Rajendra Chola I
- "Rajendra Chola" redirects here. For Rajendra Chola II, see Rajendra Chola II.
|Rajendra Chola I
முதலாம் இராஜேந்திர சோழன்
|Parakesari, Yuddhamalla, Mummudi, Gangaikonda Chola|
|Successor||Rajadhiraja Chola I|
|Issue||Rajadhiraja Chola I
Rajendra Chola II
Rajendra Chola I was the son of Rajaraja Chola I and is considered one of the greatest rulers and military leaders of the Indian Tamil Chola Empire. He succeeded his father in 1014 CE as the Chola emperor. During his reign, he extended the influences of the already vast Chola empire up to the banks of the river Ganges in north India and across the ocean. During his reign the Chola Empire became the most powerful Empire of India. Rajendra’s territories extended, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and he successfully invaded the territories of Srivijaya in Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Indonesia in South East Asia with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala, the Pala king of Bengal and Bihar, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
The Cholas became one of the most powerful dynasties in Asia during his reign. The Tamil Chola armies exacted tribute from Thailand and the Khmer kingdom of Cambodia. The successful invasions of Rajendra Chola were applauded by several medieval Tamil poets like Jayamkondan in his text Kalingattupparani and Ottakkoothar in his text Ula. He received the titles Gangai Kondan (He who took the Ganges river in north India) and Kadaram Kondan (He who took kedah in Malaysia). Like the predecessors of the Cholas, the Pallavas and the contemporaneous Pandiyans, the Cholas too under Raja Raja I the father of Rajendra and then Rajendra Chola I too undertook several expeditions to occupy territories outside Indian shores. Of these kings, it was Rajendra who made extensive overseas conquests of territories like Sri Lanka and wide areas of Southeast Asia like Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. In fact, Rajendra Chola I was the first Indian king to take his armies overseas and make conquests of these territories, even though there is epigraphical evidence of Pallava presence in these very areas, but it is not known that and Indo-China were subordinate to them, as they were under Rajendra and his successors up to Kulothunga Chola I.
After his successful campaign to Ganges he got the title Gangaikonda Chola (The Chola who took the Ganges), he also built a Shiva temple at his new capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram, similar in design to the Tanjore Brihadisvara temple built by his father Rajaraja Chola and expanded the Pathirakali Amman Temple and Koneswaram temples of Trincomalee. Rajendra Chola created at his capital a vast artificial lake, sixteen miles long and three miles wide which to this day remains one of the largest man-made lakes in India. He inherited from his father the famous title Mummudi Cholan (The Chola with three crown), Mummudi title was used by Tamil kings who ruled the three kingdoms of Chola, Pandya and Chera. He founded a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
- 1 Co-regent
- 2 Ascension and early reign
- 3 Military conquests
- 4 Expedition to the Ganges
- 5 Overseas conquests
- 6 Social work
- 7 Officials
- 8 Personal life and family
- 9 Popular culture
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Rajaraja Chola I had made the crown prince Rajendra co-regent in 1012. Both son and father reigned as equals during the final few years of Rajaraja's life. Rajendra was at the forefront of some of Rajaraja's campaigns such as those against Vengi and Kalinga towards the end of his reign.Rajendra is also famous for making rock cut chariots.
Ascension and early reign
Rajendra formally ascended the Chola throne in 1014 CE, two years after his installation as the Co Regent. Early in his reign in 1018 CE he installed his eldest son Rajadhiraja Chola I as yuvaraja (Co-regent). Rajadhiraja continued to rule alongside his father for the next 26 years. The son ruled in full regal status as the father. This practice was probably adapted initially to obviate disputed succession.
The system of choosing a successor in the lifetime and associating him in the discharge of administrative duties is an important aspect of Chola administration. The princes who had come of age were appointed in various positions of authority in the different provinces of the empire according to the individual's aptitude and talent. Those who distinguished themselves in these positions were then chosen as heir apparent. In some cases, the eldest son was overlooked in favour of a more talented younger son.
