Vira Rajendra Chola (1063–1070 CE) was one of the most under-rated Chola kings, mainly because a major part of his life was spent as a subordinate of his two elder brothers Rajadhiraja Chola I and Rajendra Chola II, who along with Virarajendra Chola himself were the illustrious sons of their Chakravarti father, Rajendra Chola I. While certainly it was not a practice among the Chola kings to nominate the eldest son, but the most capable (in administration of their domains as well as proving their mettle on the battlefield for both conquests of territory as well as in defence of the land from their known enemies and adversaries) as the heir to the throne, Rajendra Cholan-I had no hestiation in nominating Rajadhiraja-I, his eldest son as co-regent a few years before the end of his own rule. This was because Rajadhiraja-I (as well as, it must be added, Rajendra-II and Virarajendra, the youngest of the three brothers)had proved their mettle in ably assisting their all conquering father, in both administration as Viceroys of various provinces such as Tondainadu, Pandiyanadu (Madurai), Vengi as well as assisting their father in wars both on Indian territory as well as capably leading the Chola naval forces in their conquests of Singala Nadu (Sri Lanka) Srivijaya, Kadaram, Kataha, Pappalam (Burma), Champa etc. which are part of Chola folklore. Surely, as events have proved the successors of Rajadhiraja-I himself, (who as Chola king had died on the battlefield at Koppam in the war against Somesvara-I) his younger brothers Rajendra-II as well as Virarajendra himself proved equally worthy successors in carrying on the brave heritage of great Chola kings like Aditya-I, Parantaka-I, Sundara Cholan, Raja Raja-I and finally, the most capable as well as powerful king of South India in his time, Rajendra Chola I.
It is the legacy of Rajendra Chola-I, Rajadhirajan-I and Rajendra-II that was very ably and capably carried on by Virarajendra became the Chola king succeeding his brother Rajendra Chola II. Rajamahendra, Rajendra’s son and heir apparent died before his father and Rajendra-II made his younger brother Virarajendra his heir.
Virarajendra’s reign falls in a period of the medieval Cholas, when it was both trying to expand its boundaries and preserve its existing territories, but had appeared to stutter in its attempts because of death in his prime of eldest brother and king Rajadhiraja-I and the short rule of Virarajendra's elder brother Rajendra-II. In all the three brothers altogether ruled for between 16–20 years by succeeding one another. This rapid succession was seen as a golden opportunity by the traditional enemies and subordinates of the Cholas, viz. the Singhalas (Ceylon), Salukkis (Westerb Chalukyas), Pandyas and even the Cheras (with the last named having had marital relations with the Cholas from the times of Aditya-I and Parantaka-I), with each adversary either trying to become free or declaring a war on the Cholas. Ultimately, however, Virarajendra proved to be a very capable and brave ruler, who was kind and protective to his subjects, reimposed authority on Chola dominions and was particularly ruthless to the old nemeses of the Cholas, both the Chalukyas and the Pandyas. Viewed overall, especially in the context of the fact that his own rule lasted for less than 10 years, yet, as borne out by his various inscriptions in Karur, Virarajendra's was a lasting legacy in that in the short time he ruled, he overwhelmed everyone of his adversaries, and succeeded not only in preserving Chola territories, but also made overseas concquests in far-off lands like Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nicobar, Sakkarakottam (around Bastar district, Chattisgarh - this was also a place governed by the next major Chola monarch, Kulothunga-I or Rajendra Chalukya, son of Eastern Chalukya King Rajaraja Narendra and thus grandson of Rajendra Chola I through his daughter Ammanga.
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... of his from Tirunamanallur dated in the fourth year of his reign, we understand that Virarajendra Chola held the titles Sakalabhuvanasraya, Srimedinivallabha, Maharajadhiraja Cholakula-Sundara, Pandyakulantaka ... named after his great predecessor Rajaditya Chola ... The very indication of Virarajendra mobilizing his armies for war made his adversaries especially the Salukkis, tremble with fear and every time they tried to confront him, be the Salukkis, Pandiyas or other ...