Whatever is the accuracy of this statement it is undoubted that Chola morale was ba shaken. The empire that was so hurriedly built up narrowly missed being blown up.
Parantaka I reared a large family which was matrimonially connected with many ru" families. His first son Rajaditya, son of queen Kokkilan, was a competent prince who fell d Takkolam earning the title 'Yanai meltunjiya' i.e., he who died on the back of an elephar Parantakla I was a Parakesari and there was a system of bearing titles in this Chola fanu by which the monarch suceeding to the throne styled themselves Parakesari of Rajah- alternately.
Since Aditya I was a Rajakesari, Parantaka I was Parakesari. By anot convention of that family Rajaditya, the crown prince, became a Rajakesari. Parantaka's interests were many and varied. The Uttaramerur inscription which give details about the autonomous village administration in Chola times belong to his period.
He was a devout of Saiva who made expensive endowments to the shrine at Chidambaram. He covered the Siva shrine there with gold and was consequently called Ponveynda Parantaka. Gandaraditya
Parantaka I passed away in AD 955 and was succeeded by his second son Gandaraditya who ruled as crown prince for five years and as independent ruler for three years. For the period intervening the reign of Parantaka I and Rajaraja I we have the great help of two important grants namely the Leyden grant of Rajaraja I and the Tiruvalangadu plates of Rajendra I.
They help us to sort out the order of succession which we may set out as follows: (1) Gandaraditya (Rajakesari) ruled from 950 to 957; (2) Arinjaya brother of No. 1 (Parakesari) 956-957; (3) Parantaka II Sundara Chola, son of No.2 (Rajakesari) 956-973; (4) Aditya II Karikala, first son of No.3 (Parakesari) 956-969 (died without independent rule); (5) Madurantaka Uttama Chola son of No.l (Parakesari) 973-985; (6) Rajaraja I (Rajakesari), second son of No 3; 985-1014.
The above dates include joint rule as well as independent reign periods. In the days of Gandaraditya, Chola rule was over a restricted I Kingdom since the Rashtrakutas controlled the northern parts and the Pandyas were not effectively controlled. This king had a queen Sebbiyanmadevi quite famous as a philanthropist in Chola history and held in high esteem by all the members of the family. She survived Gandaraditya and lived on till 1001.
Gandaraditya himself was great Saiva. He was the author of the Tirusisaippa included in the 11th Tirumurai of the Saiva Canon. His brother Arikulalesari who need not be equated with Arinjaya never ruled; probably he predeceased Gandaraditya Arinjaya
Gandaraditya was succeeded by his only surviving brother Arinjaya. He had no doubt an infant son who was perhaps too young to ascend the throne. Arinjaya who ascended the throne perhaps had no idea of ever restoring the kingdom to the rightful prince, the infant son of Gandaraditya.
The inscriptions of Arinjaya show clearly that he was ruling as an independent sovereign. He ruled only for a year. He had two wives, Viman Kundavai and Kodaippiratti, the former was perhaps the daughter of the Chalukya Bhima II of Vengi. Arinjaya died at Arrur. The effforts of Gandaraditya and Arinjaya to recover the territories lost to the Rashtrakutas met with little success. Sundara Chola
Arinjaya had a wife Kalyani by name, a Vaidumba princess. He had by her a son Sundara Chola who ascended the throne in 956 with the title Maduraikonda Rajakesari Sundara Chola Parantaka II. After the Rashtrakuta victory over the Cholas the Pandyan ruler Vira Pandya declared his independence, refused to pay tribute and assumed the title 'Cholan Talai Konda Vira Pandya'.
This title merely means that in some battle he obtained the submission of some Chola prince. In this state of affairs Sundara Chola wanting to recover the Pandyan country invaded Virapandya's territories and assisted by his brave young son Aditya defeated the Pandya in the battle of Sevur.
The Tiruvalangadu plates assert that in this battle Aditya literally took the head of Vira Pandya. That is how the former came to be entitled 'Vira Pandyan Talai Konda'. Anyhow, Vira Pandya seems to have survived the battle of Sevur.
In connection with the Chola attempt to re-establish their hegemony over the Pandyas we hear of two princes Partivendiravarman and Bhuti Vikramakesari who aided the Cholas. In spite of all this the Pandyan subjection to Chola authority during the interval between Parantaka I and Rajaraja I was only nominal. Sundara Chola Parantaka made some effort to regain the northern territories from the Rashtrakutas.
