South India : Rajendra I

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Chola dynasty | Rajaraja I | Rajendra I | Administration | Decline

Rajendra I ruled jointly with his father for two years, succeeding him in 1014. The policy of expansion continued with the annexation of the southern provinces of the Chalukyas (the region of modern Hyderabad). Campaigns against Ceylon and Kerala were also renewed. But Rajendra's ambitions had turned northwards, even as far as the Ganges valley. An expedition set out and, marching through Orissa, reached the banks of the Ganges, from where it is said the water of the sacred river was taken to the Chola capital.

Even more ambitious was Rajendra's overseas campaign involving both his army and his navy against the kingdom of Shrivijaya in south-east Asia. By the tenth century there was a well-developed trade between China and south India. Ships passed through the seas held by the kingdom of Shrivijaya, (the southern Malay peninsula and Sumatra), and the latter realized that it would be more lucrative for local traders if the China India trade could be made to terminate in Shrivijaya with local middle-men taking the goods to their eventual destinations. Indian merchants in Shrivijaya territory were threatened, and this raised the wrath of the Chola, and the result was an attack on Shrivijaya. The campaign was successful in that a number of strategic places along the Straits of Molucca were captured by the Chola forces, and, for a while at least, Indian shipping and commerce were safe in their passage through Shrivijaya territory.

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