Chola occupation of Anuradhapura
|Historical states in
present-day Sri Lanka
|History of Sri Lanka|
The period of Chola occupation of Sri Lanka began in 993 when Raja Raja Chola sent a large Chola army which conquered northern Sri Lanka and added it to the Chola Empire. The rest of Sri Lanka was annexed by Rajendra I in 1017-18.
There were frequent rebellions by the dispossessed Sinhalese monarchs mainly Mahinda V, Vikramabahu I, Mahalanakitti and Vijayabahu. In 1077, Vijayabahu succeeded in driving out the Cholas thereby putting an end to more than eight decades of Chola rule in the island.
The Cholas fought many subsequent wars and attempted to reconquer Sri Lanka as the Sinhalese monarchs were allies of their arch-enemies, the Pandyas.
The tirumagal inscription of Raja Raja Chola dated to 993 AD first mentions Sri Lanka among the king's conquests. Taking advantage of a civil war which had caused the Sinhalese monarch Mahinda V to flee to the south-east province of Sri Lanka known as Ruhuna, Raja Raja Chola invaded Sri Lanka sometime between 991 and 993 AD and conquered the northern part of the country and incorporated it into his kingdom as a province named "Mummudi-sola-mandalam" after himself. The capital was at Polonnaruwa which was renamed "Jananathamangalam".
As per the Sinhalese Buddhist chronicle Mahavamsa, the conquest of Sri Lanka was completed by his son Rajendra Chola I in the 36th year of the reign of the Sinhalese monarch Mahinda V, i.e. about 1017-18. According to the Karandai plates, Rajendra Chola led a large army into Sri Lanka and captured Mahinda's crown, queen, daughter, vast amount of wealth and the king himself whom he took as a prisoner to India. The whole of Sri Lanka including the south-eastern province of Ruhuna were incorporated into the Chola Empire.
Eleven years after the Chola conquest of Ruhuna, Mahinda V's son Vikramabahu I rose in rebellion. Taking advantage of uprisings in the Pandya kingdom and Kerala, Vikramabahu I massacred the Chola garrisons in Ruhuna and drove the 95,000-strong Chola army to Pulatthinagara. Soon afterwards, Vikramabahu crowned himself king of Ruhuna. Vikramabahu's mysterious death in 1041, however, brought an end to the war. His successor Mahalanakitti tried to drive the Cholas out of Sri Lanka but failed and hence, took his own life in disgrace. His successor Vijayabahu who ascended the throne in 1058 supported rebellions in the Chola province or Rajarattha in Northern Sri Lanka. The then Chola monarch Virarajendra responded by sending a large Chola army into Ruhuna and forcing it into subjugation. The Chola army plundered the capital Kajaragama and drove the king into flight. Vijayabahu, however, renewed his attacks on Chola garrisons after an interval of three years.
End of Chola rule 
In 1070, during the reign of Kulothunga I, Vijayabahu attacked and captured Pulatthinagara and drove Cholas out of the city. Kulottunga sent a large army which engaged Vijayabahu in a pitched battle near Anuradhapura. The Cholas, initially succeeded in driving Vijayabahu to seek refuge in Vatagiri but Vijayabahu took Mahanagakula on the Walaweganga and conducted his resistance from there. Pulatthinagara and Anuradhapura fell to Vijayabahu and Mahatittha was soon occupied. Having liberated the whole of the island of Sri Lanka from Chola rule, Vijayabahu crowned himself king of Sri Lanka in 1076-77.
Raja Raja Chola commemorated his conquest of northern Sri Lanka by constructing a Shiva temple at Polonnaruwa. The Siva temple of Polonnaruwa which has survived to the present day is contemporaneous with the Brihadesswarar Temple at Thanjavur. One of his army officers Tali Kumaran constructed a Rajarajeswara Temple at Mantota. Raja Raja Chola's son and successor Rajendra I has left some inscriptions of his at the Shiva temple at Polonnaruwa. All Shiva and Vishnu temple remains found at Polonnaruwa also date from this time.
See also 
- K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, K.A (2000) . The CōĻas. Madras: University of Madras.
- "The Politics of Plunder: The Cholas in Eleventh-Century Ceylon, Authour: George W. Spencer". The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3 (May, 1976), pp. 405-419.
- Peebles, Patrick. (2006). The history of Sri Lank. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-33205-3.
- Silva, Kingsley (1981). A History of Sri Lanka. London Berkeley: Hurst Los Angeles University of California press. ISBN 978-0-905838-50-2.
- Sirisena, W. M. (1978). Sri Lanka and South-East Asia : political, religious and cultural relations from A.D. c. 1000 to c. 150. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 90-04-05660-2.
- Blaze, L (2004). History of Ceylon. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-1841-6.
- Clothey, Fred W. (2006). Ritualizing on the boundaries : continuity and innovation in the Tamil diaspora. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 3–30. ISBN 1-57003-647-0.
- Codrington, H (1994). A short history of Ceylon. New Delhi, Madras, India: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-0946-8.
- Krishnaswami Aiyangar, Sakkottai (2004). Ancient India : collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-1850-5.