He had shifted his capital temporarily to Kanchipuram where he died in his golden palace and so came to be called 'Ponmaligai Tunjiya Devar'. His wife Vanavan Madevi committed sati and her image was installed in the great temple at Tanjore by her daughter Kundavai. The Murder of Aditya II
Sundara Chola's elder son Aditya II Karikala was murdered by unknown assailants in 969. A record from Udaiyargudi mentions the decision of the sabha of Sri Viranarayana Chaturvedimangalam to confiscate the properties of persons suspected of the murder of Aditya Karikalan.
This epigraph was inscribed in Rajaraja's period. Under these circumstances historians led by Nilakanta Sastri hold Uttama Chola, son of Gandaraditya, responsible for the murder of Aditya II. This is a wholly unjustified accusation.
Gandaraditya when he died in 957 left a young son by name Uttaman and we know how in view of the infancy of this child Arinjaya ascended the throne. The right of Uttama to the throne after Gandaraditya could not have been in doubt in the minds of Arinjaya and his successors.
In this context to hold Aditya as the rightful ruler, Uttama as a usurper who obtained the throne by murdering Aditya and that Rajaraja in his magnanimity allowed Uttama to ascend the throne and preferred patiently to wait for his chance-are a series of statements lacking evidence as well as judgement. It is 'undoubted that Uttama Chola, son of Gandaraditya, had better title to the Chola throne than Arinjaya or any of his successors. Uttama Chola
Uttama Chola ascended the throne in 973 and ruled for twelve years. We have a number of inscriptions of his times from North Arcot and Chingleput districts. During his reign peace prevailed generally in the kingdom. His inscriptions are ideal specimens of the palaeography of those times.
From his inscriptions we learn of an officer called Ambalavan Valuvur Nakkan of Kualalapuram (Kolar). He conferred the title Vikrama Chola Maharaja on this officer and it follows that Uttama was also known as Vikrama Chola. His gold coin is the earliest Chola piece available so far. His mother Sambiyan Madevi ruled over the domestic establishment with power and piety, his son Madurantakan Gandaraditya bore his grandfather's name and later became an officer under Rajaraja I i.e., he who should have been king was reduced to the position of an officer by the descendant of the usurping junior branch of the family. Rajaraja I
On the death of Uttaman in 985, Arunmoli, second son of Sundara Chola and half- brother of Aditya II, ascended the Chola throne assuming the royal title Rajaraja; he was a Rajakesari, his predecessor Uttama being a Parakesari. He was the son of the Kerala princess Vanavan Madevi. He ruled from 985 to 1014.
The date of his accession was some day between 25th June and 25th July of 985. His star was Sadayam. Rajaraja has been considered to be the greatest Chola ruler, i.e., he was for the Imperial Cholas what Karikala was to the Sangam Cholas. His achievements and the achievements of his son Rajendra I are complementary, i.e., each fulfilled the other.
The substantial nature of Rajaraja's imperialism cannot be assessed truly if his son had not built on it. The debate about the relative greatn of father and son is futile for Rajaraja laid the foundation and Rajendra raised superstructure and each needed the other.
Chola imperialism was created by Rajaraja. Though it would be anachronistic to sp of imperialism in the context of politics and government in Tamilnad, in view of the la kingdom established by Rajaraja on the basis of his inheritance to which he added b aggression fresh territories in all directions it may be presumed that a kind of quas imperialism came into vogue.
Even during Uttama's period the Chola kingdom had largel recovered from the impact of northern invasions; the stability and peace which prevailed in the realm enabled Rajaraja to create a politico-military machine designed for aggressi over land and sea.
His partial conquest of Ceylon, his throwing back of the West Chalukyas and his destruction of Chera military potential indicate his military might; the great temple at Tanjore represents a grand effort at religious architecture.
His patronage of letters, his toleration of other faiths though decidedly preferring Saivism and his diploma in befriending the Chalukyas of Vengi as against the Chalukyas of Kalyani, the elaboration of the administrative system, etc., present to us a many-sided personality.
In spite of the large quantity of information we get on him, largely from his own inscriptions in the Tanjore temple but also from other sources like his Leyden grant and Rajendra's Tiruvalangadu plates, it must be admitted that we get no full picture of Rajaraja, the man. We do not get even a credible portrait of the great king. Nilakanta Sastri rightly rejects the Tanjore bronze, sometimes taken to be Rajaraja, as late and spurious. Kandalur Salai.