Rajendra's records include the many campaigns he carried on behalf of Rajaraja from c. 1002 CE These include the conquest of the Rashtrakuta country and region around the current northwestern Karnataka state, Southern Maharashtra up to Kolhapur and Pandharpur. Rajendra also led campaigns against the Western Chalukya Satyasraya and his successor Jayasimha-II by crossing the river Tungabhadra, carried the war into the heart of the Chalukya country and attacked their capital. He overran large parts of the Chalukyan territory including Yedatore(a large part of the Raichur district between the Krishna and the Tungabhadra), Banavasi in the north-west of Mysore, before taking a tour of the capital Mannaikadakkam (Manyakheta). Both the kings were forced to flee from their capital into the western ghats with the Chola emperor erecting a Siva temple at Bhatkal after completing his victory and levying tribute on the vanquished Chalukya kings. He also conquered Kollipakkai, modern day Kulpak located to the north of Hyderabad in present day Andhra Pradesh. Here is an excerpt of his inscription(original in Tamil) from Kolar, Karnataka:
In the 8th year of the reign of Kopparakesarivanmar sri Rajendra Sola Deva, who, while the goddess of Fortune, having become constant, increased, and while the goddess of the great Earth, the goddess of Victory in battle and the matchless goddess of Fame, having become his great queens, rejoiced-that in his extended lifetime, conquered with his great war-like army Idaiturai-nadu, Vanavasi shut in by a fence of continuous forests; Kollipakkai, whose walls were surrounded by sulli trees; Mannaikkadakkam whose fortification was unapproachable.
Conquest of Sri Lanka
Raja Raja Chola I (Rajendra's father) was able to conquer only the northern half of Sri Lanka in his time. Rajendra invaded it in 1017 CE and annex the whole of the island. As a result of the campaign, Rajendra claimed to have captured the regal jewels of the Pandya kings, which Parantaka I tried in vain to capture. Rajendra also captured the crown of the Sinhala king, his Queen and daughter. This was because they were a part of the sinhalese government. The Sinhala king Mahinda V was taken prisoner and transported to the Chola country" The same way son of pandu(arjuna) brought drupada.". He was held prisoner for over twelve years and died in captivity. However, Mahavamsa records indicates that Chola invasion and conquest of Lanka as a carnage wrought by the pillaging Chola army in the Sinhala country. The Sinhala hero Vijayabahu who vanquished Cholas from Sri Lanka made every possible effort to restore what Cholas destroyed. Chola inscriptions speak about the fight between the Cholas and the Sinhalas mainly due to the fact that the traders from Tamil country had been looted, imprisoned and killed for years together, in return for which the Cholas sent their army to invade, occupy and control the island of Sri Lanka.
Mahinda’s son Kassapa became the centre of Sihalese resistance against the Tamil Power. The war between the Cholas and the Sinhalese raged. The Cholas prevailed over the Sinhalas and re-established their control which lasted till the time of Kulothunga Chola III.
Remains of a number of Hindu temples damaged by the Sinhalas after the end of Tamil occupation in Sri Lanka have been discovered around the Polonnaruwa area attesting to the presence of the Tamil army.
In 1041 CE Rajendra had to lead another expedition into Sri Lanka to quell the continuing attacks against the Chola army by Vikramabahu. Vikramabahu died soon after and anarchy reigned outside the Chola territories. An assortment of adventurers including Sinhalese, dispossessed Pandya princes and even a certain Jagaitpala from distance Kanauj asserted authority over portions of the island. Chola army fought and defeated them all. Thus, Rajendra Chola was able to fulfill his father's dream to bring the whole Sri Lanka under Chola territory.
Pandyas and Cheras
In 1018, Rajendra made a triumphal march at the head of his army through the Pandya and Cheras countries. Rajendra’s Tiruvalangadu grants claim that he ...’took possession of the bright spotless pearls, seeds of the fame of the Pandya kings’ and that ‘...the fearless Madurantaka (Rajendra) crossed the mountains and in a fierce battle brought ruin upon the Chera kings. It is doubtful whether Rajendra added any additional territory to his empire through these campaigns as these have already been conquered by Rajaraja very early in his reign.
Rajendra appointed one of his sons as viceroy with the title Jadavarman Sundara Chola-Pandya with Madurai as the headquarters of the Viceroyalty.
C. 1021 Rajendra had to turn his attention towards the Western Chalukyas. In 1015 Jayasimha II became the Western Chalukya king. Soon after his ascension, he tried to recover the losses suffered by his predecessor Satyasraya in the hands of the Cholas, who has fled his capital, unable to withstand the Chola onslaught, but had been graciously restored to the throne by Raja Raja I and became a tribute paying subordinate. Initially Jayasimha II was successful as Rajendra was busy with his campaigns against the Pandyas and in Sri Lanka.
Jayasimha also decided to involve himself in the affairs of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi. After the demise of the Vengi king Vimaladitya, Jayasimha threw his support behind Vijayaditya VII against the claims of Rajaraja Narendra, another of Vimaladitya’s sons by the Chola princess Kundavai. Rajendra naturally had his affinity towards Rajaraja, his nephew (for Kundavai was Rajendra’s sister). A civil war ensued between Vijayaditya and Rajaraja. However with the help of Rejendra, Rajraja Narendra was soon able to defeat the forces of Vijayaditya.
