India is proud to be home to the valiant warriors who set new paradigms for the rest to follow in every era. These warriors were not only exemplary when it came to close-combat but also drafted brilliant strategies that are still very much applicable. It requires more than absolute brilliance to be remembered for centuries. The list of such warriors is endless and ranges from Cholas, Mauryas, Chauhans, Rajputs to Mughals. Here is the list of top 10 greatest warriors in Indian history:
1. Shivaji (1627/1630 to April 3, 1680):
The founder of Maratha Empire, Chatrapati Shivaji was a gallant ruler whose empire enclosed almost complete Indian subcontinent at one point of time. He is regarded as one of the very few rulers in the Indian history that led a resistance movement against mighty Mughals and Adishahi Sultanate of Bijapur. It was him who formed Hindavi Swarajya for the first time that accounted for complete Hindu rule. His combat and guerrilla warfare stories are still very famous.
2. Maharana Pratap (May 9, 1540 to January 9, 1597):
Maharana Pratap was a very brave Hindu Rajput ruler from Rajasthan. His stories of outstanding bravery against the Mughals especially Akbar can give goose bumps to many till date. His struggle with Akbar can be traced back on the same lines as in the case of Shivaji and Aurangzeb. In short, he fought against the invading Mughals to save his motherland from their clutches and sacrificed his life. Maharana Pratap along with his legendary horse Chetak spent a long time in the forests when the war was going on.
3. Rani Lakshmi Bai (November 19, 1828 to June 18, 1858):
Queen of Maratha ruled state of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai is one of the most popular female warriors in the Indian history. She was also one of the leaders in the rebellion of 1857. She was ordered to vacate the throne of Jhansi under the “Doctrine of Lapse” once her husband and Maharaja of the state left for heavenly abode. She fought against the Britishers with her small army. She is symbolized in the history books as a warrior riding a horse with her toddler tied on the back.
4. Prithviraj Chauhan (1149 to 1192 CE):
A king from the Hindu Chauhan dynasty (Chauhamana), Prithviraj Chauhan ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi during his reign in the latter part of 12th century. As per the Indian history, Prithviraj Chauhan defeated the Muslim ruler Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain but let him free as an open gesture. However, in the preceding war he was defeated and captured as a war prisoner. Subsequently, his eyes were pierced with iron rod.
5. Samudragupta (c.335 to c.375 CE):
The famous ruler of Gupta Empire, Samudragupta is considered to be one of the finest strategists of his times. He was the direct successor to Chandragupta I and always ruled on the fundamentals of war and aggression. His glorious conquests through the southern India along the coast of Bay of Bengal are highly renowned. He was known as the “Chakravati Raja” in the northern part of India due to his passion for victories in the war.
6. Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (c 380 to 413/415 CE):
He was one of the most powerful kings of the Gupta Empire who ruled the northern India for a long time. He was the son of Samudragupta the Great. The period of his rule is referred to as the Golden Age of India in the history books. Chandragupta II Vikramaditya ruled fearlessly for a very long time and went on to aggressively expand his empire like his predecessor did.
7. Chandragupta Maurya (340 BC to 298 BC):
Founder of the Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta Maurya unified different states of India into one empire when the Indian sub-continent was about to fall apart. He is regarded as one of the greatest warriors ever born on the land of India. This great warrior even finds a mention in Greek and Latin historical records where he was equated along with Alexander The great for defeating Alexander’s successors and gaining control over some parts of his empire.
8. Sher Shah Suri (1486 to 22 May 1545):
Farid Khan or Sher Khan, or better known as Sher Shah Suri was the founder of Sur Empire in the Indian Subcontinent. Later, he took control over the reins of the Mughal Empire. Some historians regard him as the best strategist and the most competent army general in the Indian history. He is also remembered for killing a tiger without using any weapon in the jungles of Bihar.
9. Akbar (October 14, 1542 to October 27, 1605):
A third generation ruler in the Mughal Empire, Akbar ruled almost all of the northern and central India. He is celebrated highly for his unmatched acumen in forming strategies and splendid victory in the Second Battle of Panipat. He is also known for his military innovations that were later adopted by many other kings as well. His shrewd warfare tactics can be learnt from a multitude of battles and wars described in various history books.
10. Rajendra Chola (son of Rajaraj Chola I) (1012 to 1044 CE):
One of the greatest rulers of the Tamil Chola Dynasty, Rajendra Chola was a very talented administrator and warrior. He expended his empire to the Coast of Burma, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Maldives and Pegu islands. It is believed that Cholas became one of the most powerful dynasties under his rule and the glory surged to a new high.