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Three Memorable Battles of Chola Kings

Updated on December 21, 2014

Battle of Thirupurambiyam

The Battle of Thirupurambiyam was one of the most important battles which changed the course of South Indian history. This battle should have happened in 879 AD. The battle was actually fought between the Pandiyas and Pallavas.

The Cholas at that time were just marginal rulers with much less power as the Pandiyas and Pallavas rose the south and north of them. The Chola region was ruled by Vijayalaya Chola who was the main reason for the re-establishment of the Chola dynasty in the medieval period. Making use of the opportunity during a war between the Pallavas and Pandiyas, Vijayalaya Chola rose out of obscurity and captured Tanjore from the Muthuraiyars. After Vijayalaya captured Tanjore, the Pandiya king Varagunavarma II become a close ally of Pallava Nandhivarma III. Nandhivarma wanted to curtail the growing influence of Vijayalaya and he called upon Varagunavarma for help.

After the death of Pallava king Nandhivarman III in 869 AD there arose a conflict between his eldest son Nripatunka and his stepson Aparajit. Both started to fight for power. Once Vijayalaya Chola got old he crowned his son Aditya Chola I as the new king. It was during the period of Aditya Chola I the battle of Thirupurambiyam took place.

As said before both Nripatunka and Aparajit were fighting for power, the Pandiya king Varagunavarma II came in support of Nripatunka. While Ganga king Pritvipathi and Aditya Chola I allied with Aparajit. The final war took place at the place called Thirupurambiyum.

It was said that the Pallava army under Aparajit suffered a heavy loss in the first three days of the war. But Vijayalaya the old veteran king even at his old age, unable to walk reached the battlefield and fought with the Pandiyas. This inspired the Pallava allies and they started to fight with more courage and as a result the Pallava Allies won the battle. But unfortunately the Ganga king Pritvipathi was killed in the war. A pallipadai temple was built in the remembrance of Pritvipathi in Thirupurambiyum. Although the battle was won by Pallavas but the Cholas were the actual beneficiaries which led them to re-establish themselves as a powerful dynasty.

The modern day Thirupurambiyum is located near Kumbakonam in the Tanjore district of Tamilnadu state.

Thirupurambiyam Sepulchre temple or Pallipadai
Thirupurambiyam Sepulchre temple or Pallipadai
Satchinathar temple Thirupurambiyam
Satchinathar temple Thirupurambiyam
Sepulchre temple or Pallipadai of Aditya Chola near Kalahasti
Sepulchre temple or Pallipadai of Aditya Chola near Kalahasti
Information below the Stupi
Information below the Stupi
3 tier raja gopuram
3 tier raja gopuram
Dhakshinamoorthy sculpture
Dhakshinamoorthy sculpture

Battle of Thakkolam

The battle of Thakkolam was fought on 949 AD between the crowned prince Rajaditya, son of King Paranthaka Chola I of the Chola dynasty and King Kannaradevan alias Krishna III from the Rashtrakuda Kingdom.

Due to political enmity war arose between the two kingdoms. The Chera king came in support for the Cholas led by Rajaditya. The King from Ganga Bhooduka II came to support the Rashtrakudas led by King Kannaradevan. Bhooduka was also the brother - in- law of the Rashtrakuda king. It was believed that both troops comprised lakhs of soldiers, hundreds and thousands of elephants and horses. These giant troops met at the battle field of Thakkolam and fought fiercely. The battle lasted for nearly 10 days and lots of men lost their lives in this battle. The bloods of killed elephants flowed like river. In spite of his bravery and Great War skills, Rajaditya was killed unfortunately by the Ganga king with a poison coated arrow which was a massive blow for the Chola army in which eventually they last the battle. The Cholas were defeated by the Rashtrakudas.

But historians of archeological surveys predict that, pretended overtures of peace were made and Rajaditya was killed by Bhooduka when he was seated on his elephant. Later Rajaditya was given the title “Yaanai Mel thunjia devan”. This was evident from the recently discovered stone inscriptions from Melpady.

This loss gave a new dimension to the Chola regime and it inspired the later Chola Kings to expand their territories beyond limits and build a strong army.

Thakkolam was now located in Vellore district of Tamilnadu state at a distance of nearly 12kms from Arakonam.

Thakkolam Jalandeswara temple
Thakkolam Jalandeswara temple

Battle of Chevur

This battle was fought between the Cholas and Pandiyas. This war took place in 10th century. Aditya Karikala was the eldest son of Sundara Chola. Kunthavai and Arunmozhi alias Raja Raja Cholan were his Siblings. There was a rivalry between the Cholas and the Pandya king Veera Pandiya. As a result war arose between the Cholas and Pandiyas where the Pandiya king was helped by king Mahinda of Ceylon. Aditya Karikala as a 12 year old boy went to the battlefield along with his father Sundara Chola. He fought with great courage. As a result the enemy troops were destroyed and they started running back for their lives. Veera Pandiya hides himself in Sahiyatri Mountain. As the ruler from Ceylon is causing troubles again and again Sundara Chola decided to teach him a lesson. He sent a troop under Kodumbaloor Siria Velalar to conquer Ceylon. Unfortunately the Chola army was defeated by the Ceylon king and Kodumbaloor Siria Velalar was killed in the battle. When Veera Pandiya came to know about this he came out from his hideout recollected his armies and again declared war against the Cholas. Aditya Karikala got furious. But Sundara Chola decided to send army under Kodumbaloor Poothi Vikirama Kesari who was the army commander. Aditya Karikalan joined himself with the army.

Fierce battle took place between the two sides in a place called Chevur. Aditya Karikala was desperate and fought like a lion. He killed everyone who came in his way. Again the Pandya troops were destroyed and they started running back searching for hide outs to save their lives. Aditya Karikala was indignant and chased the Pandiyas. He hacked the head of Veera Pandiya and eventually killed him.

Aditya Karikala got the title “Veera Pandiyan thalai konda koperakesari”-“took the head of Veera Pandiya”. This was evident from the copper plates got from Thiruvalangadu.

This memorable battle which was fought in the place called Chevur is now located in Pudukottai district of Tamilnadu state.


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    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Interesting article on South Indian history that does not form part of our school textbooks.

    • Arulselvan profile image


      2 years ago

      The rise of Cholas

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      It is great that the relevant pictures were added with the history. Many thanks for this effort.


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