Alexander the Great – Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) against Porus – Invasion of India 327 BC – 326 BC

Alexander the great after defeating the rulers in Persia moved towards the East. He had already known the riches of the Magadha Empire, which was under the rule of the Nanda Dynasty.

Alexander the Great - Head Sclupture

Alexander the Great – Head Sclupture

But before they could reach the province of Magadha they had to face a mighty king of Punjab, Porus (Parvateshwar). Punjab lies in the north western province of India between the two rivers Hydaspes (Jhelum) and Indus. Alexander had 11000 soldiers while he was supposed to fight an army of 40000 soldiers of Porus.

Alexander the Great - Battle of Hydaspes against Porus - 327 BC

Alexander the Great – Battle of Hydaspes against Porus – 327 BC

The biggest fear of Alexander’s army was the battle elephants. Alexander has heard about these big beasts and had to take all the care not to fall in their way.

In the first line of battle about 400 Indian Soldiers died along with Porus’s Son. On hearing this Porus had to rush in with 200 war elephants and a huge army. The battle was fierce and it was raining heavily. Alexander the great got lucky, the battle horses went ineffective due to rain, and so did the archers.  The war elephants killed a lot of soldiers, both friends and foes.

Porus was captured in the battle and in a dramatic way, was returned the kingdom of Punjab, as he and Alexander became friends. Two of the cities were renamed Boukephala in honor of Alexander’s favorite horse Bucephalus, which died in the battle and the other he called Alexandria in honor of his own name.

Empire of Alexander the Great 323 BC

Empire of Alexander the Great 323 BC

After the battle, Alexander wanted to continue with the conquest but had to stop because of primarily three reasons

  • Alexander’s army was simply terrified with the courage shown by Porus’s army. The Mauryan Empire was supposed to be far more powerful than Porus’s kingdom
  • Alexander’s army was homesick, they were away from home for more than seven years.
  • Fear of elephants could be seen in the eyes of the soldiers. Elephants were just as big as tanks for a modern day warfare.
Alexander The Great and Roxana, his wife after return from Indica - Canvas 1756 AD

Alexander The Great and Roxana, his wife after return from Indica – Canvas 1756 AD

At the end of this Alexander had no choice but to return to his home province of Macedonia. He left his officials to rule over the parts and places he had captured but after his death in 323 BC Greeks were driven away from India by Chandragupta Maurya.

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