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Rajendra Chola I

Rajendra Chola redirects here. For Rajendra Chola II, located to the north of Hyderabad in present-day Andhra
see Rajendra Chola II.
Pradesh. An excerpt from an inscription in Tamil from
Kolar states:
Rajendra Chola I or Rajendra I was a Chola emperor
who is considered one of the greatest rulers and military
generals of India. He succeeded his father Rajaraja Chola
I in 1014 CE. During his reign, he extended the inuence of the Chola empire to the banks of the river Ganga
in North India and across the Indian ocean to the West,
making the Chola Empire as one of the most powerful empires of India.[5][6] Rajendras conquests included
the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sri Lanka, Maldives,
and he successfully invaded and raided the territories of
Srivijaya in Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Indonesia
in South East Asia.[5][7] The Cholas exacted tribute from
Thailand and the Khmer kingdom of Cambodia. He defeated Mahipala, the Pala king of Bengal and Bihar, and
to commemorate his victory he built a new capital city
called Gangaikonda Cholapuram.[8][9]

In the 8th year of the reign of Kopparakesarivanmar sri Rajendra Sola Deva, who,
while the goddess of Fortune, having become
constant, increased, and while the goddess of
the great Earth, the goddess of victory in battle and the matchless goddess of Fame, having become his great queens, rejoiced-that in
his extended lifetime, conquered with his great
war-like army Idaiturai-nadu, Vanavasi shut
in by a fence of continuous forests; Kollipakkai, whose walls were surrounded by sulli
trees; Mannaikkadakkam whose fortication
was unapproachable.[12]

Conquest of Sri Lanka

Main article: Chola occupation of Sri Lanka (993-1077)

Raja Raja Chola I conquered the northern half of Sri

Early life and ascension

Rajendra Chola I was the son of Rajaraja Chola and

Thiripuvana Madeviyar, princess of Kodumbalur. He
was born on Thiruvathirai in the Tamil month of Aadi.
He was originally called Maduranthagan. He spent most
of his childhood in Palayarai and was brought up by his
aunt Kundavai and great-grandmother Sembian Madevi.
He was made the co-regent in 1012 CE.[10] Rajendra formally ascended the Chola throne in 1014 CE. In 1018
CE, he installed his eldest son Rajadhiraja Chola I as the
crown prince.[10]


Military conquests
Early campaigns

Rajendra led Chola campaigns from 1002 CE. These

include the conquest of the Rashtrakutas and the campaigns against the Western Chalukyas. He conquered
the Chalukyan territories of Yedatore (a large part
of the Raichur district between the Krishna and the
Tungabhadra), Banavasi in the north-west of Mysore and
capital Manyakheta. Rajendra erected a Siva temple at
Bhatkal. In 1004 CE, he captured Talakad and overthrew Inscription dated to 1100 CE Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
the Western Ganga dynasty which had ruled over Mysore
for almost 1000 years.[11] He also conquered Kollipakkai, Lanka during his reign. Rajendra invaded Ceylon in


1017 CE and annexed the entire island.[13] As a result 2.5 Expedition to the Ganges
of the campaign, Rajendra captured the regal jewels of
the Pandyas, which Parantaka I tried to capture and the Main article: Chola expedition to North India
crown of the Sinhala king. The Sinhala king Mahinda V
was taken prisoner and transported to the Chola country.
In 1019 CE, Rajendras forces marched through Kalinga
towards the river Ganga. The Chola army eventually
reached the Pala kingdom of Bengal where they defeated Mahipala. The Chola army also defeated the
2.3 Pandyas and Cheras
last ruler of the Kamboja Pala dynasty Dharmapala of
Dandabhukti.[16][17] The Chola army went on to raid East
In 1018 CE, Rajendra marched across the Pandya and
Bengal and defeated Govindachandra of the Chandra dyChera kingdoms referred in the Tamil Copper-plate innasty and invaded Bastar region.[18][19] The territories
scriptions. The territories were already conquered during
held the status of tribute paying subordinates and trade
the reign of Raja Raja I.[10] Rajendra appointed one of his
partners with the Chola Kingdom, an arrangement that
sons as viceroy with the title Jatavarman Sundara Cholalasted till the times of Kulothunga III.[20] He constructed
Pandya with Madurai as the headquarters.
a new capital at Gangaikondacholapuram and built the
Brihadeeswarar Temple similar to the Brihadeeswarar
Temple at Thanjavur.


