|Parantaka Chola I
முதலாம் பராந்தக சோழன்
Chola Territories c. 915
|Reign||907 – 955|
Parantaka Chola I (Tamil: முதலாம் பராந்தக சோழன்) (907–955) ruled the Chola kingdom in southern India for forty-eight years, annexing Pandya. The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.
The Invasion of the Pandya Kingdom
Parantaka continuing the expansion started by his father, invaded the Pandya kingdom in 910. He captured the Pandyan capital Madurai and assumed the title Madurain-konda (Capturer of Madurai). The Pandyan ruler Maravarman Rajasinha II sought the help of Kassapa V, the king of Sri Lanka, who sent an army to his aid. Parantaka defeated the combined army at the battle of Vellore. The Pandya king fled into exile in Sri Lanka and Parantaka completed his conquest of the entire Pandya country.
Parantaka spent many years in the newly conquered country reducing it to subjugation, and when he felt he had at last achieved his aim, he wanted to celebrate his victory by a coronation in Madurai in which he was to invest himself with the insignia of Pandyan monarchy. However he was failed in this attempt by the Pandyan king carried them away and left in the safe custody of the Lankan king. Towards the end of his reign, Parantaka tried to capture them by invading Lanka. Mahavamsa records that the Lankan king Udaya IV took the Pandya crown and the jewels and hid himself in the Rohana hills. Parantaka’s armies had to return empty handed.
After his exploits in the Pandya country and in Lanka, Parantaka I took the title of Maduraiyum Elamum Konda Parakesarivarman – Parakesarivarman who conquered Madurai and Sri Lanka.
Extent of Parantaka's Influence
At the height of his successes, Parantaka I's dominions comprised almost the whole of the Tamil country right up to Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. It is clear from other chola grants that parantaka was a great militarist who had made extensive conquests. He may have had it recorded, but those records are lost to us. He is known to have defeated the kings of deccan kingdoms by 912.C.E and completed at least temporarily the conquests started by his father Aditya. He had the Cheras as his close ally and the relationship were further strengthened during this reign. Villavan Mahadeviyar, one of the queens of Parantaka who bore him the son Arinjaya was a daughter of the Chera prince Paluvettaraiyar.
Civic and Religious Contributions
Although Parantaka I was engaged for the greater part of his long reign in warlike operations, yet he was not unmindful of the victories of peace. The internal administration of his country was a matter in which he took a keen interest. He laid out the rules for the conduct of the village assemblies in an inscription. The village institutions of South India, of course, date from a much earlier period than that of Parantaka I, but he introduced many salutary reforms for the proper administration of local self-Government.
The copper-plate inscriptions detail Parantaka's promotion of agricultural prosperity by the digging of numerous canals all over the country.
He also utilised the spoils of war to donate to numerous temple charities. He is reported to have covered the Chidambaram Siva Temple with golden roof. "Thillaiyambalathhukku pon koorai veiyntha thevan" He was a devout Saiva (follower of Siva) in religion.
A record obtained from the ancient temple at Anbil near Tiruchirappalli, sung by nayanmars, which has fragmented documents dating back to at least six thousand years,informs that Parantaka instituted some services in the temple with one hundred and eight servitors[However these documents might be the information about an earlier Parantaka since Parantaka I lived before only one thousand years] . These servitors worked on ancient jaiminiya recension of samaveda and continuously performed many rituals live vasantayaagam,somayagam, atiratram, agnihotram etc.
From his inscriptions we can gather a few details about Parantaka's personal life. He had many wives, of whom no fewer than eleven appear in the inscriptions. He was religious but secular and encouraged various faiths. We find various members of his family building temples and regularly making donations to various shrines across the kingdom. Kodandarama was the eldest son of Parantaka. There is an inscription of him from Tiruvorriyur making a donation for some lamps during the 30th year of his father. Besides him he had several other sons; Arikulakesari, Gandaraditya, Rajaditya and Uttamasili. A member of the retinue of Pillaiyar(prince) Rajadittadeva gave a gift to the Vishnu temple at Tirunavalur in the 32nd year of Parantaka. Tirunavalur was also known as Rajadittapuram after Rajaditya. In the 39th year of Parantaka, his daughter-in-law, Mahadevadigal, a queen of Rajaditya and the daughter of Lataraja donated a lamp to the temple of Rajadityesvara for the merit of her brother. He had at least two daughters: Viramadevi and Anupama. Uttamasili does not appear to have lived long enough to succeed to the Chola throne.
Parantaka I bore numerous epithets: Viranarayana, Virakirti, Vira-Chola, Vikrama-Chola, Irumadi-Sola (Chola with two crowns alluding to the Chola and the Pandya kingdoms), Devendran (lord of the gods), Chakravartin (the emperor), Panditavatsalan (fond of learned men), Kunjaramallan (the wrestler with elephants) and Surachulamani (the crest jewel of the heroes).
Parantaka died in 955. His second son Gandaraditya succeeded him.
We also have several inscriptions of his son Rajaditya from Tirunavalur. One such inscription is the following from the temple of Rajadityesvara in Tirunavalur. The temple was also called Tiruttondîsvaram:
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