Rajendra Chola II

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Rajendra II
Rajindradeva Rajakesari
Statue of Rajendra II at Bhoganandishwara Temple
Chola Emperor
Reign1052 CE - 1064 CE
PredecessorRajadhiraja I
SuccessorVirarajendra Chola
Co-Regent of the Chola Empire
Reign1045 CE - 1052 CE
EmperorRajadhiraja I
PredecessorRajadhiraja I
996/997 CE
Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Chola Empire (modern day Jayankondam, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died1063 C.E. (aged 66/67)
Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Chola Empire (modern day Jayankondam, Tamil Nadu, India)
QueenRajarajan Arumoliyar alias Tennavan Mādevi, queen of Rajendradeva,[1]
Uruttiran Arumoli alias PirudiMādeviyar,[2]
  • Madhurandhagi
  • Uttama chola
FatherRajendra Chola I
MotherMukkokilan Adigal

Rajendra Chola II (996/997 CE - 1063 CE) reigned as the Chola emperor succeeding his elder brother Rajadhiraja Chola I in the 11th century after his brother dead.[3] He is best remembered for his role in the Battle of Koppam along with his elder brother Rajadhiraja Chola where he dramatically turned the tables on the Chalukyan King Someshvara I,[4] after the death of his brother in 1052.[5] During his early reign an expedition was led to Sri Lanka, in the course of which the Sri Lanka army was routed and their king Vijayabahu I of Polonnaruwa was driven to take refuge in a mountain-fortress.[6] He maintained the Chola Empire well as the distribution of his records show that the Chola Empire did not suffer any loss of territory during his reign by protecting the territory.[6]

Battle of Koppam[edit]

Chola territories under Rajendra II.c. 1059 CE''

The Chola forces were in battle with the Chalukyan army at Koppam (Koppal) located on the Tungabhadra River in 1053–54 AD.[7][8] Rajadhiraja I was personally leading the Chola army from atop a war elephant to help rally the retreating Cholas. Prince Rajendra, the younger brother of Rajadhiraja, was holding himself in reserve. The Chalukyan army then concentrated on the elephant on which the Chola king was riding and wounded him mortally. Seeing the emperor falling dead, the Chola army retreated in disarray.[9] At that stage Rajendra entered the fray. Once again the Chalukya army concentrated on the leader. Rajendra-II was as valorous as his brave father and was a born leader of men. He immediately sensed that with the death of their King Rajadhiraja-I, the Chola army was in a disarray, he announced his taking over as the next Chola monarch and ordered the capable Chola army to continue fighting without letting up.[10] His unparalleled response and restoration of order by deciding to lead from the front on the battlefield simply re-galvanized his army which had among its ranks, several generals serving the Chola army from the times of Raja Raja I and Rajendra Chola I. He had many nephews and . Needless to add, the Chalukya army was simply unprepared for this kind of a reaction from any army which had lost its original leader and were simply no match. From inscriptions of Rajendra-II, we know that his elder brother Rajadhiraja-I was killed in the battle at Koppam in which Rajendra-II had participated along with his other brothers. Even Rajendra-II had been injured initially and had withdrawn from the battle, but he came back and turned the tables on the Ahavamalla (Someshvara-I) who called himself 'Trailokyamalla' – lord of three worlds). From an inscriptions of his from Manimangalam we understand that at the end of the battle, the Chalukyas were defeated and a number of officers of their army lay dead on the field. In this battle multiple opponents viz. Jaysinghan, the younger brother of the Salukki, Pulikesi, Dasapanman etc., were killed by Rajendradeva.[11][12]

Kollapuram is identified with Kolhapur in present-day Maharashtra.[13] Based upon other inscriptions of Rajendra, historian Hultzsch has proposed that the Kollapuram war was an earlier expedition, in which Rajendra had participated under his elder brother Rajdhiraja.[14] This view is also held by a few other historians who credit the burning of Kalyanapuram, the capital of the Chalukyas and the planting of victory at Kollapuram, again two separate events, to Rajadhiraja Chola I.[15]


Rajendra-II, who had been nominated by his elder brother Rajadhiraja Chola I as heir apparent over his own children, proclaimed himself king on the Koppam battlefield after his victory.[7]

It is to be noted however the above version of the Koppam battle is found only in the Chola inscriptions. Chalukyan contemporary chroniclers are silent on this battle. A Chalukyan account of the battle is only found in a later inscription dated c. 1071, which recounts this incident after a gap of almost 15 years and which only mentions the death of Rajadhiraja.[citation needed]

Later Chola poetic works Kalingathuparani and Vikramcholan Ula describe this battle in great detail.[citation needed]

Further Chalukyan Battles[edit]

