Top 10 Interesting Facts About King Rajendra Cholan I (1014 CE – 1044 CE)

The Chola dynasty was a glorious era in the history of ancient India, marked by exceptional rulers, cultural opulence, and majestic architecture. King Rajendra Cholan I, a remarkable figure in this dynasty, left an indelible mark on history. Rajendra Cholan I, who was born in 1014 CE, emerged as one of the most successful and dynamic leaders of the Chola dynasty.

Under the rule of King Rajendra Cholan I, the Chola dynasty experienced a period of great prosperity, marked by an unprecedented expansion of the empire to its maximum extent. He led victorious military campaigns, conquered new territories, constructed splendid temples, and fostered trade and commerce. King Rajendra Cholan I was not just a formidable force in South India, but he also extended his conquests to foreign lands, including Southeast Asia.

While his remarkable military prowess and political astuteness are well-known, there are several lesser-known facts about this great king that contribute to his mystique and legacy. In this article, Top 10s Only will delve into the Top 10 Intriguing Facts About King Rajendra Cholan I, illuminating his life, accomplishments, and impact on history. King Rajendra Cholan I was undoubtedly a towering figure of his time, and his legacy continues to inspire awe and wonder.

List Of The Top 10 Interesting Facts About King Rajendra Cholan I (1014 CE – 1044 CE)

Top 10 Greatest Chola Kings of Ancient India - Rajendra Cholan I
Rajendra Cholan I

Titles Of King Rajendra Cholan I

King Rajendra Cholan I, who was one of the most successful rulers of the Chola dynasty, accumulated various titles throughout his reign. He was awarded the traditional title of Parakesari and inherited the title of Mummudi Cholan from his father, the former ruler of the Cholas, Rajakesari Rajaraja Cholan l. He earned several other titles, including Gangaikonda Cholan, Mudigonda Cholan, Kadaram Kondan, and Irattapadikonda Cholan, based on his various conquests. The title of Chalukya-Chudamani, which translates to “Crest Jewel of the Chalukyas,” was also adopted by King Rajendra Cholan I.

Early Life Of King Rajendra Cholan I

Rajendra Cholan I was born in 971 CE, and he had a remarkable family background. His father was the illustrious Chola King Rajaraja Cholan I, while his mother was Queen Vanavan Mahadevi. According to historical records, Rajendra Cholan I had a younger brother named Araiyan Rajarajan, who is widely believed to have played a significant role as a commanding general in the Chola army. He also had three sisters, Mathevadigal, Rajarajan Kundhavi Alvar, and Arulmozhi Chandramalli (Gangamadevi). However, what makes Rajendra Cholan I’s family history even more intriguing is the fact that his aunt, Rajaraja Cholan’s sister Princess Kundavai Pirattiyar, played a significant role in shaping his future. She had acted as a mentor to her brother, King Rajaraja Cholan I, and she is believed to have continued to exert her influence during the reign of her nephew, Rajendra Cholan I.

Overall, these interesting details about Rajendra Cholan I’s family background and the role of his aunt add to the fascinating history of the Chola dynasty.

Predecessor Of King Rajendra Cholan I

King Raja Raja Cholan was a remarkable leader who set the stage for his son’s successful reign as the King of the Chola Empire. His legacy resonates even today, with his magnificent achievements still visible across South India. Raja Raja Cholan’s contributions to the Chola Empire were many – under his rule, the empire expanded to include Sri Lanka, and he oversaw the construction of the magnificent Brihadeeswarar Temple, an architectural masterpiece that stands proud even today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But Raja Raja Cholan’s greatness goes beyond his military conquests and architectural achievements. He was a visionary administrator who transformed the Chola kingdom into a well-managed empire with a cohesive administrative structure that was ahead of its time. His dedication to his people and his vision for the empire laid the foundation for the golden age of the Chola dynasty, making him one of the most significant figures in South Indian history.

