Rajendra Chola II

Rajendra Chola II

Infobox Chola | name=Rajendra Chola II
tamil = இரண்டாம் இராஜேந்திர சோழன்

caption = "Rajendra II Territories c. 1059 C.E."
title = Parakesari
reign= 1054 C.E. - 1063 C.E.
capital = Gangaikonda Cholapuram
queen= Kilanandigal
children= Rajamahendra
predecessor= Rajadhiraja Chola
heir= Virarajendra Chola
father= Rajendra Chola I
year of birth= Unknown
year of death= 1063 C.E.

Rajendra Chola II (10541063 C.E.) reigned as the Chola king succeeding his brother Rajadhiraja Chola.

Koppam Battle

The Chola forces were in battle with the Chalukyan army at Koppam. Rajadhiraja was personally leading the Chola army from atop a war elephant to help rally the retreating Cholas. Prince Rajendra, the younger brother of Rajadhiraja, was holding himself in reserve. The Chalukyan army then concentrated on the elephant on which the Chola king was riding and wounded him mortally. Seeing the emperor falling dead, the Chola army retreated in disarray. At that stage Rajendra entered the fray. Once again the Chalukya army concentrated on the leader. Rajendra-II was as valorous as his brave father and was a born leader of men. He immediately sensed that with the death of their King Rajadhiraja-I, the Chola army was in a disarray, he announced his taking over as the next Chola monarch and ordered the capable Chola army to continue fighting without letting up. His unparalleled response and restoration of order by deciding to lead from the front ont he battlefield simply re-galvanized his army which had among its ranks, several generals serving the Chola army from the times of Raja Raja I and Rajendra Chola I. Needless to add, the Chalukya army was simply unprepared for this kind of a reaction from any army which had lost its original leader and were simply no match. In fact, the Manimangalam inscription of Rajendra-II, mentions that not just his elder brother Rajadhiraja-I was killed in the battle at Koppam in which Rajendra-II and his younger brother Virarajendra too were participating, but even Rajendra-II had been injured initially and had withdrawn from the battle, but he came back and turned the tables on the Ahavamalla (Somesvara-I, who fancifully called himself 'Trailokyamalla' - lord of three worlds, but one who actually couldn't keep his feet in the battlefield). At the end of the battle, the Chalukyas were defeated and a number of officers of their army lay dead on the field. [++]

Unprecedented Accession

Rajadhiraja, who had nominated Rajendra heir apparent over his own children, proclaimed himself king on the Koppam battlefield after his victory. Rajendra then pressed on his army up to Kolapur, in modern Maharashtra, where he planted a pillar of victory and returned to Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

It is to be noted however the above version of the Koppam battle is found only in the Chola inscriptions. Chalukyan contemporary chroniclers are silent on this battle. A Chalukyan account of the battle is only found in a later inscription dated c. 1071, which mentions the death of Rajadhiraja.

Later Chola poetic works "Kalingathuparani" and "Vikramcholan Ula" make mention of this battle with understandable hyperbole.

Rajendra’s installed his son Rajamahendra heir apparent in 1059 C.E.

Further Chalukyan Battles

Chalukyas, anxious to wipe out the disgrace of Koppam, invaded the Chola country in great force c 1062 C.E. The armies met at the Muddakaru river (at the junction of the Tungabhadra and the Krishna river). The Chalukya commander Dandanayaka Valadeva was killed and the Cholas led by Rajamahendra resisted the invasion. Virarajendra Chola was also present in the battle fighting at the side of Rajamahendra.

The Western Chalukyan expedition to take Vengi was also thwarted by the Cholas at the same battlefield. Prince Rajamahendra must have died during this time in battle as we hear no more of him. Rajendra Chola II then made his younger brother Virarajendra Chola heir apparent.

Death and succession

The last year of Rajendra Chola II’s reign is 1063 C.E. By then Rajamahendra was dead and Virarajendra Chola ascended the throne.


* Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). "The CōĻas", University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
* Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). "A History of South India", OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
* South Indian Inscriptions - http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/

++ http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/south_indian_inscriptions/volume_3/no_29_manimangalam.html

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