- Author : Kamini Dandapani
- Publisher : Aleph Book Company
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 392 pages
- ISBN-13 : 9789391047924
BOOK DESCRIPTION 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 ‘Imperial Cholas’ (as historians named them) began to consolidate power at the expense of rivals like the Pallavas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Cheras, Gangas, Pandyas, and other smaller kingdoms. Rajaraja became king in 985 ce and, during his reign, the Chola empire reached its zenith. All his major achievements are described in detail—victories on the battlefield, the expansion of territory, the building of the monumental Brihadeeshwara Temple, the gargantuan land survey, and much else besides. The book goes into every aspect of Chola society—the place of women, the flowering of culture, including the making of exquisite Chola bronzes, the spread of religion, and the lives of ordinary people. After the death of Rajaraja in 1014, his son Rajendra expanded the empire; others that followed had mixed fortunes and, a couple of centuries later, the dynasty succumbed to their greatest rivals, the Pandyas. However, in their heyday, and especially under their greatest king, few empires or emperors could compare with the Cholas and Rajaraja. This scrupulously researched and brilliantly told biography brings to vivid and compelling life one of India’s greatest empires and rulers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kamini Dandapani was born and raised in (once) sleepy Madras. She now lives in the city that never sleeps, New York. She has had extensive training in Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam, and Western Classical music (Pianoforte). A longer than desired stint in the corporate world that included Chase Manhattan Bank and McKinsey & Co. was followed by a complete change in direction back to her true loves, top among which are music and writing.