Chola Empire (from the 9th century AD to the 12th century AD): Later Cholas

Later Cholas were assigned the period from 1070 AD to 1279 AD. At this time, the Chola Empire achieved its pinnacle & became the “Most Powerful Country” of the world. Cholas occupied South East Asian Countries and had the most powerful army and navy of the world at that time.

Decline of Chola Kingdom

The demise of Virarajendra Chola in 1070 AD was followed by predicaments in Chola Kingdom. Further, Vikramaditya VI, his son – in – law accomplished noteworthy position & soon started taking the Chola association as a responsibility. When Virarajendra passed away, there was a rebellion (probably religious) in Chola Empire. After hearing this, Vikramaditya VI went to Chola Capital & smashed the rebellion.  Vikramaditya VI stayed at Gangaikonda Cholapuram for a month and thereafter revisited his capital. At Gangaikonda Cholapuram, he mounted Athirajendra as new King. On the other hand, within few months, Athirajendra was assassinated in a fresh spate of rebellion. When Athirajendra died, Rajendra Chola, captured Chola throne. This was the commencement of a new line of Chola Kings, known as Later Cholas.

Kulotthunga Chola – I (1070 – 1120 AD)

The daughter of Rajendra Chola I, Ammanaga Devi was married to the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi king Rajaraja Narendra. The progeny of this unification was Rajendra Chola who later became Kulotthunga – I. Kulotthunga Chola I led 2 military campaigns in Kalinga. Under Kulotthunga, the empire remained integral excluding Sri Lanka. Still the periphery between the Western Chalukya & Chola was Tungabhadra River. He was succeeded by Vikrama Chola in 1120 AD.

Vikrama Chola 1120-1135 AD

Kulotthunga Chola – I appointed Vikrama Chola as a Viceroy of Vengi. He was evoked in 1118 AD & was declared as Co – regent. He ruled with his father, Kulotthunga till his father died in 1122 AD. Western Chalukyas had become high-flying and they captured Vengi by attacking the Eastern Chalukyas. He was succeeded by Kulotthunga Chola II in 1133 AD.

Kulotthunga Chola II 1133 AD – 1150 AD

Kulotthunga Chola II was the son & successor of Vikrama Chola. There is no historic conflict in his account. He was a benefactor of Chidambaram temples. In 1150 AD, he was succeeded by Rajaraja Chola II.

Rajaraja Chola II 1150 – 1173 AD

Kulotthunga Chola III made Rajaraja Chola II his heir in 1146 AD. He had full control over the Kalinga, Vengi, Chera, Pandya, etc. territories & also assaulted Sri Lanka, but the closing years of his supremacy saw a civil Unrest in the empire, in the former Pandya Territories. Before he passed away, he made Rajadhiraja Chola II as his heir apparent in 1163 AD. He was succeeded by Rajadhiraja Chola II.

Rajadhiraja Chola II 1166 AD -1178 AD

Rajaraja Chola II was succeeded by Rajadhiraja Chola II. His reign is known for further flaw in the Chola Kingdom, followed by sovereignty of local feudatories mainly among the Pandyas. There was a civil war among Pandyas, which required Chola’s intervention and attention. But, Pandyas started gaining fame and the central Chola Kingdom got weakened gradually. In 1178 AD, Rajaraja Chola II was succeeded by Kulothunga Chola II.

Kulothunga Chola III 1178- 1218 AD

Kulothunga Chola III was able to pound the Cheras of Venad, Pandyas in Madurai, Sinhala Kings of Sri Lanka and Hoysalas of Mysore. The century took a twist and Pandya vassal of Chola Empire named Jatavarman Kulasekaran I soared to Madura Throne in the year 1290, turned rebel to Cholas. The Cholas invaded him & sacked Madurai. Jatavarman Kulasekaran I capitulated to the Chola king Kulothunga III with wife & son and recognized his surrender, he was revisited his capital. But during this, the earliest coronation hall of Pandyas in Madurai was destroyed and it also destroyed the records if any of the previous Pandyas. To take revenge of this assault, younger brother of Kulasekaran, named Maravarman Sundara Pandyan, who came into power in 1216 AD, invaded the Chola Kingdom. The armies of Sundara Pandyan sacked the cities of Thanjaur and Uraiyur of Chola Kings and drove the Chola kings out in exile. His armies marched up to Chidambaram and in memory of this victory, Sundar Pandyan conducted a Thulabaram at the Chidambaram temple and donated wealth equal to his weight. But, victory of Sundar Pandyan over Cholas was followed by a march of the Hoyasala army towards Sri Rangapattam. Kingdom of the Cholas was returned after interference of Hoyasala king Veera Ballala III, but now Cholas accepted suzerainty of the Sundar Pandyan. This was the revival of second Pandyan Empire and decline of the mighty Chola Power.

Rajaraja Chola III 1216-1256 AD

When Rajaraja Chola III came into power in July 1216, the Chola Kingdom had abridged a very small province compared to the earlier Cholas. The Pandyas had become the significant control in South & Vengi and other areas were now under Hoysalas. Pandyan army entered Chola Capital & Rajaraja III fled. He was incarcerated at Sendamangalam. Hoyasala King Narsimha obstructed & then only the Chola King was released. Rajaraja Chola III documented his son Rajendra Chola III as heir apparent in 1246 AD.

Rajendra Chola III 1246 – 1280 AD

Rajendra Chola III came to supremacy in 1246 AD. He tried to stop the swift decline of Chola Kingdom, but at this time, Hoysalas turned antagonistic & Pandyas became influential. The Chola Kingdom ended with Rajendra Chola III.

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