Given his remarkable life, it is surprising that the film industry took too long to bank on Rajaraja Cholan’s glory. This South Indian Ruler was a great conqueror and a beloved king. Here are a few points about the ruler that you probably don’t know.
Born as the second son of Parantaka Cholan II, Rajaraja Cholan was not the immediate heir to the throne, but fate had other plans. His elder brother died before him and Rajaraja mounted the throne in June-July 985. He was born as Arulmozhi Varman; he later adopted the name Rajaraja, which literally translates to ‘King among kings’.
Today, 3rd November is Rajaraja Cholan’s birth anniversary, and on this occasion let us look at some of the interesting facts about Rajaraja Cholan
1. Rajaraja loved his brother
While other kings will always be jealous and mad for the throne or ruling the kingdom, Rajaraja was very different. He loved his elder brother Aditya very much and showed no signs of enviousness or hatred against the crowning prince. When Aditya was assassinated by Chera Kandalur, Rajaraja avenged his death.
2. He conquered many kingdoms
Rajaraja Cholan fought many wars with a strong mindset and captures vast places in South India. He also invaded northern parts of Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep, Thiladhunmadulu atoll, and some tracts of Maldives. He later won Kandalur Salai (Kerala), thanks to his powerful navy and army fleet. The great emperor use to destroy every one who comes in his way.
3. Rajaraja had a keen interest in arts and literature
Under the reign of Rajaraja Cholan, art and literature prospered in south India. Noted works of Tamil poets Appar, Sambandar, and Sundarar were assembled and merged into one collection called Thirumurai.
4. His naval conquest
Rajaraja Cholan’s army possessed a fleet of ships that were able to capture and defend against any attack. It was one of the most advanced marine defense systems of that time. He sent naval voyages to the islands of Maldives. With naval power, he occupied Ceylon and his son occupied some parts of Southeast Asia.
5. The most successful of the Chola kings
Chola dynasty was established in the third century BCE and ruled till the 13th century CE. It means they ruled for a time close to 1500 years, which makes them one of the oldest and longest-ruling dynasties in the world. The most successful of the Chola kings was Rajaraja. Under his leadership, the empire extended to the southern peninsula, Sri Lanka, Malabar Coast, Lakshwadeep, and the Maldives to the Gangetic plains in the north.
6. The concept of silk sarees originated during his reign
The origins of Kanjeevaram silk sarees can be traced back to the time when Rajaraja invited weavers from Saurashtra to settle in Kanchipuram.
7. Equal opportunities for women
The Chola empire treated females with equal respect as males as many females held important positions such as bodyguards of the kings known as padimagalir, some women acted as peacemakers, etc.
8. Rajaraja had 15 wives
Rajaraja Cholan is believed to have had 15 wives. Surprisingly, he also married his sister’s daughter. The story of Ponniyin Selvan mentions his wife as Ilangon Pichiyar, who is the daughter of Kundhavai and Vallavarayar vandhiya thevar.
9. Ponneri Lake
Chozagangam Lake now known as Ponneri Lake was an artificial lake that was built by Rajendra Cholan I during his reign, it is one of the largest ancient man-made lakes in India.
10. His death is a mystery
His death is surrounded by mystery. Nobody knows to date exactly what happened to the most powerful king in South India. Some say he died of natural causes, others say he was killed by a woman. No grave can be traced back to him. The mausoleum that is shown now in no way proves that it is his. It is located in a remote village named Udayalur in Tamil Nadu.