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Rajaraja Narendra (Telugu: రాజరాజ నరేంద్రుడు) (1019–1061 CE) was the Eastern Chalukya king of the Vengi kingdom in South India. Rajaraja was related to the Cholas of Tanjavur by marital and political links. Rajaraja Narendra established the city Rajahmahendravaram(Rajahmundry). His period was famous for the Social and Cultural heritage. During the time of Rajaraja Chola I, Rajahmundry got sacked.
Literary works during his time
At the time of Rajaraja Narendra, two literary works in Kannada language, viz., Vikramarjuna Vijayam and Gadayuddam already popularized the story of Sanskrit Mahabharata in Karnataka. Tamil translations of Mahabharata were available by the Seventh and Eighth centuries. But, Puranas were not available in Telugu. brahmins used to recite Puranaas such as Sanskrit Mahabharata in Temples and courts.
Eastern Chalukya Dynasty supported Jainism and Shaivism. Rajaraja Narendra was a Shaivite. He respected Brahmins, their Sanskrit language and religion. He learned from the success of Jains and Buddhists that the only way to popularize the new religions and Puranas was to translate them into Telugu. Even a thousand years before, Buddhism and Jainism became very popular using local languages for their sermons and teachings. So, Rajaraja Narendra requested his teacher, adviser and court poet Nannayya Bhattaraka to translate Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu for his subjects.
Nannayya Bhattaraka took the challenge very seriously. He scrutinized all the Telugu vocabulary that was in usage at that time, introduced Sanskrit vocabulary, and took characteristics of already well developed Kannada literature. Thus he developed a distinct literary style, meter and grammar. Nannayya translated about 142 verses of Aadi, Sabha and Aranya chapters of Sanskrit Mahabharata. But, he didn't stick to the original. He almost created his own version of Andhra Mahabharatamu by modification, addition and deletion, while maintaining the story line. His language was very sanskritized and was pleasurable to the reader.
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