Rajaraja’s first military activity was directed against the Cholas. An expression ‘Kandalur salai Kalamaruttarulina’ which occurs often in his and later .inscriptions was once taken to mean that he led a naval expedition to the neighbourhood of Trivandrum and that he destroyed the Chola fleet stationed there; but now the expression has been rightly interpreted as meaning the destruction of a school of military science and an adjoining armoury at Kandalur.
This did not necessarily involve naval manouvres; and the Chola army should have marched through the Pandyan country, the resubjucation of which should have been the Chola’s first military achievement.
The Chera king at that time was Bhaskara Ravivarman Tiruvadi. According to the plan of conquest described in the Tiruvalangadu plates he began with the attack on Vilinam in the southernmost part of the Pandya country and then proceeded to deal with the Pandyas then ruled by one Amarabhujanga. Rajaraja rightly decided that it was necessary to break up the traditional alliance among the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Ceylonese. He completed the conquest of the Chera country by bringing Kollam and Udagai under his control. In all these campaigns he was ably assisted by his son Rajendra who was appointed general of the armies. Rajaraja’s contemporary was Mahinda V. The island was in a state of confusion due to military rebellion.
The Chola king took advantage of this and invaded and occupied the northern part of Ceylon. Mahinda V fled and took refuge in a southern district. Northern Ceylon was made into a province and named Mummudi Cholamandalam. Mummudi Chola was a title earlier assumed by the Chola king. The Chola armies destroyed Anuradapura, ancient capital of Ceylon and set up Polonnaruva as capital and built a Siva temple there. This was the first occasion when the famous Chola navy came into operation. Campaigns In The North-West
Having.conquered and consolidated the southern provinces, Rajaraja turned his attention to the north for further conquest. In a mightly sweep he brought Gangapadi, Nolambapadi, Tadigapadi, Talaikkadu and parts of southern Mysore under his rule. While these operations were in progress the Rashtrakutas fell in AD 973 and the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani succeeded them to power in Deccan under Taila II.
The Chola advance into Mysore started a series of Chola-Chalukya conflicts which were to be a main feature of the relationship, from the days of Rajaraja to practically the end, of these two dynasties. For more than two centuries the history of the Deccan and Tamilnad was characterised by these military efforts which in the ultimate analysis left the two powers precisely where they were at the beginning.
While the Cholas had stabilised their position in the south the Kalyani Chalukyas were in less favourable position for they were caught between hostile North Indian powers like the Paramaras of Malwa and the Cholas in the south. Taila II claims to have defeated Rajaraja in an engagement in which he is said to have captured 150 elephants. This could have been a surprise attack.
The Chola then invaded the Chalukyan kingdom now ruled by Satyasraya and fought successful battles on the banks of the Tungabhadra. Rajendra, the crown prince, advanced as far as the Bijapur district with a million strong army and the Chalukyan record say that he ‘plundered the whole country, killed women, children and brahmins, caught hold of girls and destroyed their caste’.
Any territory lost by the Chalukyas to the north of the Tungabhadra was recovered by them quickly and that river, always geo-politically significant in the history of South India, was a border line between the Chalukyas and the Cholas for two centurries or so.