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Rajendra Chola II

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Rajendra Chola II

Rajendra Chola II
இரண்டாம் இராஜேந்திர சோழன்
Rajendra II Territories c. 1059 CE
Reign 1054–1063 CE
Predecessor Rajadhiraja Chola
Successor Virarajendra Chola
Queen Rajarajan Arumoliyar alias Tennavan Mādevi, queen of Rajendradeva,[1]
Uruttiran Arumoli alias PirudiMādeviyar,[2]
Father Gangaikonda Chola
Born Unknown
Died 1063 CE

Rajendra Chola II reigned as the Chola king succeeding his elder brother Rajadhiraja Chola in the 11th century.[3] He is best remembered for his role in the battle of Koppam along with his elder brother where he dramatically turned the tables on the Chalukyan King Somesvara I.[4]During his early reign an expedition was led to Sri Lanka, in the course of which the Sri Lanka army was routed and their king Vijayabahu I of Polonnaruwa was driven to take refuge in a mountain-fortress.[5] He maintained the Chola Empire well as the distribution of his records show that the Chola Empire did not suffer any loss of territory during his reign.[6]


  • Koppam Battle 1
  • Unprecedented Accession 2
  • Further Chalukyan Battles 3
  • Patron of Art 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Conquests 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8

Koppam Battle

The Chola forces were in battle with the Chalukyan army at Koppam (Koppal) located on the Tungabhadra River in 1053–54 AD.[7][8] Rajadhiraja was personally leading the Chola army from atop a war elephant to help rally the retreating Cholas. Prince Rajendra, the younger brother of Rajadhiraja, was holding himself in reserve. The Chalukyan army then concentrated on the elephant on which the Chola king was riding and wounded him mortally. Seeing the emperor falling dead, the Chola army retreated in disarray.[9] At that stage Rajendra entered the fray. Once again the Chalukya army concentrated on the leader. Rajendra-II was as valorous as his brave father and was a born leader of men. He immediately sensed that with the death of their King Rajadhiraja-I, the Chola army was in a disarray, he announced his taking over as the next Chola monarch and ordered the capable Chola army to continue fighting without letting up.[10] His unparalleled response and restoration of order by deciding to lead from the front on the battlefield simply re-galvanized his army which had among its ranks, several generals serving the Chola army from the times of Raja Raja I and Rajendra Chola I. He had many nephews and . Needless to add, the Chalukya army was simply unprepared for this kind of a reaction from any army which had lost its original leader and were simply no match. From inscriptions of Rajendra-II, we know that his elder brother Rajadhiraja-I was killed in the battle at Koppam in which Rajendra-II had participated along with his other brothers. Even Rajendra-II had been injured initially and had withdrawn from the battle, but he came back and turned the tables on the Ahavamalla (Somesvara-I, who called himself 'Trailokyamalla' – lord of three worlds). At the end of the battle, the Chalukyas were defeated and a number of officers of their army lay dead on the field. In this battle multiple opponents viz. Jaysinghan, the younger brother of the Salukki, Pulikesi, Dasapanman etc., were killed by Rajendradeva.[11]

Here is an excerpt from an inscription (begins with Tiru-magal maruviya śengōlavan..) of this king while he was still a co-regent of Rajadhiraja Chola I: (from Kolar in Karnataka, original in Tamil and Grantha alphabet);

Kollapuram is identified with Kolhapur in present day Maharashtra.[13] Based upon other inscriptions of Rajendra, historian Hultzsch has proposed that the Kollapuram war was an earlier expedition, in which Rajendra had participated under his elder brother Rajdhiraja.[14] This view is also held by a few other historians who credit the burning of Kalyanapuram, the capital of the Chalukyas and the planting of victory at Kollapuram, again two separate events, to Rajadhiraja Chola I.[15]

Unprecedented Accession

Gangai Konda Cholapuram

Rajendra-II, who had been nominated by his elder brother Rajadhiraja Chola I as heir apparent over his own children, proclaimed himself king on the Koppam battlefield after his victory.[7]

It is to be noted however the above version of the Koppam battle is found only in the Chola inscriptions. Chalukyan contemporary chroniclers are silent on this battle in keeping with their not acknowledging the defeats of the Chalukyan 'Kings' and their fleeing the battlefields, as was the case with Taila-II, his son and successors like Satyashraya, Jayasimha-II, Someshwara Ahavamalla and his two sons Vikramaditya VI and Jayasimha (Singhana in Tamil records). A Chalukyan account of the battle is only found in a later inscription dated c. 1071, which recounts this incident after a gap of almost 15 years and which only mentions the death of Rajadhiraja.

Later Chola poetic works Kalingathuparani and Vikramcholan Ula make mention of this battle in great detail that enhances our understanding of the calibre of the sons of Rajendra-I who succeeded him one after the other and according to their age.

