Parantaka Cholan I - Son Of Aditya Chola I - Battle Of Vellore

Parantaka Cholan I - Son Of Aditya Chola I - Battle Of Vellore
Parantaka Chola I was the third ruler of imperial Chola empire ruled probably between 907 - 955 A.D. He further enhanced the foundation of the Chola kingdom which was laid by his grandfather Vijayalaya Chola and his father Aditya Chola I. He was a conqueror just like his ancestor kings. He ruled Chola kingdom for 48 long years successfully. He was very much keen to conquer the neighboring kingdoms and in his long reign of 48 years, he worked continuously towards his invasion policy. He was considered as one of the powerful monarchs of Chola line. The Chola kingdom under his rule experienced everything ; great historical military conquests, prosperity and very well established internal administration.

Parantaka's Conquest Of The Great Pandyan Empire And Battle Of Vellore :

Parantaka Chola I, followed the invasion policy of his father Aditya Chola I and went on to conquer other kingdoms. The most significant among his conquests was the conquest of Pandyan empire. Pandyan empire was one of the powerful and dangerous at that time but Parantaka Chola I was no less than a great conqueror.

In the year 910 A.D., Parantaka Chola strongly decided to conquer Pandyan empire and with a huge army attacked Madurai (capital of Pandyas). The king of Pandyan empire at that time was Maravarman Rajasimha II. He was very easily defeated by the young and intelligent Chola king Parantaka Chola I. Maravarman Rajasimha II had to bow before Parantaka's war tactics and accept his defeat. He vacated his capital and requested the help of Sri Lankan king Kassapa, who was a friend of Pandyan king. The Sri Lankan king sent a huge army under his top commander Chakka Senapathi to help the Pandya king.

This led to battle of Vellore. The combined armies of Pandya king Maravarman Rajasimha II and Sri Lankan king Kassapa marched towards Madurai to defeat Parantaka. Both the opponent armies met at a place called Vellore and fought furiously. Parantaka Chola I defeated the combined armies in the battle and it was called the "Battle Of Vellore". After this battle, Pandya King Rajasimha along with Lankan army fled to Sri Lanka. Along with him, Rajasimha took the Pandyan crown and the insignia with him. Parantaka wanted that crown and insignia. Although he was victorious in that battle, Parantaka was not satisfied at all as he wanted the Pandyan crown and the insignia. After few years, leaving his wealth to Kassapa, Rajasimha moved to Chera kingdom as his mother was a Chera princess.

Conquests And Expansion Of Chola KIngdom :

Rashtrakutas were enemies of Cholas. There was a rise of power of Rashtrakutas during the reign of Parantaka Chola  I. There 6 rulers who ruled Rashtrakuta empire. They are :

1. Krishna II (878-914 A.D.)
2. Indra III (914-929 A.D.)
3. Amoghavarsha II (929-930 A.D.)
4. Govinda IV (930-936 A.D.)
5. Amoghavarsha III (936-939 A.D.)
6. Krishna III (939-967 A.D.)

All the above mentioned years are not accurate, they are based on some historical records. Now coming to the story, one of Krishna II's daughter married Aditya Chola I (father of Parantaka). They gave birth to a child named Kannaradeva. When Aditya Chola died, Rashtrakuta king Krishna II wanted his grandson Kannaradeva to be the successor of Aditya Chola I. But Parantaka became the ruler of Chola empire after Aditya Chola and Kannaradeva was sidelined. This made Krishna II very furious and he wanted to defeat Parantaka and make his grandson Kannaradeva as the monarch of Chola kingdom. So Krishna II joined hands with Banas and Vaidumbas. All the three armies attacked Chola empire. Parantaka Chola took the help of Ganga king Prithvipati II. Both the enemy armies met at Tiruvallam (north Arcot). Parantaka won the battle and the territory of the Banas was occupied by Parantaka. He made Prithvipati II, the over lord of Banas territory.

These victories doesn't seemed to satisfy Parantaka. He wanted the Pandyan crown and the insignia, which he missed during the battle of vellore. After three decades of winning the Pandyas, he sent his army to Sri Lanka to get the lost insignia and Pandyan crown. The king of Sri Lanka at that time was Udaya IV. He was a coward and didn't want to face the army of Parantaka. So he took the crown, jewels, insignia and fled to Rohana hills and hid inside a cave. The Parantaka army had to return empty handed.

For his exploits in Pandyan country and in Sri Lanka, he took the title "Maduraiyum Elamum Konda Parakesarivarman" (Parakesarivarman who conquered Madurai and Sri Lanka). So Parantaka Chola I was also known as Parakesarivarman.

During his reign, the Chola terrotory extended up to Nellore in north. It was also said that he defeated the deccan kingdoms. Like his father, he maintained very friendly relations with Chera kingdom. One of his queen Villavan Mahadeviyar, who was the mother of his son Arinjaya, was a daughter of Chera prince Paluvettaraiyar.

Internal Administration :

Although Parantaka was very much interested in wars and conquests, he was also a able administrator who accelerated the administrative reforms, for which the Cholas were very well known. The inscriptions belonging to his reign mention that agriculture flourished and the farmers were prosperous because of canal irrigation. Parantaka made numerous canals throughout the country which helped agriculture a lot. There were no famines or droughts through out his reign. He strengthened village administration and local administrative bodies. He built numerous temples and mainly Lord Shiva temples as he was a Shaivite. He made sure that each village had atleast one temple. He was well known for covering the Nataraja temple of Chidambaram with gold roof and came to be called as "Pon Veintha Cholan".

Defeat In The Hands Of Rashtrakuta King Krishna III :

As we all know that Parantaka defeated the combined forces of Rashtrakutas, Banas and Vaidumbas, there was a threat left for Chola empire when Krishna III became the king of Rashtrakutas. Prithvipati II , friend of Parantaka and king of Ganga kingdom died. Krishna III used this opportunity and attacked Ganga kingdom and defeated them. He made his brother-in-law Butuga as the new king of Rashtrakutas.

Both Krishna III and Butuga together attacked Chola empire. Parantaka had stationed a battalion of army under his son Rajaditya. However, the Chola king Parantaka had to face a defeat in the hands of Rashtrakutas and also he lost his son Rajaditya in the battle. His son was killed brutally in the war. This was the single and only blot in the entire reign of Parantaka. Half of the northern region of Chola kingdom was captured.

Even after that defeat, Parantaka continued to concentrate on internal administration and died around 955 A.D. If he would have defeated Rashtrakutas in that last battle, he would have been occupied a prominent position besides the greatest kings of Chola empire as well as Indian history Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola. He was succeeded by his son Gandaraditya.

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