Successor Of King Rajendra Cholan I

With the passing of the great Chola Emperor, Rajendra Cholan I, the responsibility of leading the Chola Empire fell upon the capable shoulders of Rajadhiraja Cholan I. Having been groomed for the role from a young age, as co-regent during his father’s reign, he was well-prepared to take on the mantle of leadership. With his coronation, the Chola Empire appeared poised to continue its legacy of remarkable achievements under the leadership of this esteemed king. Tragically, his reign was cut short when he was struck by archers during the infamous Battle of Koppam, making him the first Chola emperor to fall on the battlefield. His untimely death was a great loss to the Chola Empire, and he was remembered with the epithet “Yaanai mel thunjiya thevar,” which means “the monarch who passed away while seated on an elephant.” Despite his short reign, Rajadhiraja Cholan I’s contributions to the advancement of the Chola Empire will always be remembered and cherished.

Highlights Of The Reign Of King Rajendra Cholan I

Kingdom Administration 

Rajendra Cholan I’s reign was truly a golden age for the Chola Empire, marked by great unparalleled prosperity and power. Having served as a co-regent before ascending the throne, he was well-versed in governance and led the Cholas to remarkable achievements. During his early years as emperor, Rajendra Cholan I received vital support from his aunt Kundavai and her husband, Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan, a prominent Chola army commander. Their support played a crucial role in his success. 

Rajendra Cholan I is still considered the most powerful monarch of the Chola Dynasty, thanks to his impressive administrative skills, which matched his military and naval command. He was a wise and able ruler who introduced an innovative water management system that began at the village level and improved conditions throughout the kingdom, thereby demonstrating his concern for the welfare of his subjects.

Trade And Commerce

Under the reign of Rajendra Cholan, the Chola Empire experienced remarkable economic growth, with trade reaching unprecedented levels. His vision and determination played a key role in fostering this prosperity, allowing the Cholas to engage in lucrative spice trade with traders from far-flung regions like North Africa, Arabia, and Anatolia.

In addition to these flourishing trade partnerships, Rajendra Cholan also established crucial commercial ties with China, resulting in the incorporation of Chinese vessels into the Chola military. This strategic move not only bolstered their naval power but also opened up new avenues for commerce and trade, further strengthening the Chola Empire’s economic standing. Rajendra Cholan’s strategic leadership in trade and commerce played a significant role in the remarkable success of his reign, solidifying his legacy as one of the most successful Chola Emperors.

Significant Cultural Accomplishments Of Rajendra Cholan I

One of the most interesting top 10 facts about Parakesari Rajendra Cholan I is his remarkable contribution to the cultural legacy of the Chola Empire. Rajendra Cholan I was not only a military genius but also a patron of the arts and architecture. 


Rajendra Cholan I’s military prowess was celebrated by the creation of a new capital city, Gangaikondacholapuram. This city served as the capital of the Chola Empire for a remarkable 250 years. Rajendra Cholan I commissioned the construction of an impressive multi-storey royal palace in Gangaikondacholapuram. Additionally, the Thiruvalangadu plates credit Rajendra Cholan I with the creation of the Cholaganga Tank, which was built to commemorate his victory over the Pala Dynasty. This tank was a symbol of the emperor’s triumph and an enduring testament to his legacy. 


Rajendra Cholan I, following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, was an exemplary builder and renovator of temples. His most notable accomplishment was the construction of the impressive Gangaikonda Choleeswarar Temple, which was similar to the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, in the newly created city of Gangaikondacholapuram. Rajendra Cholan I also expanded the Koneswaram Temple and the Pathirakali Amman Temple in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. 

King Rajendra Cholan’s Battles And Conquests – Indian Subcontinent

King Rajendra Cholan I, who ruled the Chola dynasty from 1012 CE to 1044 CE, was known for his military conquests and battles that expanded the Chola Empire in the Indian subcontinent. His battles were fought in various regions and against different kingdoms, and each victory brought him closer to his ultimate goal of establishing a pan-Indian empire.

Battle Of Maski

One of King Rajendra Cholan’s earliest conquests was the Battle of Maski, where he defeated the leader of the Western Chalukya dynasty, King Jayasimha II. He subsequently established his son-in-law Rajaraja Narendra (who was also his younger sister Rajarajan Kundhavi Alvar’s son), as the new ruler of the Vengi Dynasty.

