Vikrama Chola, known as Kō Parakēsari Varman, was a 12th-century king (r. c. 1118–1135 CE[1]) of the Chola Empire in southern India. He succeeded his father Kulothunga I (r. c. 1070–1120 CE) to the throne.[2]

Vikrama Chola
விக்கிரம சோழன்
Vikrama territories.png
Chola Territories c. 1126 CE
Reignc. 1118 – c. 1135 CE
PredecessorKulothunga Chola I
SuccessorKulothunga Chola II
Died1135 CE
IssueKulothunga Chola II
FatherKulothunga Chola I

Early lifeEdit

Vikrama Chola was the fourth son of Kulothunga I. He was a younger brother of Vira Chola who was the third son of Kulothunga I. The Tamil inscriptions of Vikrama Chola confirm that he left the north for the south (of the Chola kingdom) before he was crowned king.[3]


Vikrama Chola was crowned as the heir-apparent by his father early in his life. He was appointed as viceroy of the Vengi province in 1089 C.E., succeeding his brother Rajaraja Chodaganga. Vikrama during his tenure successfully managed to check the ambitions of the Western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI on the Vengi kingdom.

In 1118 C.E., the aging Kulothunga recalled Vikrama Chola from Vengi to the south to appoint him as his co-regent. He assumed many of the titles of his father including Rajakesari when he was a co-regent. He subsequently switched to Parakesari when he ascended the throne.[4][1] This took place on 29 June 1118 C.E.[1] Vikrama continued to rule joinltly with his father until the latter's death in 1122 C.E. However the Western Chalukyas, utilising the opportunity of proper leadership in Vengi, invaded and captured the Eastern Chalukyan provinces.

Military campaignsEdit

Kalinga expeditionEdit

While he was still a crown prince, Vikrama led an expedition to the Kalinga country on behalf of his father (1110 C.E.). The Kalinga war is also referred to in the inscriptions and in the epic Vikkiramacholan Ula. Here is an excerpt of his inscription (Grantha and Tamil) from Chintamani, Karnataka mentioning the decimation of Kalinga while he was still a co-regent of his father. The same inscription also mentions the conquest of Kadal Malai, the seaport at the very edge of Mahabalipuram. Generally his inscription begin with-svasti sri Pū-mādu Punara Puvi-mādu valara Nā-mādu vilanga..:

He seems to have ascended the throne sometime prior to his 10th year for we have a similar Tamil inscription of his from Srinivaspur, Karnataka that gives him the title Parakesari. The title of his chief queen Mukkōkilānadigal (Queen of the Three Worlds) is also mentioned. We also have the Saka date 1049:

Recovery of VengiEdit

The Western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI occupied the Eastern Chalukya provinces in 1118 C.E. When Vikramaditya died in 1126 C.E, Vikrama Chola re-conquered the lost territories. We do not have much information or the details on this campaign, however it seems likely that the local Telugu chieftains were ready to prefer the Chola overlordship to the Western Chalukyan dominance. On the request of the local chieftains in Vengi, Vikrama sent his son Kulothunga Chola II at the head of a powerful army on an expedition against Vengi. The Velanadu Chodas, Giripaschima and Konakandravada also joined hands with the Chola army. The Chola supremacy over Vengi and consequently to Kalinga was firmly re-established with the Western Chalukyas who had occupied Vengi taking advantage of his travel to Gangaikonda Cholapuram for his coronation, were crushed in the battle of Mannery, which resulted in their being confined to Manyakheta for the rest of their existence. He also defeated the Telunga Bhima of Kulam.[7]

Recovery of KeralaEdit

Vikrama Chola also oversaw the Chola wars against the Chera kingdom in present-day south Kerala. Records of Jatavarman Parakrama Pandya mention the defeat of the Chera and Venadu kings and re-capture of Kollam, Vizhinjam and Kantalur (Kollam was re-captured by the Cheras c. 1102 AD).[8] The last record of a Chera king is dated to 4th regnal year of Vikrama Chola. The Thiruvanchuli temple inscription in Kapardiswara temple mentions a gift to the deity of the temple for the benefit of the Chera king Rama Varma Kulashekhara (c. 1089 - c. 1122 AD).[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Vikrama Chola was a great devotee of Siva and greatly patronised the temple at Chidambaram. In 1128 C.E. he signalled his devotion by allocating the entire revenue of the year to the upgrade and extension of the temple. He had the main Vimana of the temple and the roofs of the passages around the main deity covered with gold. He had a palace built near the temple and spent much of his time there. We have many important people making donations to various temples during his reign. The most characteristic title of Vikrama Chola was Tyagasamudra – the ocean of sacrifice, which is found in his inscriptions and in Vikramacholan Ula. We know the titles of three of his queens: Mukkōkilānadigal, Tyagapataka and Neriyan Madeviyar. Of his sons we only know of Kulothunga Chola II who succeeded him on the throne.

Religious contributionEdit

Vikrama Chola built a Siva temple at Ulagalanda Chola Mangalam (now renamed as Kalavai in Vellore district), this temple sivan is suyambu, A nataraja statue made by a pancha-loha, this is similar to Chithambaram Nataraja statue, kovil constructed using green stones (patchai kal).[citation needed]


General Naralokaviran alias Ponnambalakuttan continued to serve Vikrama Chola after Kulottunga I.[9] One of the vassals in the Andhra country was Madhurantaka Pottapi Chola, the son of Siddharasa. The officer claimed descent from the legendary Karikala Chola in epigraphs (Carana saroruha etc.).[10]


A Tamil inscription of the king from Sidlaghatta district, dated in the second year of his reign and beginning with Pumagal Punara, states that Udayamartanda Brahmamarayan, an officer of the king with his residence in Arulmolideva Chaturvedimangalam, and who was well versed in Tamil, built the temple of Somesvarar in the village of Sugattur in Kaivara nadu. Vikrama Chola is called Pulivendan Koliyar kula Pati alias Rajayar Vikrama Choladeva.[11]


  1. ^ a b c The Cōḷas. 62-63.
  2. ^ The History and Culture of the Indian People: The struggle for empire, page 245
  3. ^ Epigraphy by Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle, page 4.
  4. ^ History of Indian administration: Volume 2
  5. ^ Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 270
  6. ^ Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1, page 280
  7. ^ Yashoda Devi. The History of Andhra Country, 1000 A.D.-1500 A.D. Gyan Publishing House, 1993 - Andhra Pradesh (India) - 528 pages. p. 212.
  8. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 125-28.
  9. ^ K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Professor of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. The Colas Volume II, Part II. p. 614.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Professor of Indian History and Archaeology, University of Madras. The Colas Volume II, Part II. p. 621.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ S. R. Balasubrahmanyam, B. Natarajan, Balasubrahmanyan Ramachandran. Later Chola Temples: Kulottunga I to Rajendra III (A.D. 1070-1280), Parts 1070-1280. Mudgala Trust, 1979. p. 164.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Preceded by
Kulothunga Chola I
1118–1135 CE
Succeeded by
Kulothunga Chola II


  • Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1935). The Cōḷas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
  • The History and Culture of the Indian People: The Struggle for Empire By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti
  • Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Part 1 by Benjamin Lewis Rice, Mysore (India: State). Archaeological Dept, Mysore Archaeological Survey
  • Epigraphy By Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle
  • History of Indian Administration: Volume 2 by Baij Nath Puri