Chalukyan conict

In 1015 CE, Jayasimha II became the king of Western
Chalukyas. He tried to recover the losses suered by
his predecessor Satyashraya, who ed his capital and was
later restored to the throne by Raja Raja I as a tribute pay(Khmer) Sambor Prei Kuk
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
ing subordinate. Initially, Jayasimha II was successful as
Rajendra was busy with his campaigns in Sri Lanka.[14] In
1021 CE, after the demise of the Eastern Chalukyan king
Vimaladitya of Vengi, Jayasimha supported the claim
Trade Routes
Chola Territory
of Vijayaditya VII to the throne against the claims of
Chola Inuence
Rajaraja Narendra. Rajaraja Narendra was the son of
Vimaladitya and Chola princess Kundavai.[14] Rajendra
helped his nephew Rajaraja defeat Vijayaditya.[15] His
armies defeated Vijayadiya in Vengi and Jayasimha in the Rajendra Cholas Territories c. 1030 CE
battle of Maski.[14]

(Siem Reap)




2.6 South East Asian expedition

Main article: Chola invasion of Srivijaya
Main article: South-East Asia campaign of Rajendra
Chola I

Gangaikonda Cholapuram was built by Rajendra Chola to celebrate his success in the Ganges Expedition

Brihadeeswarar temple inscription reading Gangaikondacholan

Sangrama Vijayatunggavarman was the son of Mara Vijayatungavarman of the Sailendra dynasty who ruled
the Srivijaya kingdom near Palembang in Sumatra.
The Sailendra dynasty had good relations with the
Chola Empire during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I.
Mara Vijayatungavarman built a Chudamani Vihara at
Nagapattinam. The Khmer king Suryavarman I requested aid from Rajendra against the Tambralinga
kingdom.[21][22] After learning of Suryavarmans alliance
with Rajendra Chola, the Tambralinga king requested
aid from the Srivijaya king Sangrama Vijayatunggavarman.[21][23] This eventually led to the Chola expedition
against the Srivijiya Empire. This alliance somewhat
also had a religious nuance, since both the Chola Empire and the Khmer empire were Hindu Shivaist, while

Tambralinga kingdom and Sri Vijaya were Mahayana
In 1025 CE, the Chola navy crossed the Indian ocean and
attacked the Srivijaya kingdom of Sangrama Vijayatunggavarman. Several places in Malaysia and Indonesia were
invaded by Rajendra Chola I.[24] Kadaram, the capital
was sacked and Pannai in present-day Sumatra in western
Indonesia and Malaiyur in the Malayan peninsula were
attacked. Rajendra also invaded the Tambralinga Kingdom in Southern Thailand and the Langkasuka Kingdom in modern Malaysia and South Thailand.[9][25][26]
The Chola invasion marked the demise of the Srivijaya
Empire.[27][28] The victory dealt a blow to Sri Vijayas
maritime might and monopoly.[29] After this the Chola
Empire conquered large portions of the Sri Vijaya Empire including its ports of Ligor, Kedah and Tumasik
(current day Singapore.[29][30] The Chola invasion furthered the expansion of Tamil merchant associations
such as the Manigramam, Ayyavole and Ainnurruvar
into Southeast Asia.[31][32][33][34] For the next century,
Tamil trading companies from southern India dominated
Southeast Asia.[27][28] The expedition of Rajendra Chola
I is mentioned in the corrupted form as Raja Chulan in the
medieval Malay chronicle Sejarah Melaya and Malaysian
princes have names ending with Cholan or Chulan such Stone sculpture with Tamil Inscription, Chokkanathaswamy temas the Raja of Perak called Raja Chulan.[35][36][37][38][39] ple, Bangalore built in 10th century AD
One record of Rajendra Chola describes him as the
King of the country of Lamuri in north Sumatra in
Indonesia.[40] The war ended with a victory for the Chola
dynasty and major losses for the Sri Vijaya Empire and
the Tambralinga kingdom.[21][23]