Further Chalukyan Battles

Chalukyas, anxious to wipe out the disgrace of Koppam, invaded the Chola country in great force c 1062 C.E. The armies met at the Muddakaru river (at the junction of the Tungabhadra and the Krishna river).[16] The Chalukya commander Dandanayaka Valadeva was killed and the Cholas led by Rajamahendra resisted the invasion. Virarajendra Chola was also present in the battle fighting at the side of Rajamahendra.

The Western Chalukyan expedition to take Vengi was also thwarted by the Cholas at the same battlefield. Subsequently, Someshwara-I also engaged the Chola army under Rajendra-II and Virarajendra at Kudalasangamam, the result was yet another heavy defeat for the Chalukyan king who had several of his generals beheaded, his queens taken captive and he himself fled the battlefield as was a 'tradition' among his predecessors whenever they faced the Chola kings (**)

Patron of Art

When he was a co-regent of his elder brother, Rajadhiraja Chola I, he shared the latter's workload by taking care of the internal affairs of the state. He was a great patron of dance and theatre and we know of several occasions where he encouraged various artists and poets. For example, he passed a royal order in the 4th year of his reign to provide paddy and other ration to Santi Kuttan Tiruvalan Tirumud Kunran alias Vijaya Rajendra Acharyan for enacting Rajarajeswara Natakam (a musical), in the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur.[17][18] Accordingly, the dancer was to get 120 Kalam paddy for this purpose and that he and his descendants were to perform the musical regularly during the annual festival.[19]

Personal life

His inscription dated in the 4th year of his reign, when he was still a co-regent of his elder brother, gives a glimpse of his extended family. He conferred the title Karikāla Sōlan upon his younger brother Vira-Solan who was at that time the Lord of Kozhi(Uraiyur). He conferred the title Chola Janakarajan on his son Kadarangkonda Cholan of great valor, in whom the eminence of the race of the sun exists. On his son Irattapadikonda Cholan, who was the rock of support of pure Tamil, he gave the title Chola-Kannakuchchiyarajan(Kanyakubja).[11]


Rajendra-II like his predecessors already had control of the Pandyan kingdom. After vanquishing the Chalukya Somesvara I, he undertook a further expedition to the Kalinga Kingdom as well as to Ilangai (Sri Lanka) whose king Manabharanan was aided by the Kalinga King Vira Salamegha. He also had under his control other provinces such as Ayodhya, Kanyakubja, Rattapadi, Kadaram. In Kalinga war, the king of Kalinga was killed and the two sons of Manabharanan were captured.


  1. ^ A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Tiruchchirappalli District, page 186
  2. ^ Epigraphy By Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle, page 76
  3. ^ The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire, page 241
  4. ^ Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, page 13
  5. ^ The Cambridge Shorter History of India p.190
  6. ^ The Cambridge Shorter History of India p.190
  7. ^ a b Ancient Indian History and Civilization, page 384
  8. ^ The Cambridge Shorter History of India, page 190
  9. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization von Sailendra Nath Sen p.384
  10. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen: p.384
  11. ^ a b South Indian Inscriptions: Miscellaneous inscriptions in Tamil (4 pts. in 2), page 62
  12. ^ Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 35
  13. ^ The early history of the Deccan, Volume 1, page 327
  14. ^ The Cōḷas, page 279
  15. ^ The Chālukyas of Kalyāṇa and the Kalachuris, page 172
  16. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization von Sailendra Nath Sen p.384
  17. ^ Bharatanatyam, the Tamil heritage, page 42
  18. ^ Middle Chola temples: Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I (A.D. 985–1070), page 266
  19. ^ Archaeology and art: Krishna Deva felicitation volume, Part 2, page 554
Preceded by
Rajendra Chola I
1051–1063 CE
Succeeded by
Virarajendra Chola


  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
  • The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti
  • Ancient Indian History and Civilization By Sailendra Nath Sen
  • Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1 By Benjamin Lewis Rice, Mysore (India : State). Archaeological Dept, Mysore Archaeological Survey
  • The early history of the Deccan, Volume 1 By Ghulām Yazdānī
  • Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture By K.V. Raman
  • The Chālukyas of Kalyāṇa and the Kalachuris By Balakrishnan Raja Gopal
  • Epigraphia Indica and record of the Archæological Survey of India, Volume 7 By Archaeological Survey of India
  • Bharatanatyam, the Tamil heritage By Lakshmi Viswanathan
  • Middle Chola temples: Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I (A.D. 985–1070) By S. R. Balasubrahmanyam
  • Archaeology and art: Krishna Deva felicitation volume, Part 2 By Krishna Deva, Chitta Ranjan Prasad Sinha, Bipin Kumar Jamuar, Umesh Chandra Dwivedi, Shri Bhagwan Singh
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