Short Essay on the biography of Rajaraja III

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We do not know for certain whether Rajaraja was the son of Kulottunga III or even if he was the father of his successor Rajendra III.

Though there is no positive proof for such a relationship since there is no evidence against it either, it will not be wrong to hold that succession was normal in these cases. The bombastic language of the inscriptions must not mislead us into imagining a prosperous political condition. Rajaraja III had two wives, one a Bana princess and another called Bhuvanamuludaiyal. The inscriptions of his days mention many persons punished for treason.

The Hoysala forces which came to prevent the Pandyas from taking over the Chola kingdom stayed here in important places like Kanchi. The new leader of the Kadavarayas by name Kopperunjinga is praised in many inscriptions which explain how he became master of the Tondaimandalam. This Kadava became famous also for his numerous endowments to and re-constructions of temples.

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The Pandyan inscriptions say that Rajaraja in not only refused to pay the tribute he had agreed to pay but also invaded the Pandyan country. The Pandya naturally hit back and invaded the Chola land. The conquering Pandyan captured the Chola queen and crowned himself at Mudikonda Cholapuram. Rajaraja III, defeated and humiliated, fled his capital seeking Hoysala aid again. On the way he was captured by Kadavakopperunjinga who threw him into a prison in Sendamangalam.

On hearing this Narasimha, the Hoysala king rushed to the rescue of the imprisoned Chola and punished the insubordinate chieftains. Then Narasimha’s army reached the north bank of the Kaviri, defeated the Pandya army at Mahendramangalam and compelled the Pandya to pay tribute. This was the second time the Hoysalas intervened in the politics of the Tamil country and stemmed the tide of Pandyan expansion to the north.

The Hoysalas who came to help the local queeen stayed here as rulers themselves. Many Hoysala warriors became part and parcel of the Tamil country, endowed generously local temples and generally helped themselves to the wealth of the Tamil country.

Their presence held down irrepressible chieftains like Kopperunjinga. In the last years of Rajaraja HI, the Telugu Chodas beyond Nellore and the Kakatiyas in Warangal had become powerful. Rajaraja III was a very incompetent king and his incompetence consisted in defying superior strength and altogether he was a monarch who deserved more to be pitied than despised.

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