Work and legacy

See also: List of Chola Temples in Bangalore

Rajendra Chola built a vast articial lake, sixteen miles
long and three miles wide which was one of the largest
man-made lakes in India.[41] The fortied capital of Rajendra Chola was of impressive grandeur and Ottakoothar
Tamil Inscription at Chokkanathaswamy temple
states, On seeing Gangapuri, all fourteen worlds encircled
by the billowing ocean are overwhelmed with joy.[41][42]
The extent of the empire was the widest in India and the
military and naval prestige was at its highest.[43] The successful invasions of Rajendra Chola were applauded by
several medieval Tamil poets like Jayamkondan in his text Cholan (Chola with three crowns) from his father with
Mummudi, a title used by Tamil kings who ruled the three
Kalingattupparani and Ottakkoothar in his text Ula.[44]
of Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras.[46] To comAfter his successful campaign to Ganges river in north
India he got the title Gangaikonda Chola (The Chola memorate his conquests, Rajendra assumed other titles
who took the Ganges river). And after his successful such as Mudigonda Cholan and Irattapadikonda Cholan.
Southeast Asian campaign he got the title Kadaram Kondan"(He who took Kedah in Malaysia).[45] He founded
a new capital city called Gangaikonda Cholapuram and
built a Shiva temple similar to the Thanjavur Brihadisvara
temple built by his father Rajaraja Chola. He expanded
the Pathirakali Amman Temple and Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee.[41] He inherited the title Mummudi

The Malay language Hikayat Iskandar Zulkarnain was

written about Alexander the Great as Dhul-Qarnayn and
the ancestry of several Southeast Asian royal families is
traced from Iskandar Zulkarnain,[47] through Raja Rajendra Chola (Raja Suran, Raja Chola) in the Malay
Annals,[48][49][50] such as the Sumatra Minangkabau
royalty.[51] [52][53]

Personal life and family


[7] Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy
in the Second Millennium by Ronald Findlay,Kevin H.
O'Rourke p.67

Rajendra Chola had many consorts including Tribuvana

or Vanavan Mahadeviar, Mukkokilan, Panchavan Ma- [8] Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa:
hadevi, Arindhavan Madevi and Viramadevi who comAn Encyclopedia by Andrea L. Stanton,Edward Ramsamy,Peter J. Seybolt,Carolyn M. Elliott p.18
mitted sati on Rajendras death. The Siddanta Saravali
of Trilochana Sivacharya who was a contemporary of
[9] The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the
Kulothunga III states that Rajendra was a poet and he
World by Lincoln Paine p.866
composed hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. Rajendra had
three sons namely Rajadhiraja Chola, Rajendra Chola II [10] See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p165
and Virarajendra Chola, who followed him on the Chola
throne in succession. He had two daughters Pranaar [11] Mysore: A Gazetteer Compiled for Government by B. L.
Rice p.224
Arul Mozhi Nangai and Ammanga Devi. His campaigns
were led by general Senapati Narakkan Sri Krishnan Ra- [12] Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 32
[13] Indian History with Objective Questions and Historical
Maps Twenty-Sixth Edition 2010, South India page 59

Popular culture

[14] See Sastri, K. A. N., A History of South India, p166

Indias navy training ship TS Rajendra was named

in his honour.[56]
Vengayin Maindhan by Akilan covers the life and
achievements of Rajendra Chola
Gangapuri Kavalan by Vembu Vikiraman in which
Rajendra Chola is the protagonist
Mannan Magal by Sandilyan set in the period of Rajendra Chola
Gangai Konda Cholan by Balakumaran

See also
List of Tamil monarchs


[1] Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reections on the Chola

Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p.170
[2] Culture causerati forget a 1000yr milestone.
graphindia.com. Retrieved July 28, 2014.


[3] Sculptures of Shiva in temples of South India. lakshmisharath.com. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
[4] Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian
History. Primus Books. pp. 4649. ISBN 978-9-38060734-4.
[5] Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India by Moti Chandra
[6] Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India by
Jaswant Lal Mehta p.37

[15] Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, page 70

[16] Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath
Sen p.281
[17] West Bengal District Gazetteers: Nada p.63
[18] The Cambridge Shorter History of India p.145
[19] Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India by Professor S.K. Tiwari p.161
[20] See Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1935). The Cas, pp 209
212. Sastri bases his argument on the fact that these
regions were not included in the inscriptions of his successors, though successive Chola Kings from Rajaraja I
to Kulothunga III have assumed titles as 'Kings who conquered Ilam', reinforcing the fact that o and on, rebellions were being quelled and Chola authority on the island
of 'Ilangai' was maintained, despite a later king of Lanka
sending an embassy to the Chola adversary Vikramaditya
VI of the Chalukya dynasty, subsequent to which another
expedition to Ilangai caused the Sinhala king to ee to Rohana hills on the South Coast of that country.
[21] Kenneth R. Hall (October 1975), Khmer Commercial
Development and Foreign Contacts under Sryavarman
I, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318-336, Brill Publishers
[22] Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the
Malay Peninsula by Paul Michel Munoz p.158-159

Majumdar, R. C. (1961). The Overseas Expeditions of King Rjendra Chola, Artibus Asiae 24
(3/4), pp. 338342. Artibus Asiae Publishers.

