Rajendra Chola III

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Rajendra Chola III
Parakesari
Rajendra Chola 3
Chola territories c. 1246 CE
Reign1246–1279 CE
PredecessorRajaraja Chola III
SuccessorJatavarman Sundara Pandyan as Pandya Emperor
Died?1279 CE
QueenCholakulamadeviyar
FatherRajaraja Chola III
ReligionShaivism[citation needed]

Rajendra Chola III was a rival of Rajaraja Chola III who came to the Chola throne in 1246 CE. Although Rajaraja III was still alive, Rajendra began to take effective control over the administration. The epigraphs of Rajendra Chola III indicate a civil war between Rajaraja III and himself which came to end with the former killing the latter and ascending the throne.[1] Rajendra's inscriptions laud him as the "cunning hero, who killed Rajaraja after making him wear the double crown for three years".[2]

Northern expeditions[edit]

Rajendra Chola III who succeeded Rajaraja III was a much better ruler than his predecessor and took bold steps to revive the Chola fortunes. He led successful expeditions to the north as attested by his epigraphs found as far as Cuddappah.[3]

Initial success against the Pandyas[edit]

The king also defeated two Pandya princes one of whom was Maravarman Sundara Pandya II and briefly made the Pandyas submit to the Chola overlordship. The Hoysalas, under Vira Someswara, were quick to intervene and this time they sided with the Pandyas and repulsed the Cholas in order to counter the latter's revival.[4]

Hostility with the Hoysalas[edit]

The Hoysalas played a divisive role in the politics of the Tamil country during this period. They thoroughly exploited the lack of unity among the Tamil kingdoms and alternately supported one Tamil kingdom against the other thereby preventing both the Cholas and Pandyas from rising to their full potential. During the period of Rajaraja III, the Hoysalas sided with the Cholas and defeated the Kadava chieftain Kopperunjinga and the Pandyas and established a presence in the Tamil country. The Hoysalas, under Vira Someswara, were quick to intervene when Rajendra made Maravarman Sundara Pandya II submit. This time they sided with the Pandyas and repulsed the Cholas in order to counter the latter's revival.[5]

War with Jatavarman Sundara Pandya[edit]

Tamil history turned a new leaf with the advent of the warrior prince, Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I who ascended the Pandya throne in 1251 CE and by 1258. In the ensuing wars for supremacy, he emerged as the single most victorious ruler and the Pandya kingdom reached its zenith in the 13th century during his reign. Jatavarman Sundara Pandya first put an end to Hoysala interference by expelling them from the Kaveri delta and subsequently killed their king Vira Someswara in 1262 AD near Srirangam. He then defeated Kopperunjinga, the Kadava chieftain, and turned him into a vassal. He then defeated Rajendra III and made him acknowledge the Pandya suzerainty. The Pandya then turned his attention to the north and annexed Kanchi by killing the Telugu chief Vijaya Gandagopala. He then marched up to Nellore and celebrated his victories there by doing the virabisheka(anointment of heroes) after defeating the Kakatiya ruler, Ganapati. Meanwhile his lieutenant Vira Pandya defeated the king of Lanka and obtained the submission of the island nation.[6]

Aftermath the Pandya war[edit]

There are no confirmed reports of Rajendra Chola III having been killed in the battle so he lived in obscurity in Gangaikonda Cholapuram up to 1279, after which there are no inscriptions found of the Cholas. This war marks the end of Cholas reign in Tamilakam and the Chola territories were completely absorbed by the Pandyan empire.

Fate of Cholas[edit]

After the war, the remaining Chola royal bloods must have either escaped the siege or could have been killed by the Pandyan force. Many Chola royal bloodlines who were officials and chieftains still ruled a small part of land and continued to be Zamindars till the British rule in India. There is mention of a Chola chief called Veerasekhara Chola in the early 16th century (1520 AD) who defeated the Pandyas and occupied Madurai. The Pandyas who were vassals of the Vijayanagar Empire wasted no time and appealed to Krishnadevaraya. The latter then sent his general Nagama Nayak who defeated the Chola but then usurped the throne of Madurai instead of restoring the Pandyas.[7]

Preceded by
Rajaraja Chola III
Chola
1246–1280 CE
Succeeded by
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan

Notes[edit]

  • 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).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders. Asian Educational Services, 1991. p. 38.
  2. ^ Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders. Asian Educational Services, 1991. p. 37.
  3. ^ Sri Venkatesvara Oriental Institute. Journal of the Sri Venkatesvara Oriental Institute, Volumes 5-7. p. 64.
  4. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen. Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International, 1999. p. 487.
  5. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen. Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International, 1999. p. 487.
  6. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen. Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International, 1999. p. 459.
  7. ^ R. Gopal, Karnataka (India). Directorate of Archaeology & Museums. Life and Achievements of Sri Krishnadevaraya. Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Karnataka, 2010. p. 127.