Rajaraja Chola, King of Kings, Incomparable Chola, Great Saviour, Jewel of the Solar Dynasty, Lion Among Kings, was one of the greatest rulers of medieval India. During his reign, the Chola empire expanded through virtually all of the southern reaches of the peninsula and beyond, from the Krishna-Godavari delta in northern Andhra Pradesh to large parts of northern Sri Lanka. Born Arulmozhi Varman in 947 ce, he trained under his father and uncle for over a quarter of a century and then ruled for twenty-nine years. King of Kings is a fitting title for this multifaceted man who was brilliant, ambitious, ruthless, and a visionary. He fortified the foundations of what was till then a ragtag kingdom, put into place a meticulously organized system of administration, and led the kingdom to reign supreme in military might, as an economic powerhouse, and in art, architecture, literature, music, and dance.
In this book, Kamini Dandapani explores the man behind the larger-than-life image of Rajaraja and the milieu in which he reigned. The origins of the Chola empire lie in the Sangam era around 2,000 years ago, when the first rulers of the family, men like Karikala and Kochengannan, ruled over small tracts of land around the Kaveri delta. By the middle of the ninth century, the