Original name of Aditya Karikala and his regnal years – VI
by Jayasree Saranathan on 22 Apr 2023 1 Comment

According to historians, Aditya II did not live beyond five years of his regency. This is based on the inscriptions stating “Vira Pandyan Thalai Konda” Parakesarivarman (one who took away the head of Vira Pandya). Parakesari was a title of Aditya II. Such inscriptions appear from his 2nd to 5th year.


Interestingly, two more persons claimed the same title, “Vira Pandyan Thalai Konda”. One was Parthivendravarman and another, Bhuti-Vikramakesari of Kodumbalur which was a vassal state of the Chola-s. From this we learn that the Kodumbalur king had accompanied Aditya II in his fight against Vira Pandya. Then who was Parthivendravarman and what was his role?


A surprise element is that Parthivendravarman’s records are identical with Aditya’s! They also appear from the 2nd year identifying him as one who took away the head of Vira Pandya. In one of the inscriptions found in Uttaramallur, he is recognised as ‘Maharaja’. [i]


The queens of Parthivendravarman also appear in the inscriptions in regal style reflecting that he was not a feudatory lord of the Chola empire, but part of the Chola dynasty. Nilakanta Sastri discussed at length the similarities between Parthivendravarman and Aditya II. He could not deny the identicality between the two from the 3rd year inscription found at Uttaramallur (then known as Uttarameru Caturvedi Mangalam). The record shows him as “Parthivendra Adityavarman” – combining Aditya in his name![ii]


This combination is possible if Parthivendra and Aditya were one and the same.


Another surprising inscription is found in the Varaha Perumal temple at Tiruvidandai, of the king ‘Vendravarman’ mentioned as Parakesari Vendravarman in his 6th regnal year.[iii] Parthiva is missing but the Parakesari title of Aditya II appeared along with his name.


Parakesari and Rajakesari were the titles held only by those who got kingship of the Chola country. Parthivendravarman holding Parakesari title along with a title of identical war deed of Aditya II, as “Vira Pandyan Thalai Konda” seems to indicate that they refer to the same person, Aditya Karikala, whose life is a neglected part of history.


There are 46 records attributed to Parthivendravarman found in the SII pages. Of them ‘Vira Pandyan Thalai Konda” title appears in 25 records while no such mention is found in the remaining 21 records. Only up to his 13th regnal year, records are found in the SII. Nilakanta Sastri also had written that Parthivendravarman’s records appear until his 13th year. The Thalai Konda title appears in his last year too, i.e., in the 13th year, indicating the pride and importance attached to this title.


Examining his records, Nilakanta Sastri opined that “the Parthivendravarman records differ from those of Aditya Parakesari in their provenance only in so far as the former are found in Chingleput district also, and are not found south of Tondai-mandalam.”[iv].


Sastri thought that both of them were the same and wrote, “It seems clear that, far from being a feudatory of the Cola kings, the ruler who can lay claim to so much distinction must himself be a Cola monarch, and the name Aditya and the title Parakesari clearly suggest his perhaps identity with Aditya Karikala Parakesari.‘Parthivendra Adityavarman’ and its variant forms occurring in his records show that he took the title ‘Parthivendra.’”.[v]


However, he could not declare that that it was Aditya II because of 13 years of kingship. Since he believed that succession took place only upon the death of the previous king, he could not accommodate 13 years in between Sundara Chola and Uttama Chola whose beginning year is very well known from the Tiruvidaimarudur inscription. If only he had picked out the overlapping kingship of the Chola-s of that period, Aditya II could have been granted kingdom and a kingship for 13 years! History is mostly what historians write thinking that they are right!


Parthivendra doesn’t seem to be a title, but Aditya’s original name. There was an earlier Aditya I, the son of Vijayalaya. His original name was Kodandarama. Coming in the solar race, he was given the title Aditya. The second Aditya, son of Sundara Chola, must therefore be a titular name, which is reinforced by the recognition of this title as Aditya II.


Parthivendravarman must have been his original name, much like how Arulmozhivarman was the original name of Rajaraja. It is a pleasant surprise to find out that the two brothers were given names ending with “Varman”.


We know the death year of Aditya II derived from the Udayarkudi inscription. From Parthivendravarman’s records, we learn that he ruled till his 13th year. Suppose we can match the dates from cross-referential records establishing a 13-year period for Aditya II, it means we are on the right track.


Proof of 13 regnal years of Aditya II


We have a very crucial input now that Aditya II did not die in his 5th year. We already knew that he did ascend the main throne after the death of his father. And he held kingship for 13 years. The battle with Vira Pandya took place on the first year – when probably he was not given the regnal right. He was too young at that time, and there were no war deeds to his credit. On winning Vira Pandya by taking away his head, the regnal right could have been given, counted from the year of the battle. His name started appearing in the 2nd year.


His 2nd year was the 20th year of Vira Pandya’s reign because Vira Pandya’s regnal years do not appear after his 20th year. Vira Pandya was holding the title “Solan Thalai Konda” for 13 years by then, which means after the 6th year, he killed the Chola King, who we found to be Gandraraditya. Fortunately, there is an inscription at Ambasamudram made in the 12th year of his reign giving the date features. [vi]


It was the 12th year of Vira Pandya when a solar eclipse occurred in the month of Mithuna. This information appears twice in the same inscription. Since an eclipse cycle takes 18 years (the Sun joining a lunar node in Mithuna can happen only once in 18 years), it is possible to locate this eclipse coming within the 18-year period before CE 977, the death year of Aditya, assuming he ruled for 13 years. When I searched for the probable year of solar eclipse when the sun was in Mithuna (Gemini) before the death of Aditya in 977 CE (derived from Rajaraja’s Udayarkudi record), it was found that on June 13, 959, there was a solar eclipse in Mithuna.


