Skip to main content

Raja Raja Chola I - Construction Of Brihadeeswarar Temple - Battle Of Kandalur

Raja Raja Chola I -  Construction Of Brihadeeswarar Temple - Battle Of Kandalur

Raja Raja Chola I is considered as one of the greatest ever Indian kings and possibly the greatest leader of Chola dynasty. He turned a small kingdom into one of the dominant empires in south India. He constructed the world famous temple which was declared by UNESCO as world heritage site called Brihadeeswarar temple. He was from a dynasty which saw ruling of great kings like Karikala Chola, Vijayalaya Chola, Aditya Chola I etc,. He ruled between 985 and 1014 A.D. He laid the foundation for the growth of the Chola kingdom into a mighty empire by conquering the kingdoms of southern India and he expanded the Chola empire to as far as Sri Lanka in the south and Kalinga (Orissa) in the northeast. He fought many battles with Chalukyas in the north and Pandyas in the south. He was a fierce warrior, a brilliant architect and a great philanthropist.

Birth :
Raja Raja Chola I

Raja Raja Chola I was born as Arulmozhi Varman to Parantaka II and Vanavan Mahadevi (Velir Malayaman dynasty) in 947 in Aipassi month on the day of Sadhayam star.  He was also known as Raja Raja Sivapada Sekhara, Telungana Kula Kala, Ponniyin Selvan, Rajakesari Varman, Raja Raja Devar and respectfully as Peruvudaiyar. He was the third and younger child of Parantaka II. He had one elder brother and elder sister. Aditya Karikalan or Aditya II was his elder brother who was cruelly assassinated. Kundavai was his elder sister. As per records and inscriptions, he had nearly 15 wives. Among them Vaanathi or Thiripuvana Madeviyar (princess of Kodumbalur) bore him his only son Rajendra Chola I.


Accession To Throne :

The grandfathers of Raja Raja Chola I were Gandaraditya and Arinjaya. Gandaraditya ruled the Chola empire between 950-956 A.D. Gandaraditya was childless until a very late age. So he thought he might end up with no successor. For this purpose he made his brother Arinjaya as his successor. But after some time, he had a child named Uttama Chola. Arinjaya was succeeded by his son Parantaka II. Here instead of Parantaka II, Uttama Chola should be made king as he has the right to throne. But Parantaka II was made king. As we know that Parantaka II was the father of Raja Raja Chola I and Aditya II. Aditya II was assassinated by the supporters of Vira Pandya of Pandyan empire as Vira Pandya was killed by Aditya II in a battle. After the death of Aditya II,  Uttama Chola forced Parantaka II to declare him as his successor. The younger son of Parantaka II, Raja Raja Chola I did not protest as he wanted to avoid a civil war. So Uttama Chola succeeded the father of Raja Raja I. Then after the death of Uttama Chola, Raja Raja Chola I succeeded him as the emperor of Chola kingdom. He waited for nearly 15 years to claim the throne.


Battle Of Kandalur :

Raja Raja Chola I's first ever campaign occurred in the 9th year of his reign. Raja Raja Chola I decided to attack Chera empire in the year 994 A.D. The king of Chera empire at that time was Bhaskara Ravi Varman Thiruvadi. This battle between Raja Raja Chola I and Cheras was fought at a port town of Kandalur Salai (modern Valia-ssala in kerala). The Pandyas and Sinhalas allied with Cheras against Cholas in this battle. This was a naval battle between Cholas and Cheras which was called as "Battle of Kandalur Salai". Raja Raja Chola I destroyed numerous boats and ships of Chera Naval fleet. The battle was fought for few years and finally Raja Raja Chola I won the war. The Kandalur war is often regarded as the first military achievement of Raja Raja Chola I.


Invasion Of Sri Lanka :

The Thiruvalangadu copper plate inscriptions mentions that Raja Raja Chola I invaded the Sinhalese country (sri lanka). The king of Sinhalese at that time was Mahinda V. In this battle Raja Raja I destroyed the 1400 year old capital of Sinhalese called Anuradhapura. Raja Raja I selected the city Polonnaruwa as capital city. He changed its name to Jananathamangalam. He built a Shiva temple in that city. He captured only northern part of Sri Lanka. The other half was captured by his son Rajendra Chola after him.

Wars With Eastern And Western Chalukyas :
During the reign of Raja Raja I, Hoysalas were vassals of Western Chalukyas. An inscription from Gopalakrishna temple in Narasipur mentions that a chola general killed minister Naganna and other generals of Hoysalas. This was a indirect victory of Cholas over Western Chalukyas.

During that time the Vengi kingdom was ruled by Jata Choda Bhima of Eastern Chalukyas Dynasty. Raja Raja Chola I waged a war on Vengi kingdom and defeated Jata Choda Bhima and captured Vengi kingdom. He placed Saktivarman on the throne of Vengi Kingdom as a viceroy of Chola kingdom. Again around 1001 A.D. Bhima invaded and captured Kanchi. This time Raja Raja Chola I killed him and re-established Saktivarman on the throne of Vengi kingdom.



