Anuradhapura Chola - (1017 - 1070)

The period of Chola rule in the island of Sri Lanka began in 993 when Raja Raja Chola sent a large Chola army which conquered the Anuradhapura Kingdom, in the north, and added it to the sovereignty of the Chola Empire.[4] The whole or most of the island was subsequently conquered and incorporated as a province of the vast Chola empire during the reign of his son Rajendra Chola. 
Raja Raja Chola I
The tirumagal inscription of Raja Raja Chola dated to 993 AD first mentions Anuradhapura among the king's conquests. Taking advantage of a civil war which had caused the Sinhalese monarch Mahinda V to flee to the south-east province of Anuradhapura known as Ruhuna, Raja Raja Chola invaded Anuradhapura sometime between 991 and 993 AD and conquered the northern part of the country and incorporated it into his kingdom as a province named "Mummudi-sola-mandalam" after himself. The capital was at Polonnaruwa which was renamed "Jananathamangalam".
Rajendra Chola I
In the year A.D.1014 Rajaraja Chola died after twenty nine years of rule, and was succeeded by his son the Rajendra Chola I on the throne of the Chola Empire. As per the Sinhalese Buddhist chronicle Mahavamsa, the conquest of Anuradhapura was completed by his son Rajendra Chola I in the 36th year of the reign of the Sinhalese monarch Mahinda V, i.e. about 1017–18.[9] According to the Karandai plates, Rajendra Chola led a large army into Anuradhapura and captured Mahinda's crown, queen, daughter, vast amount of wealth and the king himself whom he took as a prisoner to India. The whole of Anuradhapura including the south-eastern province of Ruhuna were incorporated into the Chola Empire.
The Chola rule which lasted for eight decades in the island, would be overthrown in 1077 through a rebellion led by Vijayabahu I one of the dispossessed Sinhalese monarchs. The Cholas fought many subsequent wars and attempted to reconquer Anuradhapura as the Sinhalese monarchs were allies of their arch-enemies, the Pandyas.
Eleven years after the Chola conquest of Ruhuna, Mahinda V's son Vikramabahu I rose in rebellion. Taking advantage of uprisings in the Pandya kingdom and Kerala, Vikramabahu I massacred the Chola garrisons in Ruhuna and drove the 95,000-strong Chola army to Pulatthinagara. Soon afterwards, Vikramabahu crowned himself king of Ruhuna. Vikramabahu's mysterious death in 1041, however, brought an end to the war. His successor Mahalanakitti tried to drive the Cholas out of Anuradhapura but failed and hence, took his own life in disgrace. His successor Vijayabahu who ascended the throne in 1058 supported rebellions in the Chola province or Rajarattha in Northern Anuradhapura. The then Chola monarch Virarajendra responded by sending a large Chola army into Ruhuna and forcing it into subjugation. The Chola army plundered the capital Kajaragama and drove the king into flight. Vijayabahu, however, renewed his attacks on Chola garrisons after an interval of three years.
In 1070, during the reign of Kulothunga I, Vijayabahu attacked and captured Pulatthinagara and drove Cholas out of the city. Kulottunga sent a large army which engaged Vijayabahu in a pitched battle near Anuradhapura. The Cholas, initially succeeded in driving Vijayabahu to seek refuge in Vatagiri but Vijayabahu took Mahanagakula on the Walaweganga and conducted his resistance from there. Pulatthinagara and Anuradhapura fell to Vijayabahu and Mahatittha was soon occupied. Having liberated the whole of the island of Anuradhapura from Chola rule, Vijayabahu crowned himself king of Polonnaruwa in 1076-77.
Raja Raja Chola (arul mozhi varman) commemorated his conquest of northern Anuradhapura by constructing a Shiva temple at Polonnaruwa. The Siva temple of Polonnaruwa which has survived to the present day is contemporaneous with the Brihadesswarar Temple at Thanjavur. One of his army officers Tali Kumaran constructed a Rajarajeswara Temple at Mantota. Raja Raja Chola's son and successor Rajendra I has left some inscriptions of his at the Shiva temple at Polonnaruwa. All Shiva and Vishnu temple remains found at Polonnaruwa also date from this time.
1 Rajendra Chola I1018 - 1044
2 Rajadhiraja Chola1018 - 1054
3 Rajendra Chola II1051 - 1063
4 Virarajendra Chola1063 - 1070
5 Athirajendra Chola1067 - 1070
  • Chola Dynasty
  • 1017 - 1070
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