Rajendra chola I (1012-1043 AD) was born to a great king Rajaraja I and Vanavan madevi alias Tribhuvanamadevi. The birth star of Rajendra I was Tiruvathirai. He was originally called as Maduranthagan. He spent his childhood in Palayarai and was brought up his aunt Kundavai and great grandmother Sembian Mahadevi. He was the co regent in 1012 AD with his father and ascended the throne in 1014 AD. His consorts were Tribuvana or Vanavan Mahadeviar, Mukkokilan, Panchavan Mahadevi, Arindhavan Madevi and Viramadevi who committed Sati on his death. Rajendra had three sons namely Rajadhiraja, Rajendra II and Virarajendra, who followed him on the Chola throne in succession. He had two daughters Pranaar Arul Mozhi Nangai and Ammanga Devi.
Rajendra Chola was great Chola emperor who is considered one of the greatest ruler of India in the medieval period. During his reign he extended the influence of the chola empire to the banks of the river Gangas. His conquest also extended upto South East Asian countries in the Indian Ocean. His conquest included the countries Andaman and Nicobar islands, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Srivijaya in Malaysia, Southern part of Thailand and Indonesia.
South East Asian expedition
The inscription from Tanjavur dated in 1030- 31 mentions about the naval expedition ordered by Chola King Rajendra Chola I to South East Asia. it reads as follows ;
who having dispatched many ships in the midst of the rolling sea and having caught Sangrama- Vijayottunga Varman, the king of Kedaram, together with the elephants in his glorious army took the large heap of treasures, which that king had rightfully accumulated; captured with noise, the arch called Vidyadhara torana at the ‘war gate’ of his extensive city, Sri Vijaya with the ‘ jewelled wicket gate’ adorned with great splendour and the ‘ gate of large jewels’; Pannai with water in its bathing ghats’ the ancinet Malaiyur with the strong mountain for its ramparts; Mayirudingam surrounded by the deep sea as by a moat; Ilangasoka, undaunted in fierce battles; Mappapppalam having abundant deep water as a defence; Mevilimbangam having fine wall as defence; Valaippanduru having Vilapandur; Talaittakkolam praised by great men versed in the sciences; Madamalingam, firm in fierce and great batles; Ilamuridesam whose fierce strength rose in war; Manakkavaaram, in whose extensive flower gardens honey was collecting and Kadaram, of fierce strength, which was protected by the deep sea”
From the above inscription it assumed by the scholars that Srivijaya was a kingdom centered on Palembang in Sumatra, ruled by the Sailendra dynasty. The cholas under Rajaraja I had a cordial relationship with the Srivijaya king Mara Vijayatungavarman, he who built the Chudamani Vihara at Nagapattinam. Later he was succeeded by Sangrama Vijayatunggavarman. During this time the Khmer kingdom (modern Cambodia) was ruled by Suryavarman I who declared war against the kingdom of Tambraling (the region in the present Malay Peninsula) for wich Suryavarman asked for the support from Rajendra chola. This had provoked the Srivijaya king Sangarama who in turn supported Tambraling. This factor led to the Chola expedition against the Srivijiya empire, and attacked several places. In the year 1025 AD Rajendra I sent his naval force and attacked Kadaram, Pannai in Sumatra and Malaiyur in Malay Peninsula, Tambralinga and the Langkasuka kingdom ( the places in the modern Malaysia and south Thailand). After this the ports of Ligor, Kedah, and Tumasik( present Singapore) became the centre of trade activity of the Tamil merchants.
Chola period Cultural influence through the representation of Sculptures
The cultural influence of the Chola’s at South Asian countries noticed from the images from Sumatra. The important mercantile settlements were Barus (Lobu Tua), Palembang and Jambi during the Chola regime at Sumatra. The Palembang temple complex in central Java was built between eight and ninth century AD. There are temples for Lord Siva, Vishnu and Brahma with other sub shrines. The central shrine has the image of Siva in human form. He is depicted with four arms; stands on the Lotus pedestal; with jata makuta; snake goes around his neck.
The basement of the temples here at Palembang are noticed with the sculptures of Ramayana scenes, as that of them found in the chola temples at Gopurapatti, (Tiruchy district), Nagesvara swami temple, Tirunagesvaram, Brahmapurisvara temple at Pullamangai, Sadaimudinatha temple at Tiruchennampundi, Kampaharesvara temple at Tribhuvanam all in Thanjavur district, Samavediswara temple at Tirumangalam in Tiruchirapalli district. There are other images of god and goddess, saint found in the museums at Java and Sumatra. They include Ganesa, Mahishasuramardini, Durga, Agastya.