Raja Raja Chola I was one of the greatest kings in the history of South India. He belonged to the later Cholan Dynasty. He was a great administrator, fierce warrior, a philanthropist and lover of beauty. Before going to know more about this great king let’s know some background about the dynasty and then get back to him through our list of interesting Raja Raja Chola I facts.
Interesting Raja Raja Chola I Facts: 1-8
1. Cholan Dynasty (location of this great kingdom was in Tamil Nadu, India) is the one of the few dynasties which made its mark in the history of India. Cholan or simply Chola Dynasty’s reign is divided into 3 parts viz., Early Cholans, Medieval Cholans and Later Cholans.
2. Sangam literature, one of the main source for verifying Tamilian’s ancient history, mentions that early Cholans existed in the first few centuries of the common era. Kings like Kantaman, Karikala Chola (yes we agree the names are more or less like tongue twisters!), Elaare are famous. King Kantaman is famous and is considered to be a contemporary of Sage Agastya and to bring the Kaveri River down to the earth with his devotion.
3. Medieval Cholans are also called as the Imperial Cholas. This is where the Chola Dynasty reached its zenith and Parantaka Chola I, Parantaka Chola II, Rajendra Chola are few of the popular kings.
4. Raja Raja Chola I also belonged to Medieval Cholans and he was the gem of all the kings. They ruled from 848 CE to 1070 CE.
5. Later Cholans ruled from 1070 CE to 1279 CE. Though at first kings like Kulothonga Chola, Raja Raja Chola II, Vikrama Chola etc. were efficient enough to protect their kingdom but just like any other great dynasty it was nearing its end and with weak rulers the great dynasty ended in 1279 CE.
6. The actual name of the dynasty is Sora or Chora, a Tamil word but not Chola; Chola was a Sanskrit word and it has been in use.
7. The origin of Cholans is a debatable issue even now. Though there are many sources for documenting the great kingdoms but the origin of Cholans cannot be traced back with the help of those sources. There are many assumptions based on some evidences about their origin.
8. Many say that the Cholans are not actually Tamilians but they come from either Chalukyas of Eastern Andhra Pradesh or Telugu Chodas who trace their decent to Ikshvakus – the dynasty of Lord Shri Ram. Ikshvakus trace their decent to Manu and Cholas too trace their decent to Manu. The territories of Telugu Chodas and Cholans were pretty near. Telugu Chodas were allies of Chalukyas.
Interesting Raja Raja Chola I Facts: 9-17
9. Another interesting but hard-to-believe assumption is that the Cholans were a Naga tribe which came either from Bengal (Bengal was called as Pangala during those days) or from north part of the country. The emblem of Cholans is the tiger, an animal which was uncommon to be seen in Tamil Nadu.
10. The usage of Prakrit language instead of Tamil in earlier inscriptions are some of the proofs which connote that Cholans may not be Tamilians but may be either Telugus or of Kannada origin.
11. Raja Raja Chola I was the third child of the King Parantaka Sundara Chola and Vanavan Maha Devi of the Velir Malayaman Dynasty. His real name was Arulmozhi Varman. He was also called as RajaRaja Sivapada Sekhara which translates into the King of Kings who has Lord Siva’s feet as his crown. His adopted name with which he is known – “Raja Raja” – meant King of the Kings.
12. He was a very loving brother. It is said that to avenge his brother Aditya Karikalan’s death, he fought against Chera Kandalur and won. Remember, he didn’t lose a single battle in his lifetime. Now that’s great!
13. His elder brother Aditya Chola was assassinated in 969 CE and then Uttama Chola was declared as the crown prince. Unlike other great kings like Asoka, Ajatasatru etc., he had no jealousy even if he had, he didn’t show it openly.
14. Uttama Chola ruled for 15 years and after his death, Raja Raja Chola I was declared as the king unanimously through a democratic process which was followed by the Cholans.
15. He ascended the throne in the year 985 CE and he was assisted by his sister Kundavai Pirattiyar in administration and management of temples.
16. When Raja Raja Chola I ascended the throne, his father and grandfather had strengthened Cholan Dynasty in South India by then. He made several successful conquests on the neighboring Cheran and Pandyan kingdoms and increased his kingdom’s territories manifold.
17. After conquering the whole of South India, he adopted a title of “Mummadi Chola”. He then concentrated on Sinhalese dynasty which was ruling Ceylon or present day Sri Lanka. The contemporary king was Mahinda V. He defeated Mahinda V and then captured Anuradhapura, the capital city of Sinhalese Dynasty and occupied the northern part of the Ceylon but southern part remained independent. To commemorate his victory in Ceylon he built a Lord Shiva temple there. His son, Rajendra Chola conquered the entire Ceylon.