Rajendra followed the same tactic adopted by his illustrious father of sending two armies, one to Vengi and the other to the Chalukyan capital itself. Rajendra’s forces met Jayasimha in the western front and defeated him in the battle of Maski.
Expedition to the Ganges
With both the Western and Eastern Chalukya fronts subdued, Rajendra’s armies undertook an extraordinary expedition. C. 1019 CE Rajendra’s forces continued to march through Kalinga to the river Ganges. The Emperor himself advanced up to the river Godavari to protect the rear of the expeditionary force. The Chola army eventually reach the Pala kingdom of Bengal where they met Mahipala and defeated him.Rajendra Chola obtained from the Pala King Mahipala elephants of rare strength, women and treasure. The Chola army also defeated the last Kambojas ruler of the Kamboja Pala dynasty Dharmapala who ruled in Dandabhukti. The Chola army went on to raid what is now Bangladesh and defeated Govindachandra of the Chandra dynasty  and invaded the Bastar region in modern Chhattisgarh.
Rajendra's army defeated the kings of Sakkarakottam and Dhandabhukti and Mahipala. These territories were initially added to the kingdom, while later they had the status of tribute paying subordinates and trade partners with the Chola Kingdom, an arrangement that lasted till the times of Kulothunga-III and to a limited extent, of Raja Raja-III too. It was undoubtedly an exhibition of the power and might of the Chola empire to the northern kingdoms. But the benevolent leadership of the Cholas treated them in a benevolent manner and did not permanently annexe them to the Chola dominions, while at the same time acting firmly to nip in the bud any ill-treatment of people from Tamil country.
To commemorate his conquests of the Chalukyas, their subordinates and feudatories like the Hoysalas, Nolamba Pallavas, Uchhangi Pandyas etc., the Palas of Bengal, Ilam, Madurai and the Cheras as well as his northern campaign to the Ganges, Rajendra assumed titles such as Gangaikonda Cholan, Mudigondasozhan and Irattapadikonda Sozhan. He also had the Shiva temple at Gangaikonacholapuram constructed. Soon after this, the capital was moved from Thanjavur to Gangaikondacholapuram.
Between the 11th and the 14th year of Rajendra’s reign c. 1025, the Chola Navy crossed the ocean and attacked the Srivijaya kingdom of Sangrama Vijayatunggavarman. Several places in Malaysia and Indonesia were invaded by Rajendra Chola I. Kadaram, the capital of the powerful maritime kingdom, was sacked and the king taken captive. Along with Kadaram, Pannai in present day Sumatra in western Indonesia and Malaiyur in the Malayan peninsula were attacked. Rajendra Chola also invaded the Tambralinga Kingdom in Southern Thailand. The Chola army invaded the Langkasuka Kingdom in modern Malaysia and South Thailand. Kedah (now in modern Malaysia) too was occupied. The Chola invasion marked the demise of the Srivijaya Empire and a sharp turn for the control of the trade route. The Chola invasion furthered the expansion of Tamil merchant associations such as the Manigramam, Ayyavole and Ainnurruvar into Southeast Asia. For the next century, Tamil trading companies from southern India dominated the Straits region(in Southeast Asia). The expedition of Rajendra Chola I had such a great impression to the Malay people of the medieval period that his name was mentioned in the corrupted form as Raja Chulan in the medieval Malay chronicle Sejarah Melaya.Even today the Chola rule is remembered in Malaysia as many Malaysian princes have names ending with Cholan or Chulan, one such was the Raja of Perak called Raja Chulan. One record of Rajendra Chola describes him as the King of the country of Lamuri in north Sumatra in Indonesia.
Sangarama Vijayatungavarman was the son of Mara Vijayatungavarman of the Sailendra dynasty. Srivijaya kingdom was located near Palembang in Sumatra. The Sailendra dynasty had been in good relations with the Chola Empire during the period of Rajaraja Chola I. Rajaraja encouraged Mara Vijayatungavarman to build the Chudamani Vihara at Nagapattinam. Rajendra confirmed this grant in the Anaimangalam grants showing that the relationship with Srivijaya was still continued be friendly. It seems that the Khmer king Suryavarman I requested aid from the powerful Chola Emperor Rajendra Chola against Tambralinga kingdom. After learning of Suryavarman's alliance with Rajendra Chola, the Tambralinga kingdom requested aid from the Srivijaya king Sangrama Vijayatungavarman. This eventually led to the Chola Empire coming into conflict with the Srivijiya Empire. The war ended with a victory for the Chola dynasty and major losses for the Sri Vijaya Empire and the Tambralinga kingdom. Rajendra Chola dealt a crushing blow to Sri Vijayas maritime might and monopoly. After this the Chola Empire conquered large portions of the Sri Vijaya Empire including its ports of Ligor, Kedah and Tumasik. The highest rewards of the campaign were the conquests of Kedah in Malaysia and Palembang in Indonesia for the Chola Dynasty. This alliance somewhat also has religious nuance, since both the Chola Empire and the Khmer empire are Hindu Shivaist, while Tambralinga kingdom and Sri Vijaya are Mahayana Buddhist.
