Top 10 Interesting Facts About King Uttama Cholan (980 CE – 985 CE)

Uttama Cholan’s journey to the Chola throne was a tortuous road towards his ultimate destiny that tested his unwavering determination. However, Uttama Cholan’s unrelenting perseverance and persistence ultimately allowed him to claim his rightful place as a notable ruler from 980 CE to 985 CE in the region that is now known as Tamil Nadu, India. At Top 10s only, we will explore the Top 10 Interesting Facts about King Uttama Cholan, revealing insights into his life and achievements.

List of Top 10 Interesting Facts About Parakesari Uttama Cholan

Uttama Cholan, the son of King Gandaraditya Cholan and Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi, succeeded his cousin Parantaka Cholan II as the king of the Chola Empire, as Parantaka Cholan’s younger son Arulmozhivarman had chosen to circumvent even though the people wanted him as their king. However, since Arulmozhivarman supported Uttama Cholan’s ascension to the throne, the transition of power was smooth and uncontested, preserving unity within the royal family. From being denied the throne twice to becoming a revered ruler of the Chola dynasty, Uttama Cholan’s achievements and accomplishments are a testament to his unwavering spirit and remarkable leadership abilities. Now let’s delve deeper into the captivating history of Parakesari Uttama Cholan, the famous ruler of the Chola dynasty. 

Titles of King Uttama Cholan

Uttama Cholan, also known by the names Gandan Madhurantakan and Maduranthaka, was bestowed with the prestigious title of ‘Parakesari’. Other English spellings used for Uttama Cholan are Uttama Chozhan, Uthama Cholan and Uthamacholan.

Predecessor of King Uttama Cholan

The predecessor of Uttama Cholan was Parantaka Cholan II, who was his cousin. Between 958 CE – 973, Parantaka Cholan ruled the Chola empire. Regarded by many as one of the most exceptional Chola kings, if not the greatest, he gained fame for his military victories, administrative changes, and support for literature and the arts. He is the father of Kundavai Pirattiyar, Aditha Karikalan, and Rajaraja Cholan I.

Successor of King Uttama Cholan

The successor of King Uttama Cholan was Rajaraja Cholan I. He was one of the most prominent Chola Empire rulers, and he led the empire to its zenith during his reign. Rajaraja Cholan I’s legacy extends beyond his military prowess, as he was also an adept administrator. He spearheaded the transformation of the entire Chola kingdom into manageable administrative units, known as valanadus, through an extensive land survey and assessment initiative undertaken in 1000 CE.

predecessor and successor of uttama cholan
Predecessor and Successor of Uttama Cholan

Interesting Fact About King Uttama Cholan

As mentioned earlier, King Gandaraditya Cholan’s heir Maduranthaka’s journey to the Chola throne was a challenging and winding road, leading him to fulfil his ultimate destiny. Despite being the rightful heir of King Gandaraditya Cholan, he was overlooked in favour of his uncle Arinjaya Cholan. His hopes to succeed his uncle were further shattered when his cousin, Parantaka Cholan II, was crowned king instead of him. Uttama Cholan was a young child when his father passed away, making it necessary to find a more capable leader to govern the mighty Chola Empire. The perplexing murder of Aditha Karikalan Cholan created an opportunity for Uttama Cholan to seize the throne. Following the passing of his cousin Parantaka Cholan II, instead of Parantaka’s younger son Arulmozhivarman, who was also known as Rajaraja Cholan, Uttama Cholan was crowned as the new ruler of the Chola Empire. It is believed that this decision was a strategic move by Arulmozhivarman to prevent the outbreak of a civil war. 

Highlights of The Reign Of King Uttama Cholan

Madurantakam Lake’s history dates back to the time of Uttama Cholan, who is credited with its construction. This man-made lake is the second-largest in Tamil Nadu and stands as a testament to his engineering skills and vision. The lake provided irrigation for the agricultural lands surrounding it and played a significant role in the region’s economy. Uttama Cholan is also known for his efforts to improve the condition of his army, including providing armoured waistcoats to his troops. This initiative enhanced their effectiveness in battle and highlighted his commitment to their welfare. Uttama Cholan’s contributions to the region’s infrastructure and military were vital in establishing stability and progress in the region.

Battles by King Uttama Cholan

Uttama Cholan’s military campaigns, which included his continued war against the Pandya dynasty and their allies in Sri Lanka, are the most recognised aspect of his reign as a prominent king of the Chola dynasty in South India. Despite his aggressive approach towards his enemies, apart from these military expeditions, his rule is considered to have been relatively peaceful and uneventful. He was known for his fair and just rule within his kingdom, and his reign also saw the flourishing of art, literature, and architecture. Overall, Uttama Cholan’s reign was a period of stability and progress for the Chola dynasty, with his military campaigns being a notable aspect of his legacy.

