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Rajaraja Chola II - Construction Of Airavateswarar Temple

Rajaraja Chola II -  Construction Of Airavateswarar Temple

Rajaraja Chola II was not a great king like Karikala Chola, Aditya Chola, Rajaraja Chola, Rajendra Chola etc, but he was successful in maintaining such a vast Chola kingdom which included Madurai, Kongunadu, Thirunelvelli, Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, Rajhamundry and Kalinga,given to him by his father. Northern Sri Lanka was also under his control. He succeeded his father Kulothunga II in 1150 A.D. His reign is considered as the start of downfall of the great Chola empire of South India.

During his reign, there were no conquests made by him. He ruled for 26 years according to his inscriptions. According to some poems written during his reign, he probably invaded Sri Lanka. Towards the end of his rule, a civil unrest broke out in Pandya country which was under Chola rule because of which the Chola authority weakened in Pandya Country. As we know that from the time of Aditya Chola to the time of Virarajendra Chola, the Pandyas were revolting against Cholas. Pandyan kings like Maravarman Sundara Pandyan and Jatavarman Vira Pandyan slowly increased their military strength and emerged as the most powerful kingdom around 1200-1300 A.D. The Cheras also started to revolt against Cholas during his reign. All these revolts weakened the Chola empire.

Apart from the revolts, Rajaraja Chola II had a very peaceful rule during later half of his reign. He encouraged arts and culture. He patronized many temples and offered donations to them. The main work of Rajaraja Chola II that puts him in the history of Cholas was the construction of one of the greatest temples of India called Airavateswarar temple which is located at Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu. It is a Hindu temple of Dravidian architecture which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we know that most of the kings of Chola dynasty are Shaivites, Rajaraja Chola was also a Shaivite and worshipped Lord Shiva. This temple is dedicated by him to Lord Shiva and Shiva here is known as Airavateshvara.

Rajaraja Chola II made Rajadhiraja Chola II as co-regent in 1163 A.D. He was the son of his sister and he made him his co-regent because he did not have children up to that time. After declaring him as Co-regent, Rajaraja Chola II had two sons. So Rajaraja Chola II was succeeded by Rajadhiraja Chola II in 1166 A.D. 


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