Annexation Of Anuradhapura Kingdom

During the reign of King Rajendra Cholan I, the capture of Sri Lanka’s Anuradhapura Kingdom was a significant event. Mahinda V, the ousted king of the Sinhalese, was captured and imprisoned for 12 years until his death. Numerous failed revolts and uprisings were instigated by his son, Prince Kassapa. However, these uprisings were eventually crushed, with Kassapa’s death in 1040 CE solidifying the Chola Empire’s control over Sri Lanka.

Gangaikonda Cholan: King Rajendra Cholan’s Victorious North Indian Expedition

King Rajendra Cholan’s military campaigns expanded beyond the southern part of India, as he also commanded expeditions to North India. Through these conquests, he took control of extensive territories between the Kingdom of the Cholas in the south and the Ganga River in the north. This encompassed territories in Bengal, Kalinga, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand. His victories earned him the title of “Gangaikonda Cholan,” or “The Chola who conquered the River Ganga.” The Chandra Dynasty’s Buddhist Kingdom suffered significant damage at the hands of Rajendra Cholan’s army. His army also defeated several kings and kingdoms, including the Pala and Kamboja-Pala Kingdoms.

These battles and conquests left a lasting impact on Indian history.

King Rajendra Cholan’s Battles And Conquests – Southeast Asia

Having achieved great success in his military campaigns in the Indian Subcontinent, King Rajendra Cholan I was inspired to venture beyond and explore new, far-off territories. This marked the beginning of one of the most captivating eras in Chola history, as Rajendra Cholan embarked on a maritime campaign to Southeast Asia.

Fall Of The Kingdom Of Srivijaya

In 1025 CE, the Chola dynasty attacked the ports of Srivijaya, a Sailendra dynasty-ruled maritime empire on Sumatra, potentially prompted by their relationship with Cambodia’s predominantly Hindu Khmer Empire. Srivijaya allied with Tambralinga, leading to Rajendra Cholan I’s attack on them, resulting in their quick defeat and the capture of King Sangrama Vijayottunggavarman. According to the royal inscription at Thanjavur, the Vidhyadara Torana, the legendary “bejeweled gate” of Srivijaya, was among the treasures discovered by the Chola forces.

As a consequence of the decline of the Srivijaya Kingdom, the Cholas took control of the Strait of Malacca, which resulted in the improvement of commercial ties with several powerful kingdoms, such as the Song Dynasty of Imperial China.

Fall Of Kadaram

Rajendra Cholan I conquered the Bujang Valley, believed to be present-day Malaysia’s Kedah province. This place was known as Kadaram in ancient times, and it was protected by the Srivijaya Kingdom. The downfall of Srivijaya allowed Cholan’s forces to easily capture Kadaram, earning him the title of ‘Kadaram Kondan’ (Conqueror of Kadaram).

Other Conquests 

Rajendra Cholan’s military campaigns also conquered other territories in Southeast Asia, including Malaiyur, Pannai (Sumatra), Talaittakkolam (Thailand), Langkasuka or Ilangasoka (Malay Peninsula), Mayirudingam (central Malay Peninsula), Nakkavaram (Nicobar Islands), and Mapappalam (Lower Burma).

Lasting Legacy Of The Southeast Asian Conquests Of King Rajendra Cholan

The Cholas’ achievements are detailed in the historically relevant Malay literary work called Sejarah Melayu, which mistakenly names Rajendra Cholan as Raja Chulan. Today, some Malaysian princes carry names like Chola, Cholan, or Chulan, including the deceased Raja Chulan, who hails from the Royal Family of Perak.

Personal Life Of King Rajendra Cholan I

Rajendra Cholan I was a great king with a fascinating personal life. He had multiple consorts, including Tribhuvana (Vanavan Mahadevi), Viramahadevi, Panchavan Mahadevi, and Mukkokilan Adigal. Puteri Onangki (also called Onang Kiu), who was the daughter of King Sangrama Vijayottunggavarman, is believed to have also been a consort of King Rajendra Cholan I.

