issues. Anthem. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-84331-132-4. The period between the seventh and the twelfth century witnessed gradual rise of a number of new royal-lineages in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, which came to constitute a social-political category known as 'Rajput'. Some of the major lineages were the Pratiharas of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and adjacent areas, the Guhilas and Chahamanas of Rajasthan, the Caulukyas or Solankis of Gujarat and Rajasthan and the Paramaras of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
    • Romila Thapar (2000). Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian History. Oxford University Press. p. 792. ISBN 978-0-19-564050-2. This is curious statement for the Chahamanas who were known to be one of the eminent Rajput family of early medieval period
    • David Ludden (2013). India and South Asia: A Short History. Oneworld Publications. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-78074-108-6. By contrast in Rajasthan a single warrior group evolved called Rajput (from Rajaputra-sons of kings): they rarely engaged in farming, even to supervise farm labour as farming was literally beneath them, farming was for their peasant subjects. In the ninth century separate clans of Rajputs Cahamanas (Chauhans), Paramaras (Pawars), Guhilas (Sisodias) and Caulukyas were splitting off from sprawling Gurjara Pratihara clans...
    • Upinder Singh (1999). Ancient Delhi. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-19-564919-2. The Tomaras ultimately met their destruction at the hand of another Rajput clan, the Chauhans or Chahamanas. Delhi was captured from the Tomaras by the Chauhan king Vigraharaja IV (the Visala Deva of the traditional bardic histories) in the middle of twelfth century
    • Shail Mayaram (2003). Against history, against state : counterperspectives from the margins. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-231-12730-8. OCLC 52203150. The Chauhans (Cahamanas) Rajputs had emerged in the later tenth century and established themselves as a paramount power, overthrowing the Tomar Rajputs. In 1151 the Tomar Rajput rulers (and original builders) of Delhi were overthrown by Visal Dev, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer
  2. ^ Dasharatha Sharma (1975). Early Chauhan Dynasties: A Study of Chauhan Political History, Chauhan Political Institutions and Life in the Chauhan Dominions from 800 to 1316 A. D. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (Pvt. Limited). p. 175-179. ISBN 978-81-208-0492-0.
  3. ^ Gopinath Sharma (1970). "Rajasthan". In Mohammad Habib; K. A. Nizami (eds.). A Comprehensive History of India: The Delhi Sultanat (A.D. 1206-1526). Vol. 5 (Second ed.). The Indian History Congress / People's Publishing House. p. 824-835.
  4. ^ Singh 1964, p. 10.
  5. ^ Singh 1964, pp. 10–11.
  6. ^ Singh 1964, p. 89.
  7. ^ Singh 1964, p. 11.
  8. ^ Singh 1964, p. 12.
  9. ^ a b Singh 1964, p. 13.
  10. ^ Singh 1964, pp. 13–14.
  11. ^ Seth 1978, p. 10-13.
  12. ^ Seth 1978, p. 5.
  13. ^ Singh 1964, pp. 14–15.
  14. ^ Majumdar 1956, p. 9.
  15. ^ Singh 1964, pp. 17–18.
  16. ^ Singh 1964, p. 15.
  17. ^ Singh 1964, p. 16.
  18. ^ Seth 1978, p. 6.
  19. ^ Gupta & Bakshi 2008, p. 95.
  20. ^ Gupta & Bakshi 2008, p. 100.
  21. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 28. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  22. ^ Kothiyal, Tanuja (2016). Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 9781107080317. Delhi, Punjab and Gujarat were seen as strategic centres by the Sultans of Delhi. Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, intense struggle to control these towns waged between the various sultans of Delhi and Rajput lineages like Chauhans.
  23. ^ Sharma, Dasharatha : "Early Chauhan Dynasties" (1959) by S.Chand & Co. Page 14.
  24. ^ Singh 1964, p. 105.
  25. ^ Singh 1964, p. 114.
  26. ^ Singh 1964, p. 115.
  27. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 34.
  28. ^ branched off from the Chahamanas of Naddula
  29. ^ Crump, Vivien; Toh, Irene (1996). Rajasthan. London: Everyman Guides. p. 291. ISBN 1-85715-887-3.
  30. ^ a b M. S. Naravane, V. P. Malik, The Rajputs of Rajputana: a glimpse of medieval Rajasthan, p. 121
  31. ^ "About Kota". Rajasthan Travel. Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  32. ^ Ashok kumar Patnaik (December 2009), The Mirror Reflection of Sambalpur State through the Courtly Chronicle called Kosalananda Kavyam, Odisha History Congress, retrieved 12 March 2021
  33. ^ Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh: A to G, Volume 1. Lucknow. 1877. p. 126.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  34. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Cutch, Palanpur, and Mahi Kantha 2015, p. 334, 350-351.
  35. ^ Brentnall, Mark (2004). The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh. Vol. 1. New Delhi: Indus Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 978-81-7387-163-4. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  37. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sonpur" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 416.