The Cholas had an active trade relationship with the eastern island. Moreover the Srivijaya kingdom and the South Indian empires were the intermediaries in the trade between China and the countries of the Western world. Both the Srivijaya and Cholas had active dialogue with the Chinese and sent diplomatic missions to China.
The Chinese records of the Song Dynasty show that first mission to China from Chu-lien (Chola) reached that country in 1015 CE and the king of their country was Lo-ts’a-lo-ts’a (Rajaraja). Another embassy from Shi-lo-cha Yin-to-loChu-lo (Sri Raja Indra Chola) reached China in 1033 CE and a third in 1077 CE during Kulothunga Chola I. The commercial intercourse between Cholas and the Chinese were continuous and extensive.
One other reason could be a trade dispute stemming from some attempts by Srivijaya to throw some obstacle between the flourishing trade between China and the Cholas. Sangaram Vijayatungavarman was restored to the throne at his agreement to pay periodic tribute to Rajendra.
Rajendra’s long reign saw almost continuous campaigns and conflicts trying to hold his huge empire together. Rajendra’s sons carried out most of the campaigns during the late period of his reign. The emperor refrained from taking the field personally allowing his sons to win glory and distinction.
Rebellions in the Pandya and Chera countries called for severe action and Rajadhiraja Chola I suppressed them. He also undertook a campaign in Sri Lanka to quell a rebellion instigated by Kassapa.
Rajendra Chola created at his capital a vast artificial lake, sixteen miles long and three miles wide which to this day remains one of the largest man-made lakes in India. The fortified capital of Rajendra Chola appears to have been of impressive grandeur. Ottakuttar, the poet laureate to three Chola kings of the 12th century, declared:"On seeing Gangapuri (capital of Rajendra Chola) all fourteen worlds encircled by the billowing ocean are overwhelmed with joy. Rajendra Chola was very pious and he converted many of the temples that were originally brick structures into stone shrines just like his mother.
The closing years of Rajendra form the most splendid period of Cholas. The extent of the empire was the widest and the military and naval prestige was at its highest. He was assisted by his sons and other members of his family. The Chola imperialism was a benevolent one attested by the presence of the traditional rulers in the Pandya and Kerala countries and the act of reinstating the Srivijaya king after his defeat.
Senapati Narakkan Sri Krishnan Raman alias Rajendra-Chola-Brahmamarayan of Keralantaka Chaturvedimangalam. The others include Irayiravan Pallavaraiyan who also served during the reign of his father. Raman Arumoziyaan son of Krishnan Raman called as Uththamasola brahmarayan, became senapati after Krishnan Raman.
Personal life and family
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2015)|
Rajendra Cholan I, the only son of Rajaraja Cholan, was born o Thiruvathirai in the Tamil month of Margalzhi Thingal. He was originally called Maduranthagan. He spent most of his childhood in Palayarai and was brought up by his father's sister Kundavai and great-grandmother Sembian Madevi in the saivisam way.
Rajendra Chola had many queens. Some of them mentioned in inscriptions are Tribuvana or Vanavan Mahadeviar, Mukkokilan, Panchavan Mahadevi, Arindhavan Madevi and Viramadevi who committed sati on Rajendra’s death. The Siddanta Saravali of Trilochana Sivacharya who was a contemporary of Kulothunga III says that King Rajendran was a good writer and that he did compose hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. The temple inscriptions as well as Sthalapuranam of Tirumagaral, a Shiva temple near kanchipuram, say that the emperor was waylaid by lord Shivan who appeared to him as a golden crocodile and enslaved him there. For this reason the lord goes by the name Udumbeeswarar in the temple of Magaral. After being blessed with a vision, the emperor donated gold for regular conduct of festivals like Tiruvadirai and Kumbabishekham in the temple.
The emperor is also known to have personally participated with love in the Saiva Agama worship rituals of the temple. The king was also a scholar of vedas and agamas and received title pandita chola for the same.
