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Rajaraja III

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Rajaraja Chola III
மூன்றாம் இராஜராஜ சோழன்
Rajaraja3 territories.png
Chola territories c. 1246 CE
Reign1216–1246 CE[1]
PredecessorKulothunga Chola III
SuccessorRajendra Chola III
Died1260 CE
QueenKoothadum Naachiyaar
FatherKulothunga Chola III

Rajaraja Chola III succeeded Kulothunga Chola III on the Chola throne in July 1216 CE. Rajaraja came to the throne of a kingdom much reduced in size as well as influence. With the rise of the Pandya power in the south, the Cholas had lost most of their control of the territories south of the river Kaveri and their hold on the Vengi territories in the north was slipping with the emergence of the Hoysala power.

Period of political changes

The reign of Rajaraja III was a period of continuous trouble. It coincided with a period of great political changes in South India. Rajaraja was neither a great warrior nor a statesman to deal with the prevailing situation. The Pandyas in the south and the Hoysalas in the west had by now risen to the ranks of great powers led by rulers of exceptional merit. The only chance of survival for the Cholas was the rivalry between these new powers, neither of whom wanted the Cholas to come under the other's influence. The Chalukyas of Kalyani had given way for the rising power of the Seunas and the Andhra country around the Vengi territories were controlled by the Telugu Cholas.

Internal revolts

This was the signal the Chola feudatories and the overgrown vassals were waiting for in order to declare their independence. At the earliest opportunity that arose, they transferred their allegiance to either of the growing powers. Rajaraja Chola III came to power at this stage and he was the most incompetent king. His reign was characterised by growing revolt and conflicts even in nominally Chola territories. The Kadava chieftains of Kudalur were quick to take advantage of the growing weakness of their suzerain.

Discover more about Period of political changes related topics

South India

South India

South India, also known as Peninsular India, consists of the peninsular southern part of India. It encompasses the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry, comprising 19.31% of India's area and 20% of India's population. Covering the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, South India is bounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south. The geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges – the Western and Eastern Ghats – bordering the plateau heartland. The Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Tungabhadra, Periyar, Bharathappuzha, Pamba, Thamirabarani, Palar, and Vaigai rivers are important perennial rivers.

Andhra in Indian epic literature

Andhra in Indian epic literature

Andhra was a kingdom mentioned in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It was a southern kingdom, currently identified as Indian state of Andhra Pradesh which got its name from.



Vengi is a delta region spread over the Krishna and Godavari River,, the region is also known as Godavari Delta, that used to house world famous diamond mines in the Medieval period. The capital city of Vengi is located at Pedavegi near Eluru. Vengi was the most prominent city in Ancient Andhra for nearly seven centuries. Vengi served as the capital for many Andhra dynasties like Salankayanas, Vishnukundinas, and Eastern Chalukyas. This region was part of Ashoka's Mauryan Empire in the mid-3rd century BCE. After the Mauryan Empire collapsed in 185 BC, the region was dominated by the Satavahanas, who were succeeded in Vengi by the Andhra Ikshvakus. Around 300 CE, the Andhra Ikshvakus were replaced by the Salankayanas. In the late 5th century, the Salankayanas were annexed by the Vishnukundinas.

Pandya invasion

Rajaraja was evidently not only weak, but incompetent. Pandyan inscriptions of the period state that he deliberately broke the terms of the treaty with his Pandyan overlord and refused to pay his tribute. This led to a punitive invasion by the Pandya forces. The Pandya army entered the Chola capital and Rajaraja took flight.

The Kadava Kopperunchinga I who had once been a Chola feudatory had begun to exercise their independence. Kopperunchinga wanted to gain some ground in the confused state of affairs. Muttiyampakkam is to be identified with the present village of Muttumbaka of the Gudur taluk ofNellore district, as has ... the Kadava chieftain Kopperunjinga who had imprisoned the Chola emperor Raja Raja-Ill (1216-1257 A. D.). He caught and imprisoned the fleeing Chola king at Sendamangalam.

Hoysala aid

The Cholas made alliances with the Hoysalas from the time of Kulothunga Chola III.[2] Rajaraja III married a sister or a daughter of Vira Narasimha II.[3] So when the Hoysala king Narasimha heard of the abduction of Rajaraja, and the subsequent devastation of the Chola country by Kopperunchinga's men, he immediately sent his army into the Chola country. The Hoysala army engaged Kopperunchinga's troops and sacked two of his towns. When the Hoysala army was preparing to lay siege to the Kadava capital of Sendamangalam, Kopperunchinga sued for peace and released the Chola king.

While his generals were attacking the Kadava chieftain Kopperunchinga, the Hoysala king Narasimha himself led his troops against the Pandya. A decisive battle took place between the Pandya and the Hoysala troops near Mahendramangalam on the banks of the river Kaveri and the Pandya army was defeated.

State of the Chola kingdom

For the rest of his reign Rajaraja had to depend heavily on Hoysala help. There was a continuous decrease in order within the kingdom and the disregard for the central control on the part of the feudatories increased. The extent of the kingdom over which Rajaraja had nominal control remained as during the times of Kulothunga III.

Civil War and Succession

Rajendra Chola III who succeeded Rajaraja Chola III to the Chola throne in 1246 CE was his brother and subsequent rival. Although Rajaraja III was still alive, Rajendra began to take effective control over the administration. The epigraphs of Rajendra Chola III indicate a civil war between Rajaraja III and himself which came to end with the former killing the latter and ascending the throne.[4] Rajendra's inscriptions laud him as the "cunning hero, who killed Rajaraja after making him wear the double crown for three years".[5]


Mallan Sivan alias Brahmadaraya muttaraiyan, referred to as pillai (son) was one of the officials of Rajaraja III. He was the holder of the royal fief (arasukuru) and the governor of Urattur-nadu.[6]

Source: "Rajaraja III", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 11th),

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See also
Preceded by Chola
1216–1256 CE
Succeeded by
  1. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  2. ^ Kadati Reddera Basavaraja. History and Culture of Karnataka Early Times to Unification. Chalukya Publications. p. 131.
  3. ^ Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders. Asian Educational Services. p. 46.
  4. ^ Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders. Asian Educational Services, 1991. p. 38.
  5. ^ Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders. Asian Educational Services, 1991. p. 37.
  6. ^ S. Sankaranarayanan, S. S. Ramachandra Murthy, B. Rajendra Prasad, D. Kiran Kranth Choudary. Śāṅkaram: recent researches on Indian culture : Professor Srinivasa Sankaranarayanan festchrift. Harman Pub. House, 2000. p. 119.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • 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).

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