Vira Ballala II who founded the Hoysala era ruled from AD 1173 to AD 1220. Before he died Vira Narasimha had been crowned king. The new king did not possess the energy or the capacity of his father to manage the affairs of a turbulent kingdom. Vishnuvardhana and Ballala II were probably the two greatest among the Hoysala rulers.
It was, however, in the reign of Vira Narasimha that an important turn in the affairs of the Hoysala kingdom occurred and that was the necessity for the Hoysala ruler to interfere in the affairs of the Cholas of the Tamil country. This necessity was treated and used as an opportunity. The contemporary Chola emperor was Kulottunga HI who was getting into difficuties with the Pandyas.
The Hoysala family had entered into matrimonial alliance with the Cholas; Ballala himself had married a Chola princess and it is possible that he gave his daughter in marriage to Kulottunga III. This Hoysala wife of the Chola emperor was affectionately attached to her parental home; and after her husband’s death did an excellent service to her brother Narasimha by taking the latter’s child to the Chola capital to bring him up for the royal child had lost its mother.
This child was to be the Vira Somesvara whose preference for the Tamil country was well known. The relations between the two ruling dynasties were destined to grow further. Vira Narasimha gave one of his daughters in marriage to Kulottunga’s son, later Rajaraja III. In fact on many occasions Rajendra III (son of Rajaraja III Chola) calls Somesvara “mama” (uncle).
Thus Hoysala Chola matrimonial relations had better be remembered if one should understand the Hoysala interest in providing assistance to the Cholas in distress caused by the Pandyas who were exerting pressure progressively on the declining Cholas and in rescuing them from their insubordinate feudatories.
Maravarman Sundara Pandya irked by constant Chola aggression on the Pandyan country invaded the territories to the north of the Kaviri and defeated Rajaraja III, drove him to Palaiyarai where he pursued him and crowned himself. At this difficult juncture, Kulottunga III himself went into exile. But a strange thing happened.
The successful Pandya returned the conquered territories to the defeated Chola and quiety returned to his capital. His unusual generosity was caused by a new turn of events, namely the Chola request to the Hoysalas to help them out of the political and military embarrassments caused by the Pandyas. In response to this request Ballala II sent his son Vira Narasimha with an army to the Tamil country.
The interfering Hoysala forces drove back the invading Pandyas and helped the Cholas, though temporarily to retain status: The Hoysalas who came, however, had come to stay. Rajaraja III who had in the meantime provoked the rising Pandyas into yet another invasion of the Chola country was humiliated by fresh defeats; he was also humbled by his own subordinate Kadavakopperunjinga who captured and imprisoned him in Sendamangalam.