This article was written by Shivangi Kaushik.
Princess Sanyogita was a daughter of King Jaichand of Kannauj (in modern-day India). She was in love with Prithviraj Chauhan, King of Delhi. She had heard about his bravery and courage and wanted to marry him. Her father did not like Prithviraj Chauhan because he had refused to accept Jaichand as a Supreme ruler and as an Emperor. From that day on Jaichand considered Prithviraj Chauhan his enemy.
Jaichand wanted to organise a swayamvar for his daughter, which is a custom where the princesses were allowed to choose their own husband from among the most eligible Princes and Kings. As a result of the animosity between Jaichand and Prithviraj Chauhan, Prithviraj Chauhan was not invited to the swayamvar, but he knew that Sanyogita loved him and wanted to marry him. He had also heard about the beauty and wisdom of Princess Sanyogita and wanted to make her his bride.
So, he devised a plan to be in Kannauj on the day of swayamvar. He disguised himself as a servant of the most learned and wise poet of his court and asked his poet friend to disguise himself as a learned man from Delhi. A few days before the swayamvar both of them, along with few soldiers disguised as horsemen and coachmen, reached Kannauj. They went to the court of Jaichand to pay their respects. Though they were from his enemy’s Kingdom, Jaichand received them with respect and asked to accept his hospitality and be his guest, but after looking at the servant Jaichand, he could tell by the mannerisms that he was no ordinary servant. He knew of his daughter’s love for Prithviraj Chauhan, and he was aware that Prithviraj Chauhan reciprocated that love and wanted to marry his daughter.
So to avoid any incidents he changed the date of the swayamvar, and on the designated date all the princes and Kings seeking the hand of Princess Sanyogitao in marriage were welcomed in the court. Princess Sanyogita came to the court with a flower garland in her hands and looked at the men present there, and she realised that she might have had to marry one of them and not the person whom she loved. At the entrance of the court, her father had put a statue of Prithviraj Chauhan in place of the palace guard to humiliate him. She slowly walked past all the Princes and Kings halting briefly in front of each one of them and thinking about what to do. She went towards the statue of Prithviraj Chauhan, looked back towards her father and put the garland of flowers around the neck of the statue.
At the very next moment, she saw a rider on a horse approaching her and when she looked up, she realised it was King Prithviraj Chauhan himself. He lifted her off the ground and put her on the back of the horse. It happened so quickly that King Jaichand took a moment to realise what had happened and who the rider was. He ordered his guards to chase them. The few soldiers who accompanied Prithviraj Chauhan fought with the guards, but they were outnumbered.
Prithviraj Chauhan along with his bride headed towards Delhi, and many soldiers lost their lives fighting for King Prithviraj Chauhan as he reached Delhi safely with his bride. He married her upon arrival in Delhi. Raja Jaichand never forgot the humiliation, and in the following years, he helped Muslim invader Mohammad Ghazni to defeat Prithviraj Chauhan. The rule of Rajputs came to an end in Delhi and laid the foundation of the Delhi Sultanate.
The love between Prithviraj and Sanyogita is one of India’s most popular medieval romances, but the historicity of the Sanyogita episode remains a matter of debate.