Parantaka I

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Parantaka Chola I
PredecessorAditya Chola
QueenKo "Kizhan Adigal"
Iravi Nili
IssueRajaditya Chola
Arinjaya Chola
FatherAditya Chola

Parantaka Chola I (907–955) ruled the Chola empire in Tamil Nadu southern India for forty-eight years, annexing Pandya.[2] The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.

Invasion of the Pandya kingdom[edit]

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 III 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 Eelamum Konda Parakesarivarman – Parakesarivarman who conquered Madurai and Sri Lanka.

Extent of Parantaka's influence[edit]

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 CE and completed at least temporarily the conquests started by his father Aditya. Parantaka I was defeated in the famous Battle of Takkolam by the Rastrakuta ruler Krishna III in 949 CE.

Civic and religious contributions[edit]

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.

Chola Territories c. 950

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,[original research?] 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 like the live vasantayaagam, somayagam, atiratram, agnihotram etc.

Personal life[edit]

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. Kotanta Rama, incidental with Rajaditya, 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.[3] Besides him he had several other sons; Arikulakesari, Gandaraditya and Uttamasili.

Parankata had the Chera Perumals as his close allies and the relationship was further strengthened by two marriages. The king is assumed to have married two distinct Chera princesses (the mothers of his two sons, Rajaditya and Arinjaya Chola).[4][5]

A member of the retinue of pillaiyar (prince) Rajadittadeva gave a gift to the Vishnu temple at Tirunavalur/Tirumanallur in the 32nd year of Parantaka.[6] Tirunavalur was also known as "Rajadittapuram" after Rajaditya.[7] It is assumed that a large number of warriors from the aristocratic families of the Chera kingdom were part of the contingent of this Chera-Chola prince.[8] 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.[9] 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.


The following is an inscription of Parantaka from Tiruvorriyur. It is important as it shows that his dominions included regions beyond Thondaimandalam:

..record of the Chola king Maduraikonda Parakesarivarman(Parantaka) dated in his 34th year. Records gift of lamp to the temple of Tiruvorriyur Mahadeva by Maran Parameswaran alias Sembiyan Soliyavarayan of Sirukulattur in Poyyurkurram, a sub-division of Tenkarai-nadu. Refers to a military officer who destroyed Sitpuli and destroyed Nellore.[10]

Here we have his son Arinjaya making a donation. Once again it is from Tiruvorriyur:

On the eleventh slab. Records in the 30th year of Maduraikonda Parakesarivarman(Parantaka) dated in his 30th year, gift of gold for a lamp by Arindigai-perumanar, son of Chola-Perumanadigal (i.e Parantaka), to the god Siva at Adhigrama.[11]

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:[12]

A record in the 29th year of the Chola king Maduraikonda Parakesarivarman. Records gift of 20 sheep for offerings and of two lamps to the shrines of Rajadityesvara and Agastyesvara by a servant of Rajadityadeva.[13]

Chola-Chera Perumal relations (c. 9th-10th centuries AD)[edit]

Cola-Cera Perumal relations (c. 9th-10th centuries AD)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ S. R. Balasubrahmanyam. Volume 1 of Early Chola Art, S. R. Balasubrahmanyam. Asia publ. house, 1966. p. 165.
  2. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  3. ^ South Indian shrines: illustrated, page 56
  4. ^ George Spencer, 'Ties that Bound: Royal Marriage Alliance in the Chola Period', Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Asian Studies (Hong Kong: Asian Research Service, 1982), 723.
  5. ^ S. Swaminathan. The early Chōḷas history, art, and culture. Sharada Pub. House, 1998. p. 23.
  6. ^ Early Chola temples: Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, A.D. 907–985, page 64
  7. ^ South Indian Inscriptions: Miscellaneous inscriptions in Tamil (4 pts. in 2), page 198
  8. ^ Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala: Brahmin Oligarchy and Ritual Monarchy: Political and Social Conditions of Kerala Under the Cēra Perumāḷs of Makōtai (c. AD 800 - AD 1124). Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 96-100.
  9. ^ Epigraphia Indica and record of the Archæological Survey of India, Volume 7, page 167
  10. ^ South Indian shrines: illustrated, page 55
  11. ^ South Indian shrines: illustrated, page 57
  12. ^ A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, Volume 2, page 393
  13. ^ A topographical list of the inscriptions of the Madras Presidency, collected till 1915, page 232


  • Venkata Ramanappa, M. N. (1987). Outlines of South Indian History. (Rev. edn.) New Delhi: Vikram.
  • Early Chola temples: Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, A.D. 907–985 By S. R. Balasubrahmanyam
  • South Indian Inscriptions: Miscellaneous inscriptions in Tamil (4 pts. in 2) By Eugen Hultzsch, Hosakote Krishna Sastri, V. Venkayya, Archaeological Survey of India
  • A topographical list of the inscriptions of the Madras Presidency, collected till 1915: with notes and references, Volume 1 By Vijayaraghava Rangacharya
  • A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, Volume 2 By T. V. Mahalingam
  • 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).
  • South Indian shrines: illustrated By P. V. Jagadisa Ayyar
Preceded by
907–955 CE
Succeeded by