Of his sons, three followed him on the Chola throne in succession. Rajadhiraja Chola, Rajendra Chola II and Virarajendra Chola of whom we do not know the identity of the Madurai viceroy Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya. Rajendra Cholan had two daughters - named Pranaar Arul Mozhi Nangai and Ammanga Devi.
India's first Merchant Navy Training Ship TS Rajendra was named in his honour.
- The Tamil novelist Akilan wrote Vengayin Maindhan, which covers the life and achievements of Rajendra Chola and won a Sahitya Academy Award.
- Another Tamil novelist, Vembu Vikiraman, has written Gangapuri Kavalan, of which Rajendra Chola is the hero
- Sandilyan wrote Mannan Magal, set in the period of Rajendra Chola's military expedition to the Ganges
- Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India by Moti Chandra p.213
- Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India by Jaswant Lal Mehta p.37
- Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium by Ronald Findlay,Kevin H. O'Rourke p.67
- Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India by Moti Chandra p.213
- Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia by Hermann Kulke,K Kesavapany,Vijay Sakhuja p.170
- Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia by Andrea L. Stanton,Edward Ramsamy,Peter J. Seybolt,Carolyn M. Elliott p.18
- The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine p.866
- Art of the Imperial Cholas by Vidya Dehejia: p.79
- Temples of South India by V.V. Subba Reddy p.118
- See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p165
- Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 32
- Indian History with Objective Questions and Historical Maps Twenty-Sixth Edition 2010, South India page 59
- See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p166
- Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, page 70
- Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.281
- West Bengal District Gazetteers: Nadīa p.63
- The Cambridge Shorter History of India p.145
- Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India by Professor S.K. Tiwari p.161
- See Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1935). The CōĻas, pp 209 – 212. Sastri bases his argument on the fact that these regions were not included in the inscriptions of his successors, though successive Chola Kings from Rajaraja I to Kulothunga III have assumed titles as 'Kings who conquered Ilam', reinforcing the fact that off and on, rebellions were being quelled and Chola authority on the island of 'Ilangai' was maintained, despite a later king of Lanka sending an embassy to the Chola adversary Vikramaditya VI of the Chalukya dynasty, subsequent to which another expedition to Ilangai caused the Sinhala king to flee to Rohana hills on the South Coast of that country.
- Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India by Moti Chandra p.214
- The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine p.866
- Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka by Leonard Y. Andaya p.35
- Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 41
- The History of Singapore by Jean Abshire p.17
- Between 2 Oceans (2nd Edn): A Military History of Singapore from 1275 to 1971 by Malcolm H. Murfett,John Miksic,Brian Farell,Chiang Ming Shun p.16
- Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations 600-1400 by Tansen Sen p.159
- Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium by Ronald Findlay,Kevin H. O'Rourke p.69
- Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: Early Medieval India and the expansion of Islam 7th-11 centuries by André Wink p.325
- Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.564
- History Without Borders: The Making of an Asian World Region, 1000-1800 by Geoffrey C. Gunn p.43
- Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia by Hermann Kulke,K Kesavapany,Vijay Sakhuja p.71
- Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations by Tansen Sen p.226
- Aryatarangini, the Saga of the Indo-Aryans, by A. Kalyanaraman p.158
- India and Malaya Through the Ages: by S. Durai Raja Singam
- Al- Hind: The slave kings and the Islamic conquest. by André Wink p.326
- Kenneth R. Hall (October 1975), "Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318-336, Brill Publishers
- Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by Paul Michel Munoz p.158-159
- *Majumdar, R. C. (1961). The Overseas Expeditions of King Rājendra Chola, Artibus Asiae 24 (3/4), pp. 338–342. Artibus Asiae Publishers.
- Southeast Asia: Past and Present by D.R. SarDesai p.43
- Early kingdoms of the Indonesian archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by Paul Michel Munoz p.161
- See Schmidt, K, p32
- Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (1998). A history of India. Routledge. p. 109. ISBN 0-415-15482-0.
- Śrīnidhiḥ: perspectives in Indian archaeology, art, and culture : Shri K.R. Srinivasan festschrift, page 358
- South Indian shrines: illustrated, page 53
- see the President of India's speech para 2 and 3 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=104162
- Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1935). The Cholas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
- Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
- Schmidt, Karl Ludwig (1997). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History (Sources and Studies in World History). Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 1-56324-334-2.
- R. Hall, Kenneth (October 1975). Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318–336. Brill Publishers.
- Śrīnidhiḥ: perspectives in Indian archaeology, art, and culture : Shri K.R. Srinivasan festschrift By K. R. Srinivasan, K. V. Raman
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