Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum)

The battle of Hydaspes (also battle of Jhelum) was fought between Alexander the Great and King Porus on the bank of River Hydaspes (modern day Jhelum River). In the battle, the army of King Porus was defeated by the Macedonian army of Alexander.

Porus was the brave king of Paurava Kingdom located in modern day Punjab district of Pakistan.

The Battle took place in 326 B.C.

The army of King Porus was a vast one. It comprised of thousands of infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants. He mustered his army on the bank of the Hydaspes (Jhelum) opposite to Alexander’s camp on the other bank. The main problem before Alexander was the crossing of the Jhelum. He carefully laid his plans for crossing of the river.

The Macedonian army of Alexander crossed the river with his army 17 miles upstream. Alexander’s crossing of the Jhelum was a surprise for Porus. However, Porus marched forward to give battle to the enemy.

Porus arranged his army by placing the elephant at the centre flanked by his cavalry. The infantry stood behind the elephants.

The main strength of Porus was the chariots which were drawn by four horses. Each chariot could carry upto 6 soldiers. When fighting at close range, they took up sword, lance or axe to kill the enemy, hurling the blows from the chariots.

Alexander was clever enough to cross the river during monsoon.  Due to monsoon, the chariots became out of use due to rain and mud. The bowmen failed to take correct aims as the end of their bows slipped on muddy ground. The elephants too got frightened and ran in great disorder killing Porus’ troops.

Although the Indians under Porus fought with uncommon heroism, the superior cavalry, of the Macedonians and the clever leadership of Alexander scattered the Indian army. Porus fought with remarkable bravery and received many wounds on his body.

When King Porus found that his army was defeated, he surrendered at last.

Alexander being highly impressed with the bravery shown by King Porus and his army, appointed him as satrap of several of the territories and villages. The conquests of Alexander continued in India.

Alexander won the battle but suffered huge losses. But, the battle ultimately opened the gate of India for the Macedonians.