Once Alexander the Great reached the borders of India, he had a plethora of elephants under his command. When it came to vanquishing Porus, who ruled Punjab, Alexander had to face a formidable body of between 85 and 100 war elephants during the Battle of Hydaspes River. Alexander could see that the Kings of the Nanda Empire and Gangaridai could let loose between 3,000 and 6,000 war elephants.
Such strength was much larger than the number which was employed by the Persians and the Greeks, which deterred Alexander's small group of men and successfully halted their grand entrance into India. Alexander involved his infantry and cavalry, ultimately crushing Porus's forces, including elephant corps, at some cost. Alexander deduced that the kingdoms further east were too overpowering, and it wasn't worth the risk.
Alexander the Great was not able to conquer India because of the formidable European army that had already invaded certain parts of India. Alexander the Great had conquered many parts of the Western world and hoping to do the same in India. Alexander the Great was stopped at his point of entry into India by Porus (King Purushottama) when he came in 327 BC.
Records have it that Alexander won the battle and soon after this battle he returned to Greece and ended this ambition of conquering the world. During this battle, some fired and arrow to Alexander, and it pierced through his lungs, but his soldiers carried him from out of the battlefield, and fortunately, he didn’t die. A few years down the line, Alexander the Great died, and his generals shared his Empire among themselves. In summary, Alexander the Great couldn’t invade India due to the European army in India.
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B. Denton, Traveler, journalism, Greater Manchester
Answered Sep 30, 2019
Alexander the Great was unable to conquer India because he met a formidable military force in the eastern part of India. Alexander, together with his soldiers, were able to defeat king Porus and his armies as they were advancing into Indian borders. This battle was so fierce that Alexander himself sustained so many injuries, and there were so many casualties on his side. However, he was able to defeat king Porus and his soldiers. Alexander couldn't conquer India because he thought he would defeat the Indian empire very easily as he did to the empire of Persia.
But the encounter he had with king Porus hinted him that conquering India wouldn't be a successful mission. Indian empire was so strong, according to history, it had about 200,000 soldiers and 3000 large elephants. Although, Alexander planned to go ahead with the attack, his soldiers resisted him, and they all returned home, but Alexander died on his way home.
There are several theories, which historians love to argue over, as to why Alexander the Great did not conquer India. Some of them are way out in the left field and do not deserve to be poked with a stick. There are a few, however, that bear closer scrutiny.
As Alexander marched his army across the known world at the time, the actual layout of the earth had not yet been fully mapped out. There were “edges” to the world at the time, which was the amount of land that man had actually visited, and put to paper. These edges were considered to be the “end of the earth” and to go farther was to invite death, and the unknown that lay beyond.
At the time, many operated under the assumption that the earth was flat, and one could fall off. While this was beginning to be scientifically tested by great minds, superstition was prevailing. The gods and goddesses, as well as the demons of the underworld, influenced the ancient world immensely.
As Alexander the Great pushed his armies through territory after territory, they would have been met with similar weapons and trappings of war. Much of this changed when they reached the border of India. While the Indian populace was not thought to be as advanced as the Greek world, (to be honest, no one was considered to be as sophisticated as the Greeks by the Greeks), they were met with something that they would not have seen previously. These were elephants. Elephants were used as load bearing animals, as well as to carry men into battle, much as camels, donkeys, and horses were used in many other countries. The Macedonian troops would have encountered camels and donkeys routinely, as caravaners employed them to move heavy loads.
Camels could also go longer distances without water, which made them extremely useful when moving across vast deserts. Elephants, on the other hand, would have been a new animal to many of the Macedonian troops. But, Alexander did not really have the element of surprise when it came to India. There had been some trade with the Macedonians and Indian populace in the past, but there was still an air of mystery when it came to the oriental world. Many thought that India was inhabited by giants. Some of the tribes did have extremely tall inhabitants, with some of the leaders being recorded as being 7 feet tall.
Alexander the Great joined forces with a few of the Indian Kings but was unable to take another by surprise. No amount of feints and surprise movements could budge King Porus. Alexander was finally forced to make the first move, leaving King Porus on the defense. Many historians have debated aspects of the battle for years, as there seems to have been miscommunications going on, and orders being confused as to their meaning. While Alexander was initially able to bring part of India into the Macedonian fold, after his death, it quickly fell back into Indian hands, cutting the Greeks out of India once more.
Mike John, Content Explorer, MCA, Los Angeles, California, USA
Answered Jan 14, 2019
Although Alexander the Great had his eyes set on India, he was unable to fulfill this dream. Although he was able to conquer much of the West, the issues surrounding his attempt to invade India is under a lot of controversy.
It was in 327 BC that Alexander arrived in India and made his attempt to cross the Jhelum river. Knowing his intention to invade and conquer, King Purushottama (King Porus) opposed him. Indian History clearly states that Alexander and his army was defeated and he retreated. But Western history makes the claim that King Purushottama was defeated by Alexander the Great and his army.
Another perspective is that Alexander conquered the army of Purushottama, but that he could not continue for unknown reasons. Some posit that King Purushottama was able to convince Alexander that there is no sense in continuing there. This prompted him to leave, and Purushottama would remain as King as before.
Even if it was proved that Alexander had actually conquered the army of Purushottama, this would not answer our question properly. India was ruled by many kings with their own kingdoms. According to how kingdoms were conquered, they would make such kings their vassal and would have to pay tribute. But that would leave Alexander to continue and defeat so many more kings and their armies before being able to claim that he conquered India.