Parantaka Cholan II, also known as Rajakesari Sundara Cholan, was a powerful ruler of the Chola dynasty in South India who ascended to the throne in the 10th century CE. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the best, Chola kings, renowned for his military conquests, administrative reforms, and patronage of literature and the arts. In this article, the Top 10s Only team will delve into the Top 10 Interesting Facts About Parantaka Cholan II, shedding light on his life, accomplishments, and legacy.
List of Top 10 Interesting Facts About Rajakesari Sundara Cholan
Those who are familiar with Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan novels will surely recognise the importance of Sundara Cholan, who was the great King Parantaka II. Like his grandfather Parantaka Cholan I, he also faced issues with his ascension to the throne. Read more about Parantaka Cholan II and his life as he led one of India’s biggest empires into the next phase of their reign.
Titles Of King Parantaka Cholan II
After becoming the king, Parantaka Cholan II adopted the name Rajakesari and was also referred to as Sundara Cholan due to his striking appearance. Following his victory over Madurai, he was given the titles ‘Maduraikonda Rajakesari’ and ‘Madhurantaka’.
Predecessor Of King Parantaka Cholan II
The predecessor of Parantaka II was Arinjaya Cholan, who was his father. He was born as the third son of Parantaka I and was the younger sibling of Gandaraditya Chola, who he succeeded in around 956 CE.
Successor Of King Parantaka Cholan II
The successor of Parantaka Chilan II was Uttama Cholan, who was his cousin and the only son of Gandaraditha Cholan. Uttama ruled the Chola empire between 980 CE and 985 CE.
Story Of King Parantaka Cholan II
After the sudden death of his first uncle, Rajaditya Cholan, who was the heir apparent, the throne was taken over by Gandaraditha Cholan, his other uncle. Gandaraditha ruled for about 12 years until he passed away. While Uttama Cholan (his only son) was the rightful heir, he was not old enough to ascend the throne. So, it was Arinjaya Cholan, his younger brother, who was crowned the new king. Arinjaya’s reign was short-lived. Though Uttama had an equal or stronger claim to the throne, he was still not old enough to lead the empire. Hence, Parantaka Cholan II (Arinjaya’s son) was crowned the new king.
At the time of Parantaka II’s ascension, the Chola Kingdom had lost much of its fame due to the ineffective leadership of the previous two kings. The Pandyas regained control of Chola territories, and the Rashtrakutas began to expand over Tondaimandalam. The kingdom was facing numerous challenges. However, Sundara Cholan was able to take control and implement adequate measures to rebuild and stabilise the Chola Empire, ensuring a solid foundation for his descendants.
Aditha Karikalan: Co-regent Of The Chola Empire
During his reign, Parantaka Cholan II went through a rough patch with his health, and during this time, his eldest son Aditha Karikalan ruled the kingdom till his untimely death. Despite his brief reign of approximately five to six years, Aditha Karikalan’s military and administrative prowess proved him to be a worthy bearer of the crown of the Chola Empire. These qualities likely played a key role in his appointment as co-regent, even though his uncle Uttama Cholan had a stronger claim to the throne.
Personal Life Of King Parantaka Cholan II
Parantaka or Sundara Cholan’s mother’s name was Queen Kalyani, and father’s name was Arinjaya Cholan. His Queen consort was Vanavan Madevi, and they had two sons, Aditha Karikalan and Rajaraja Cholan and one daughter Kundavai Pirattiyar. The loss of his firstborn, Aditha Karikalan, was a significant tragedy that Parantaka Cholan II never fully recovered from. He passed away in Kanchipuram around 980 CE and was posthumously referred to as ‘the king who died in the golden palace’ – ‘Pon Maligai Thunjina Thevar’. His grandson, Rajendra Cholan, ruled the empire between 1014 CE and 1044 CE and was one of the most successful Chola Kings ever.
Highlights Of The Reign Of King Parantaka Cholan II
After taking over the mantle from his father, Parantaka Cholan II assessed his kingdom and was troubled by the powerful expansion of the Pandyas. The Pandyan King Veerapandiyan had already taken over several Chola territories, making their subjugation his top priority.
Administration Of King Parantaka Cholan II
The empire underwent a revival due to the administrative changes introduced by Parantaka II and his son, Aditha Karikalan. Various inscriptions provide detailed accounts of the changes made to the military, navy, education, as well as provincial administration. His reign also saw a flourishing of both Tamil literature and Sanskrit.
Parantaka II maintained friendly relations with Buddhists, as evidenced by references in the popular Buddhist book on Tamil Grammar, Virasoliyam.
Battles Waged By King Parantaka Cholan II
The Cholas launched an attack on the Pandya Kingdom after extensive planning. It was carried out under the leadership of Sundara Cholan and his firstborn, Aditha Karikalan, The two forces clashed at Chevur in a brutal battle that resulted in Veerapandiyan’s death. Despite this victory, Parantaka II carried out his campaign and captured more territories from the Pandyas. He also fulfilled his grandfather’s unrealized dream by defeating the Pandya kings.
Conquests By King Parantaka Cholan II
As King Mahinda IV of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was supporting the Pandyas. He had sent troops to assist them. Parantaka Cholan II took the decision to invade Sri Lanka after raging an attack on the Pandyas. Unfortunately, it was not a successful expedition.
Depiction Of King Parantaka Cholan II In Popular Culture
If you are interested in knowing more about the history of King Sundara Cholan or reading some books about him, he is a prominent character in Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan novels. Mani Ratnam’s movie Ponniyin Selvan is a visual treat to those who have read the book. The role of King Parantaka II, or Sundara Cholan, was played by actor Prakash Raj.
In conclusion, the reign of Rajakesari Sundara Cholan II was a significant period in the history of the Chola dynasty, and his contributions to the empire remain relevant to this day. His military conquests expanded the kingdom’s territory, while his administrative reforms and patronage of literature and the arts helped shape Tamil culture and society. Sundara Cholan II’s legacy as a just and powerful ruler continues to inspire awe and admiration, making him one of the most revered kings in South Indian history. Through this list of top 10 interesting facts about him, we hope to have provided a glimpse into the fascinating life and achievements of this remarkable king.
If you’re keen to learn more about the other kings from the same empire who made an impact, head to our Top 10 Greatest Chola Kings of Ancient India.
Frequently Asked Questions on King Parantaka Cholan II
1. Are Parantaka II and Sundara Cholan the same person?
Yes! Parantake II was nicknamed Sundara Cholan as he was the epitome of male beauty. In Tamil, ‘Sundara’ means ‘beautiful’.
2. What was King Sundara Cholan’s real name?
King Sundara Cholan’s real name was Parantaka II. He is also referred to as Sundara Chozhar or Chozhan.
3. Who played the role of Sundara Cholan in Manirathnam’s ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ movie?
Sundara Chola is a prominent character in Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan novels. In Mani Ratnam’s film Ponniyin Selvan: 1, actor Prakash Raj plays the role of Sundara Cholan.
4. Do Chola Kings live or exist even now?
The Chola rule lasted till 1215 CE and was later absorbed by the Pandyan empire. The last known proof of their existence was till 1279 CE.