Conquests by King Uttama Cholan

By the time of Uttama Chola’s reign, most of Thondaimandalam had been recovered from the Rashtrakutas, despite there being limited information available regarding his military conquests.

Administration of King Uttama Cholan

The religious and charitable contributions of Uttama Cholan and Sembiyan Mahadevi were of great Chola kingdom significance. They were both regarded as very religious people and were known for their fervent devotion. Like his mother, Uttama Cholan is renowned for his benevolent gifts to temples all over the Chola Empire, particularly those devoted to Lord Vishnu. He organised the creation and administration of temples as well as the production of art, sculptures, epigraphy, and records, all of which had a lasting influence on the Chola kingdom’s cultural and artistic legacy. Furthermore, Uttama Cholan contributed financially to his mother’s creative work, Kalpani, demonstrating his dedication to advancing learning and the arts within the Chola kingdom. 

The Govindaputhur Gangajatatheeswarar Temple (also known as the Ganga Jadadisvarar Temple) was constructed during the reign of Uttama Chola by his officer, Ambalavan Paluvur Nakkan, in 980 AD. The Hindu place of worship is situated in the village of Govindaputtur, Ariyalur District, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple’s deity was highly praised by Saint Appar and Sambandar, who lived during the Mahendravarma Pallava era, in their Devaram hymns.

family tree of uttama cholan
Family Tree of Uttama Cholan

Personal Life of King Uttama Cholan

According to historical accounts, Uttama Cholan is said to have had multiple queen consorts, including Sorabbaiyar Tribhuvana Mahadevi, Siddhavadavan Suttiyar, and Kaduvettigal Nandippottairaiyar. Although he reportedly had a son named Madurantaka Gandaraditya, it is believed that an agreement with Parantaka Cholan II prevented him from ascending the throne. Instead, the crown was passed on to Rajaraja Cholan I, securing Parantaka Cholan’s lineage as the inheritors of the empire. It is believed that Madurantaka Gandaraditya, Uttama Cholan’s son, held an official position in Rajaraja Cholan I’s court, while the passing of the crown to Rajaraja ensured the continuation of the Chola dynasty’s legacy under his reign.

Depiction of King Uttama Cholan In Popular Culture

The challenges and difficulties faced by the individuals belonging to the Chola Dynasty have served as a source of inspiration for numerous literary creations, among which Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan book series stands out prominently. Uttama Cholan, in Ponniyin Selvan’s books and movies, plays a significant role in this literary work as the plot revolves around his journey to eventually ascend to the throne as the ruler of the Chola Empire. The events in the storyline ultimately lead to his coronation as King of the Chola Empire, making him a pivotal character in the series.

The most recent worldwide smash hit movie, Ponniyin Selvan 1, from renowned director Mani Ratnam, brought the story of Uttama Chola to life on the big screen. Ponniyan Selvan’s Maduranthaka (actor Rahman)’s remarkable portrayal of Uttama Chola in Ponniyin Selvan was a standout performance in the movie. Additionally, the character of Uttama Chola’s mother, Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi, was skillfully portrayed by actress Jayachitra in the Ponniyin Selvan movie.

Uttama Cholan’s biography has captivated historians and enthusiasts for centuries due to his extraordinary achievements and reign as the King of the Chola dynasty. His story has been immortalised in various forms of art, including literature, theatre, and cinema. The most notable of these works is Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan book series, where Uttama Cholan is an essential character. The series chronicles his life from his childhood to his ascent to the throne as ruler of the Chola Empire. His legacy has continued to inspire storytellers, as evidenced by the recent blockbuster hit film Ponniyin Selvan, directed by Mani Ratnam, which brought Uttama Cholan’s biography to life on the big screen. The film’s critical and commercial success is a testament to the enduring popularity of Uttama Cholan’s biography, which continues to capture the imagination of audiences worldwide.

Interested in reading about the other Chola Kings of Ancient India? Read all about them in our Top 10 Greatest Chola Kings of Ancient Times.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Uttama Cholan

1. Who is Madurantaka Uttama Cholan?

Madurantaka Uttama Cholan was the son of Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi and King Gandaraditya Cholan. He was the cousin of Parantaka Cholan II aka Sundara Cholan and the uncle of Aditha Karikalan, Princess Kundavai Pirattiyar and Rajaraja Cholan.

2. Who is Madurantakam Uttama Cholan’s father?

King Gandaraditya Cholan was the father of Madurantakam Uttama Cholan.

3. Who played the role of Uttama Cholan in Manirathnam’s Ponniyin Selvan?

Rashin Rahman played the role of Uttama Cholan in Manrathnam’s Ponniyin Selvan – Part 1 and 2.

4. What is the real name of Uttama Cholan?

Uttama Cholan was commonly known as Gandan Madhurantakan or Maduranthaka. He was also given the ‘Parakesari’ title.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.