Rajaraja Chola III
|Rajaraja Chola III
மூன்றாம் இராஜராஜ சோழன்
Chola territories c. 1246 CE
|Predecessor||Kulothunga Chola III|
|Successor||Rajendra Chola III|
|Issue||Rajendra Chola III|
|Father||Kulothunga Chola III|
|List of Chola kings|
|Interregnum (c. 200–848)|
Rajaraja Chola III succeeded Kulothunga Chola III on the Chola throne in July 1216 CE. Rajaraja came to the throne of a kingdom much reduced in size as well as influence. With the rise of the Pandya power in the south, the Cholas had lost most of their control of the territories south of the river Kaveri and their hold on the Vengi territories in the north was slipping with the emergence of the Hoysala power.
Period of political changes
The reign of Rajaraja III was a period of continuous trouble. It coincided with a period of great political changes in South India. Rajaraja was neither a great warrior nor a statesman to deal with the prevailing situation. The Pandyas in the south and the Hoysalas in the west had by now risen to the ranks of great powers led by rulers of exceptional merit. The only chance of survival for the Cholas was the rivalry between these new powers, neither of whom wanted the Cholas to come under the other's influence. The Chalukyas of Kalyani had given way for the rising power of the Seunas and the Andhra country around the Vengi territories were controlled by the Telugu Cholas.
This was the signal the Chola feudatories and the overgrown vassals were waiting for in order to declare their independence. At the earliest opportunity that arose, they transferred their allegiance to either of the growing powers. Rajaraja Chola III came to power at this stage and he was the most incompetent king. His reign was characterised by growing revolt and conflicts even in nominally Chola territories. The Kadava chieftains of Kudalur were quick to take advantage of the growing weakness of their suzerain.
Rajaraja was evidently not only weak, but incompetent. Pandyan inscriptions of the period state that he deliberately broke the terms of the treaty with his Pandyan overlord and refused to pay his tribute. This led to a punitive invasion by the Pandya forces. The Pandya army entered the Chola capital and Rajaraja took flight.
The Kadava Kopperunchinga I who had once been a Chola feudatory had begun to exercise their independence. Kopperunchinga wanted to gain some ground in the confused state of affairs. Muttiyampakkam is to be identified with the present village of Muttumbaka of the Gudur taluk ofNellore district, as has ... the Kadava chieftain Kopperunjinga who had imprisoned the Chola emperor Raja Raja-Ill (1216-1257 A. D.). He caught and imprisoned the fleeing Chola king at Sendamangalam.
When the Hoysala king Narasimha heard of the abduction of Rajaraja, and the subsequent devastation of the Chola country by Kopperunchinga's men, he immediately sent his army into the Chola country. The Hoysala army engaged Kopperunchinga's troops and sacked two of his towns. When the Hoysala army was preparing to lay siege to the Kadava capital of Sendamangalam, Kopperunchinga sued for peace and released the Chola king.
While his generals were attacking the Kadava chieftain Kopperunchinga, the Hoysala king Narasimha himself led his troops against the Pandya. A decisive battle took place between the Pandya and the Hoysala troops near Mahendramangalam on the banks of the river Kaveri and the Pandya army was defeated.
State of the Chola kingdom
For the rest of his reign Rajaraja had to depend heavily on Hoysala help. There was a continuous decrease in order within the kingdom and the disregard for the central control on the part of the feudatories increased. The extent of the kingdom over which Rajaraja had nominal control remained as during the times of Kulothunga III. Rajaraja recognised his son Rajendra Chola III as heir apparent in 1246 CE. Rajaraja however continued to live until 1260 CE.
Kulothunga Chola III
Rajendra Chola III
- Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
- Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).