[24] Coeds, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing.
University of Hawaii Press. pp. 142143. ISBN 978-08248-0368-1.
[25] Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the
Straits of Melaka by Leonard Y. Andaya p.35
[26] Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 41

[27] The History of Singapore by Jean Abshire p.17

[28] Between 2 Oceans (2nd Edn): A Military History of Singapore from 1275 to 1971 by Malcolm H. Murfett,John
Miksic,Brian Farell,Chiang Ming Shun p.16

[49] Radzi Sapiee (2007). Berpetualang Ke Aceh: Membela

Syiar Asal. Wasilah Merah Silu Enterprise. p. 69. ISBN
[50] Dewan bahasa. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. 1980. p.
333, 486.

[29] Southeast Asia: Past and Present by D.R. SarDesai p.43

[51] Early Modern History ISBN 981-3018-28-3 page 60
[30] Early kingdoms of the Indonesian archipelago and the
Malay Peninsula by Paul Michel Munoz p.161
[31] Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of
Sino-Indian Relations 600-1400 by Tansen Sen p.159
[32] Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy
in the Second Millennium by Ronald Findlay,Kevin H.
O'Rourke p.69
[33] Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: Early
Medieval India and the expansion of Islam 7th-11 centuries by Andr Wink p.325
[34] Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath
Sen p.564
[35] History Without Borders: The Making of an Asian World
Region, 1000-1800 by Georey C. Gunn p.43
[36] Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reections on the Chola
Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia by Hermann Kulke,K
Kesavapany,Vijay Sakhuja p.71
[37] Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of
Sino-Indian Relations by Tansen Sen p.226

[52] John N. Miksic (30 September 2013). Singapore and the

Silk Road of the Sea, 1300_1800. NUS Press. pp. 147.
ISBN 978-9971-69-574-3.
[53] Marie-Sybille de Vienne (9 March 2015). Brunei: From
the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century. NUS Press. pp.
47. ISBN 978-9971-69-818-8.
[54] South Indian shrines: illustrated, page 53
[55] rnidhi: perspectives in Indian archaeology, art, and culture : Shri K.R. Srinivasan festschrift, page 358
[56] Press release, President address. Government of India.
Retrieved 1 June 2016.

8 Further reading
Schmidt, Karl Ludwig (1997). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History (Sources and Studies in
World History). Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN

[39] India and Malaya Through the Ages: by S. Durai Raja


R. Hall, Kenneth (October 1975). Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under
Sryavarman I, Journal of the Economic and Social
History of the Orient 18 (3), pp. 318336. Brill Publishers

[40] Al- Hind: The slave kings and the Islamic conquest. by
Andr Wink p.326

rnidhi: perspectives in Indian archaeology, art,

and culture by K. R. Srinivasan, K. V. Raman

[38] Aryatarangini, the Saga of the Indo-Aryans, by A. Kalyanaraman p.158

[41] Art of the Imperial Cholas by Vidya Dehejia: p.79

[42] See Schmidt, K, p32
[43] Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (1998). A history of India. Routledge. p. 109. ISBN 0-415-15482-0.
[44] Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reections on the
Chola Naval Expeditions to .Southeast Asia by Hermann
Kulke,K Kesavapany,Vijay Sakhuja p.170
[45] Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reections on the
Chola Naval Expeditions to .Southeast Asia by Hermann
Kulke,K Kesavapany,Vijay Sakhuja p.170
[46] Temples of South India by V.V. Subba Reddy p.118
[47] Balai Seni Lukis Negara (Malaysia) (1999). Seni dan nasionalisme: dulu & kini. Balai Seni Lukis Negara.
[48] S. Amran Tasai; Djamari; Budiono Isas (2005). Sejarah
Melayu: sebagai karya sastra dan karya sejarah : sebuah antologi. Pusat Bahasa, Departemen Pendidikan
Nasional. p. 67. ISBN 978-979-685-524-7.


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