Rajendra Chola is one of the most famous of the Chola kings. A copper plate grant of his, known as Tiruvalangadu grant, gives a detailed story of the genesis of the dynasty besides other things. Well, I have got a few problems with that grant when juxtaposed with the fact that The Modern Cholas are the proud descendants of the old Cholas and are upholders of the Tamil culture.

(V. 4.) The eye of the three worlds was the Sun from whom sprang the sprouts of all (families of) kings. From him (i.e., the Sun) was born by concentration (manana), Manu, the first of kings whose name became (thus) conformable to (its) meaning.

(V. 5.) Great Ikshvaku was born (as) his son ; of him, in great battles the enemies of gods (i.e., the danavas) were greatly afraid. The three worlds, though completely immersed I the ocean of his spotless fame, (still) enjoyed extreme delight.

(V. 28.) (People) say that Dushyanta was an ornament of the race of this (king). His son was Daushyanti (i.e., born of Dushyanta) Bharata. To him was born a son named Chola after whom the Solar race on this earth became illustrious.

(V. 29.) Him (i.e., the king Chola), learned men described as the generous lord of gods (i.e., Indra) who incarnated on earth (on seeing that) the glory of his own (i.e., Amaravati) was humbled by the varied and lustrous riches of the Chola country.

Chola is a son of Dushyanta. If they are proud Tamils, why did they link themselves to a North Indian Aryan dynasty?

(V. 30.) Cholavarman’s son was Rajakesarivarman (‘the lion among kings’) who split asunder with (his) nails (viz., crooked knives) the elephants (viz., crooked knives) the elephants (viz., his enemies) and (was) the cage (wherein resided the goddess) of prosperity.

(V. 47.) (After him), (his) son king Adityavarman, the asylum of the wise, a Dhishana (Brihaspati) (in learning), energetic, always bent upon removing evil and adhering (himself) to the path of the righteous, protected the earth.

Note the names Cholavarman, Rajakesarivarman and Adityavarman. Varman is the royal title of the Pallavas. If they are that exalted, why did they ape the Pallavas and why did they treat the Pallava name more superior to theirs? Or, are they just someone petty who wanted an ascendancy in stature or someone from the Pallava family itself? The same is visible in the previous point where they didn’t follow the norm of linking themselves to the Puranic Dynasties, but they emulated the Pallavas in doing that. Note the below from Aparajita Pallava’s Valenjeri Grant

Brahma was born of the naval of Madhava. From Brahma came Angiras and from Angiras was born Vagisa (Brahaspati). Samyu came from Brahaspati and from him Saumya (Bharadvaja) Bharadvaja’s son was Drona, the very abode of unequalled tapas. Asvathama became the son of Drona and from him came Pallava, adored by all rulers.

From Pallava, a true consort of kingship, Devaraja in prosperity, a ruler of exalted glory, came this ruling clan into the world.

This gives a decent example of Pallava Puranic genesis.

(V. 43.) In the family of that (king) of extensive glory was born the emperor Kochchengannan who bore on his arm the earth (extending) as far as the Lokaloka mountain, whose tremulous eyes were as blue as the petal of the blue lily (and) the bondage of (whose) spider-body and cut off by (his) devotion of Sambhu (i.e., Siva) the conqueror of (the demon) Tripura.

This is later elaborated in Periyapuranam. The story is of a spider weaving a web to protect the Sivalinga and an elephant destroying it and offering leaves to the Sivalinga; both of them come across one day; the spider bites the elephant in the trunk and both die. The spider is reborn as Kochchengannan. The version of Parantaka’s Velanjeri grant is as thus –

9. A spider made a very small, thin and beautiful prapa (protection) for Siva by a web of threads, issuing from its mouth. When Lord Hara was pleased at that, it was born as Kochengannan in that royal family.

Well, this is the story of Sri Kalahasti temple, far north of the territories Cholas ever ruled. Why is such importance accorded to the legend of a distant temple and not that of any temple from the traditional Chola lands around Tiruchchirapalli or Thanjavur like Srirangam or Vaideeswaran Koil or such? Does this reflect their origins – that they are someone who came from that area and for whom Srikalahastiswara is the patron god?

Besides this, Velanjeri Grant of Parantaka Chola gives the below

Orriyura known for his marvellous valour was born. His son was a veritable fire to the forest of enemy kings.

Aditya equal in splendour to Kubera, was born of him. He shone as a moon to the lotus like faces of enemy queens.

Why did Parantaka Chola omit his grandfather’s name? No way, he can forget his grandfather’s name unless he is not at all famous or the name is controversial(may be Aparajitavarman himself or Nripatungavarman?) and the dynasty rose out of Aditya Chola and not Vijayalaya Chola. Note that nothing is available from Vijayalaya’s reign; all are from Aditya’s reign and from his contemporaries including those from Aparajita Pallava. Now, take the name of Vijayalaya Chola’s father – Orriyuran. Well, the ancient capital of Cholas is Uraiyur. Another big attempt for legitimization – Vijayalaya Chola himself is a fake.

Another important thing to note is that the names of all the early Chola rulers is in Sanskrit – Aditya, Parantaka, Gandaraditya, Arinjaya, Sundara, Aditya, Uttama, Rajaraja, Rajendra, Rajadhiraja, Rajendra, Virarajendra and Adhirajendra. Why such prominence to Sanskrit when they are proud Tamils? Well, there is one exception – Kulottunga and that’s because his name is Rajendra Chalukya and he needs to fit into Chola mould somehow on annexing the kingdom.

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