Chalukyas, anxious to wipe out the disgrace of Koppam, invaded the Chola country in great force c 1062 C.E. The armies met at the Muddakaru river (at the junction of the Tungabhadra and the Krishna river).[9] The Chalukya commander Dandanayaka Valadeva was killed and the Cholas led by Rajamahendra resisted the invasion. Virarajendra Chola was also present in the battle fighting at the side of Rajamahendra.[citation needed]

The Western Chalukyan expedition to take Vengi was also thwarted by the Cholas at the same battlefield. Subsequently, Someshwara-I also engaged the Chola army under Rajendra-II and Virarajendra at Kudalasangamam, the result was yet another heavy defeat for the Chalukyan king.[citation needed]

Patron of Art[edit]

When he was a co-regent of his elder brother, Rajadhiraja Chola I, he shared the latter's workload by taking care of the internal affairs of the state. He was a great patron of dance and theatre and we know of several occasions where he encouraged various artists and poets. For example, he passed a royal order in the 4th year of his reign to provide paddy and other ration to Santi Kuttan Tiruvalan Tirumud Kunran alias Vijaya Rajendra Acharyan(named after Rajadhiraja) for enacting RajaRajeswara Natakam (a musical), in the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur.[16][17] Accordingly, the dancer was to get 120 Kalam paddy for this purpose and that he and his descendants were to perform the musical regularly during the annual festival.[18]


A number of his relatives are known to us from an record of his from the fourth year of his reign. These are a paternal uncle, four younger brothers, six sons and two grandsons. One of these younger brothers was Virarajendra Chola on whom he conferred the title Karikala solan.[19] Other titles conferred on the members of the royal family by the king include Chola-Pandyan, Chola-Gangan, Chola-Ayodhyarajan and Chola-Kanyakubjan. According to historian Nilakanta Sastri, these titles denoted the provinces that were administered by these Chola princes.[20][21]


Rajendra-II like his predecessors already had control of the Pandyan kingdom. After vanquishing the Chalukya Someshvara I, he undertook a further expedition to the Kalinga Kingdom as well as to Ilangai (Sri Lanka) whose king Manabharanan was aided by the Kalinga King Vira Salamegha. He also had under his control other provinces such as Ayodhya, Kanyakubja, Rattapadi, Kadaram.


  1. ^ A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Tiruchchirappalli District, page 186
  2. ^ Epigraphy By Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle, page 76
  3. ^ The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire, page 241
  4. ^ Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, page 13
  5. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  6. ^ a b The Cambridge Shorter History of India p.190
  7. ^ a b Ancient Indian History and Civilization, page 384
  8. ^ The Cambridge Shorter History of India, page 190
  9. ^ a b Ancient Indian History and Civilization von Sailendra Nath Sen p.384
  10. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen: p.384
  11. ^ South Indian Inscriptions: Miscellaneous inscriptions in Tamil (4 pts. in 2), page 62
  12. ^ Benjamin Lewis Rice. Mysore Gazetteer, Volume 2, Part 2. Government Press, 1930 - Karnataka (India). p. 1074.
  13. ^ The early history of the Deccan, Volume 1, page 327
  14. ^ The Cōḷas, page 279
  15. ^ The Chālukyas of Kalyāṇa and the Kalachuris, page 172
  16. ^ Bharatanatyam, the Tamil heritage, page 42
  17. ^ Middle Chola temples: Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I (A.D. 985–1070), page 266
  18. ^ Archaeology and art: Krishna Deva felicitation volume, Part 2, page 554
  19. ^ Benjamin Lewis Rice (1930). Mysore Gazetteer, Volume 2, Part 2. Karnataka (India): Government Press. p. 1074.
  20. ^ Baij Nath Puri (1975). History of Indian Administration: Medieval period, Volume 2 of History of Indian Administration, Baij Nath Puri. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 51.
  21. ^ Text Series, Volume 147. Pali Text Society. 1965. p. 41.


  • 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).
  • The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti
  • Ancient Indian History and Civilization By Sailendra Nath Sen
  • Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1 By Benjamin Lewis Rice, Mysore (India : State). Archaeological Dept, Mysore Archaeological Survey
  • The early history of the Deccan, Volume 1 By Ghulām Yazdānī
  • Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture By K.V. Raman
  • The Chālukyas of Kalyāṇa and the Kalachuris By Balakrishnan Raja Gopal
  • Epigraphia Indica and record of the Archæological Survey of India, Volume 7 By Archaeological Survey of India
  • Bharatanatyam, the Tamil heritage By Lakshmi Viswanathan
  • Middle Chola temples: Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I (A.D. 985–1070) By S. R. Balasubrahmanyam
  • Archaeology and art: Krishna Deva felicitation volume, Part 2 By Krishna Deva, Chitta Ranjan Prasad Sinha, Bipin Kumar Jamuar, Umesh Chandra Dwivedi, Shri Bhagwan Singh
Preceded by Chola
1051–1063 CE
Succeeded by