Conquests of Alexander in India


Introduction: In the spring of 327 B.C. Alexander the Great decided to cross the Hindkush mountain range and move forward for conquests in India. He was accompanied by a large army of more than 30,000 men.

The army of Alexander marched towards the Indus. The Macedonian troops with their glittering spears and shining helmets caused terror among the local tribes. They offered almost no resistance till the invaders reached the Indus.


First Opposition: The first ruler to oppose them was the King of Pushkalavati. He resisted the attack of the Macedonians for 30 days died a hero’s death in the defence of his capital. The fort was taken by the Macedonians.

The advancing column completed its mission and waited for the arrival of the second part of the Macedonian army led by Alexander.

Conquest of Asvakas: The second section of the Macedonian army led by Alexander marched through the valley lying to north of the Kabul River. He had to face at every step the opposition of numerous tribes who were extremely war like in disposition. Alexander suppressed these tribes and also conquered Western Asvakas.


Alexander was destined to face a great resistance from the Eastern Asvakas. The king of the Eastern Asvakas had made an alliance with the king of Abhisara and received some military contingents from him. The army of Easter Asvakas fought bravely but Alexander managed to conquer the fort of Massaga.

Indus opened: The capture of Massaga did not bring the collapse of the Eastern Asvaka resistance. Alexander then learnt that the Eastern Asvakas had taken a formidable stand in the famous fort of Aornos. Alexander stormed the fort and slaughtered the garrison. The fall of Aornos led to the complete collapse of the power of the Eastern Asvakas.

The road to the Indus was opened. Alexander reached the Indus and was glad to find that the first section of his army had already constructed a bridge of boats on the Indus.


Taxila: In 326 B.C., Alexander had crossed Indus.  Ambhi, the king of Taxila entered into a treaty with Alexander.  King Ambhi came forward to greet him. The gate of the city of Taxila was thrown open to the Mecedonians.

The surrender of Ambhi opened the gates of Punjab to the Macedonians. Perhaps, Ambhi did this to take revenge against his neighbour king Porus.

War with Porus: King Porus was not ready to surrender. The King of Paurava kingdom, Porus, was prepared to meet the army of Alexander. The kingdom was situated between Jhelum and Chnab river.

The historic battle between Porus and Alexander was fought on the bank of Jhelum river (Hydaspes river) in 326 B.C. The battle is known as Battle of Hydaspes. The army of King Porus was huge and Alexander carefully laid his plans. Porus bravely fought against Alexander. He received several wounds on his body.  After a tough battle the army of King Porus was defeated. King Porus surrendered at last.


Alexander was highly impressed with the bravery of King Porus and appointed him as a satrap of not only in his own Kingdom but also granted him additional territories.

Alexander conquered other several territories near River Indus.

March towards River Beas: After the great victory in the Battle of Hydaspes, Alexander had a sweeping march up to the Beas.

Alexander heard the glory of Nanda Empire: The Magadha Empire was on the east of the empire of Porus. The king of the Magadha Empire was Dhana Nanda. He was the son of Mahapadma Nanda and last ruler of Nanda Dynasty. The Magadha army under Nanda Empire was vast. The infantry size of Nanda army was of more than two lakh people. Further, it has large number of elephants, chariots and cavalry.

The army of Alexander was exhausted. They could gather the courage to meet such large army of Magadha.

The return from river Beas: After reaching the river Beas, the army of Alexander refused to proceed further in spite of his appeals. Then he decided to return. He marched back to the Jhelum and there collected a fleet of boats and sailed down the Jhelum (Hydaspes) and the lower Indus. The rest of his army marched along both the banks of the river.

Conquest of the local tribes: In course of this voyage towards the Lower Indus, Alexander faced fierce opposition from the republican tribes of the region. There was heavy loss to Alexander’s army.  However, Alexander conquered the country. Alexander sailed further down the river receiving submission of other republican tribes in the region.

Conquest of Sind: The rulers of Sind strongly resisted the Macedonian army but were defeated in a pitched battle. The region of Sind came under the control of Alexander.

Patiala: Sailing further down the Indus, the Macedonian army reached the city of Patiala.  The city surrendered to Alexander without opposition.

Return of Alexander: The Macedonian army returned to Persia in 324 B.C. Alexander left some of his generals at the conquered territories who ruled the region for some years.

While Alexander was encamping at Babylon, he succumbed to a fatal attack of fever in 323 B.C

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