Rajendra Cholan I was blessed with seven sons, although some sadly passed away young or lost their lives in battles against the enemies of the Chola Empire. His sons were Rajarajan Cholan, Rajadhiraja Cholan, Rajendra Cholan II, Rajamahendran Cholan, Manukula Kesari Cholan, Virarajendra Cholan, and Sanga Varman Cholan. As per historical records, Sanga Varman Cholan adopted the title ‘Sangavarman Lankeshwaran’ after being appointed as Sri Lanka’s governor.

In addition to his sons, Rajendra Cholan I also had two illustrious daughters. They were Princess Arulmoli Nangaiyar Piranar and Princess Ammangadevi. Princess Ammangadevi eventually became the queen consort of King Rajaraja Narendra. Their son, Kulottunga l, would eventually become another significant Chola Emperor.

After an illustrious reign, Rajendra Cholan I passed away in Brahmadesam in 1044 AD, leaving behind a dynasty that would continue to shape South Indian history for centuries to come.

King Rajendra Cholan’s Depiction In Popular Culture

Rajendra Cholan I’s legacy has stood the test of time, leaving an indelible mark not only in history but also in popular culture. It is remarkable to know that one of the most interesting top 10 facts about Parakesari Rajendra Cholan I is that the king’s naval exploits inspired the naming of India’s newest merchant navy training ship, the TS Rajendra, in 1972.

Rajendra Cholan I’s life and accomplishments have been a source of inspiration for literary works as well. His character is featured in Vembu Vikiraman’s Gangapuri Kavalan. His life is also depicted in Akilan’s book Vengayin Maindhan. These works have helped bring the Chola Empire and its greatest ruler to life, ensuring that their legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of people for generations to come. Rajendra Cholan I’s contributions to history and culture continue to be celebrated and appreciated to this day.

In conclusion, King Rajendra Cholan I was an exceptional ruler whose legacy continues to inspire and fascinate historians and scholars today. Through his military conquests and patronage of the arts and literature, he left a profound impact on South India and beyond. His reign marked the pinnacle of the Chola Empire’s expansion and established him as a formidable military leader and cultural patron. The fascinating facts we have explored only hint at the depth of his accomplishments. The more we learn about his reign, the more we can appreciate the significant impact he had on his time and his enduring influence on history. In short, King Rajendra Cholan I was a true force to be reckoned with, and his legacy is one that will endure for centuries to come.

If you’ve enjoyed learning about the remarkable accomplishments of King Rajendra Cholan I, be sure to check out our article on the Top 10 Greatest Chola Kings of Ancient India to explore even more fascinating tales of these legendary rulers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Parakesari Rajendra Cholan I

1. What is Rajendra Chola famous for?

Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of the famous Chola king Rajaraja Cholan I, is famous for his military conquests and naval expeditions to Southeast Asia. The Chola architecture reached its peak during his reign. Rajendra Chola I is considered one of the most successful and influential rulers of the Chola Dynasty and is widely admired for his achievements in both military and cultural spheres.

2. Why was Rajendra Cholan I also called Gangaikonda Cholan?

Rajendra Cholan I earned the title of Gangaikonda Cholan because of his successful military campaigns between 1019 to 1024. He led the Chola army in conquering various kingdoms between the Chola Kingdom and the River Ganga, including Kalinga and Bengal. Rajendra’s northern expedition culminated on the banks of the River Ganga, and to honor his victory, he adopted the name Gangaikonda Cholan, meaning “The Cholan who conquered the River Ganga.”

3. Which city is built by Rajendra Cholan I?

Rajendra Cholan I established Gangaikondacholapuram as a new capital city to celebrate his victorious campaigns in the north. For approximately 250 years, it remained the capital of the Chola Empire

4. Which Chola king conquered Bengal?

Rajendra Cholan was the Chola king who conquered Bengal. He led the Chola army in a successful campaign against the Pala Dynasty and their king, Mahipala, and expanded the Chola Empire to the north.

5. Which Chola king sent the first emissary to China?

The Chola king who sent the first emissary to China was Rajendra Chola I. He recognized the potential benefits of improved relations with China and therefore sent several diplomatic delegations to the Song Dynasty of Imperial China to establish stronger diplomatic and commercial ties.

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