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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Rajadhiraja Chola - The Last Great Ruler Of Chola Dynasty - Battle Of Koppam

Rajadhiraja Chola - The Last Great Ruler Of Chola Dynasty

Rajadhiraja Chola is said to be the last great ruler of the Chola dynasty. He succeeded his father Rajendra Chola I and became the monarch  of Chola empire around 1044 A.D. His reign was between 1044 - 1052 A.D. He was born in a dynasty in which great kings like Karikala Chola, Vijayalaya Chola, Aditya Chola I, Parantaka I, Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I etc,. He was declared crown prince/co-regent by his father Rajendra Chola in 1018 A.D. From then on both father and son ruled together. Rajadhiraja assisted his father in many battles in fact he led the army in wars. It was natural with such large empire that Rajadhiraja Chola suffered rebellions when he came to power. He was a great and skillful warrior who led from the front. The enemies panicked in the battlefield to face him. He was not a king who stand behind the protection of army in the battlefield. He was a king who stood shoulder to shoulder with his men on the front lines. This character of Rajadhiraja was the reason for his death which you will be knowing shortly.


Revolts In Lanka :

As we know that Rajendra Chola occupied whole Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), in which Sinhalese king Mahinda V was defeated, captured and transported to Chola country as prisoner where he died in prison after 12 long years. Mahinda's son Kassapa wanted to drive out Chola occupiers from Sri Lanka. He occupied parts of Southern Sri Lanka and selected Rohana area as centre for his activities. He almost managed to withstand 95,000 Chola army and made them move northwards. He then crowned himself Vikramabahu in 1029 A.D.

These resistances in Sri Lanka were supported by Pandyans who were rivals to Cholas. And also Pandyans had a very close political as well as marital relations with the Sinhalese.


Conquests Of Rajadhiraja Chola :

Rajadhiraja wanted to stop the rising power of Western Chalukyas and restore Chola influence with Eastern Chalukyas in  Vengi. He personally led an expedition in to the Telugu country around 1046 A.D. In the battle at Dannada, Rajadhiraja Chola defeated Western Chalukyas and occupied Yetagiri and Kalyani (capital of Chlaukyas). The Chola forces crossed the river and erected a pillar of triumph in Yetagiri. After the victory, the coronation of Rajadhiraja was performed at Kalyanapura. For his victory over Chalukyas, he assumed the title "Vijayarajendra" which means "Victorious Rajendra". Around 1050 A.D. Chalukyan king Someshvara revolted against Chola rule and usurped the Chalukya throne from the Chola viceroy in Kalyani.

Rajadhiraja also conquered Rattamandalam (southern Karnataka) and seized southern parts of Chalukyan territory like Uchangi, Nulambavadi, Kadambalige etc. These stunning attacks of Rajadhiraja towards Chalukyan territory, shook Someshvara. Someshvara had no other option than to face brave Chola army. Both the armies met at a place called Koppam. This battle is called "Battle Of Koppam". In this battlle, Rajadhiraja assisted by his younger brother Rajendra Chola II. It was fought in 1054 A.D. It was won by Cholas.


Death And Succession :

In the "Battle Of Koppam", although the Cholas were victorious, king Rajadhiraja Chola died. As we discussed earlier that he was a king who stand on front lines in the battlefield and he died when Chalukyan archers shot him. He was riding a war elephant when he was shot. He died on that elephant. From the day he was chosen the heir by his father till the day he laid down his life on the battlefield, he led the life of a warrior king. The land of India lost another great king. He was succeeded by his brother Rajendra Chola II. 

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