Ganga Wars :

Around 998-999 A.D. Raja Raja conquered Gangapadi (Gangawadi), Nurambapadi (Nolambawadi) which formed part of present day Karnataka. The invasion of Chola country by RajaRaja I proved a complete success and the entire Ganga country came under the Chola rule for the next century.

The temple is an example of Dravidian architecture. It is located in Thanjavur of Tamilnadu. The foundations for this temple were laid around 1002 A.D. This great temple was built by RajaRaja Chola of Chola dynasty.

Brihadeeswarar Temple :

One of the greatest and largest temples of India was Brihadeeswarar temple which was dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is an example of Dravidian architecture. It is located in Thanjavur of Tamilnadu. The foundations for this temple were laid around 1002 A.D. This great temple was built by RajaRaja Chola of Chola dynasty. It was completed in 1010 A.D. In 2010, the temple turned 1000 years old.

The temple tower (Vimanam) is 198 ft. high and is one of the tallest in the world. The apex on the top of the temple (Kumbam) weighs around 80 tons. The entire temple is made out of granite. This temple is an expression of Cholas wealth, power and artistic expertise.



Death And Succession :

RajaRaja CholaRajaRaja Chola was a king who documented almost his entire life on stone inscriptions and copper plates but no information is available about his death. His tombstone is now in small village of Udayalur. This is where he is rumored to have been buried or cremated. There is a Shiva lingam on top of it about 2 feet tall. Why would a great king like Raja Raja Chola I have such a small and simple grave ?

Several archeologists state that the only reason why a king's death would not be recorded is if the king died an unnatural death. According to this, if a king committed suicide or was murdered, then the ancient Tamils would not record that. This might be the correct answer for the question of how RajaRaja died. But yet it is not proved so it still is a guess. Raja Raja Chola I died around 1014 A.D  He was succeeded by his son Rajendra Chola I.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Cholas

The CholasThe founder of the Chola Empire was Vijayalaya, who was first feudatory of the Pallavas of Kanchi. He captured Tanjore in 850 A.D. He established a temple of goddess Nishumbhasudini (Durga) there. Aditya I succeeded Vijayalaya. Aditya helped his overlord the Pallava king Aparajita against the Pandyas but soon defeated him and annexed the whole of the Pallava kingdom.

By the end of the ninth century, the Cholas had defeated the Pallavas completely and weakened the Pandyas capturing the Tamil country (Tondamandala) and including it under their domination He then became a sovereign ruler. The Rashtrakuta king, Krishna II gave his daughter in marriage to Aditya.
He erected many Shiva temples. He was succeeded in 907 A.D. by Parantaka I, the first important ruler of the Cholas. Parantaka I was an ambitious ruler and engaged himself in wars of conquest from the beginning of his reign. He conquered Madurai from the Pandya ruler Rajasimha II. He assumed the title of Maduraikonda (capt…

Battle of Talikota (Rakkasa-Tangadi) - Destruction of Hampi (1565)

The Battle of Talikota was fought by the Vijayanagara force lead by Aliya Rama Raya against the invading forces of the united Sultanates to the north of Vijayanagara (i.e. consisting of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkonda, Berar and Bidar Husain Nizam Shah, Ali Adil Shah and Ibrahim Qutb Shah). The battle took place on 23 January 1565 at Talikota (In Present Karnataka State). Some scholars say the armies fought near Rakkasagi and Tangadigi villages. Hence the battle is also referred as the Battle of Rakkasa-Tangadi. Some other scholars believe that battle was fought at Krishna-Bannihatti. Hence it is also known as the battle of Bannihatti.


Background: After the death of Achyuta Deva Raya in 1542, Venkata Raya asseended the throne. Later Venkata Raya was killed in 6 months and Sadashiva Raya (minor nephew of Achyuta Raya) ascended the Vijayanagara Throne. Rama Raya appointed himself regent and controlled Sadashiva Raya. Rama Raya acted as actual ruler confining Sadashiva Raya. He replaced the l…

Battle of Tughlaqabad (Battle of Delhi - 1556)

The Battle of Delhi also known as the Battle of Tughlaqabadwas fought between the forces led by Hemu (the general and chief minister of Adil Shah Suri) and the forces of the Mughal led by Tardi Beg Khan. The battle was fought on 7 October 1556 at Tughlaqabad near Delhi.
BackgroundAfter the death of Babur(founder of Mughal empire),Humayun succeeded the throne of Delhi. However after theBattle of Kanauj  (17 May 1540) Sher Khan(Sher shah Suri) became the master of Agra and Delhi. Mughal Empire was put to an end for a while and Humayun lived in exile for next 15 years because of this Short Sur Dynasty founded by Sher Shah Suri.


Later Islam Shah Suri ascended the throne of Sur dynasty after the death of Sher Shah in 1545 at Kalinjar. Islam Shah Suri was a capable ruler, but died in 1554.  With these two deaths the Sur Empire was caught up in a succession battle. Humayun used this perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India and regain the lost power in 1540. Humayun with Baira…