For checking solar eclipse, the Sun must be within 19 degrees from the nearest node for solar eclipse. On 13th June 959, the Sun was within 7 degrees of Rahu in Mithuna. So, a partial solar eclipse did happen on that day. (I checked for both Surya Siddhanta and Drik Siddhanta ayanamsa. Eclipse was indicated in both settings. The diagram produced below was for Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa which was 2.5 degrees less than Drik ayanamsa at that time. See original URL–Ed.)


The year was Siddarthi, which was the 12th regnal year of Vira Pandya. From this we can derive his 1st and last year which happened to be his 20th regnal year.


1st regnal year of Vira Pandya = CE 948

20th regnal year of Vira Pandya = CE 967


This was the 2nd regnal year of Aditya Karikala. From this we deduce,


The 1st regnal year of Aditya = CE 966

The 13th regnal year of Aditya = CE 978


We already know that Rajaraja’s 2nd year was CE 978

We are almost close to the 13-year period but it overlapped with the 2nd year of Rajaraja I

It should have been CE 977.


This discrepancy is due to difference in the way regnal years are counted. A regnal year is counted from the date kingship was given. This is ascertained from numerous inscriptions that register the day of the inscription (decree of the king) in number of days and years of the king. That may not match with the Gregorian year in use.


Even in the case of Gregorian year, two Hindu years (of the 60-year names) overlap. For example, in the above date of solar eclipse which occurred in the 12th year of Vira Pandya, the year name was Siddarthi (i.e., Siddarthi was running then), but Siddarthi need not be his 12th year. Suppose he was completing his 12th year within days or a few months of that solar eclipse, when Siddarthi was still running, we would say that Siddarthi (and the corresponding 959 CE) was running in his 13th year.


Keeping in mind such overlaps, we can say that Aditya’s regnal year started in such a way that his 13th year happened to coincide with CE 977.


For better clarity, let me express the year names for the regnal years.

We are certain about Rajaraja’s 2nd year due to the perfect matching of the date features of Udayarkudi inscription. It was Bahudhanya.

The date was in the first month (Mesha) of Bahudhanya.


It is not proper to say that Bahudhanya was his 2nd year, for, his 2nd year could have started a few months before when the year Eswara (preceding year of Bahudhanya) was running. In that case, his first year was Dhata (year before Eswara) which spread between 976-977.

His first year was Aditya’s last year = CE 977.


The sequence from the time of solar eclipse in the 12th year of Vira Pandya is as follows:

12th year of Vira Pandya = Kalayukti – Siddarthi (CE 958-959)

20th year of Vira Pandya = Akshaya – Prabhava (CE 966-967)


2nd year of Aditya II = Akshaya – Prabhava (CE 966-967)

1st year of Aditya II = Krodhana – Akshaya (CE 965-966)

13th year of Aditya II = Dhata - Eswara (CE 976-977)


1st year of Rajaraja = Dhata - Eswara (CE 976-977)

2nd year of Rajaraja (Udayarkudi)= Eswara - Bahudhanya (CE 977-978) 


Based on this kind of overlap, we can say that

Aditya’s 1st was Krodhana year (CE 965)

His 13th year was Eswara year (CE 977)


Rajaraja’s 1st year was Eswara year (CE 977)

His 2nd year (Udayarkudi) was Bahudhanya year (CE 978).


The 13th regnal year matching with the derivation from Udayarkudi as well as 12th year of Vira Pandya’s inscriptions, it can be said with certainty that Parthivendravarman was none other than Aditya Karikala. He was very much a married man (not like he is portrayed in Kalki’s novel) with many wives. The name of his queen Tribhuvana Mahadeviyar appears in his 12th and 13th year records of donation to temples.[vii] Nilakanta Sastri quotes other names such as Udaiyar Deviyar, Villavan Mahadeviyar, Perumanadiga?, deviyart-tanmapponnar-agiya Trailokya Mahadeviyar.[viii]


Of the six records that appear in the name Aditya, two are about donations made by the servants of old queens of the royal family.[ix] One of them was serving in the palace of ‘Udaiyapirattiyar Ki?anadiga?, the great grandmother of Aditya Karikala, who was the wife of Para?taka I and mother of Arindama – who was Aditya’s grandfather. The grant was made in the 4th year of Aditya.


This information seems to gain importance when we proceed further with the next issue – that is noticed by historians but unresolved till date.


It was a fact that following Aditya, who was a Parakesari, another Parakesari ascended the throne! Uttama Chola Madhurantaka was a Parakesari. How could this happen? Only a Rajakesari could follow a Parakesari. Does this mean a Rajakesari existed between these two kings but died early?


When that Rajakesari died, did the next chance fall on Madhurantaka and not on Arulmozhivarman? Did any manipulation happen that caused Rajendra I to record in the Tiruvalangadu plates that Madhurantaka coveted kingship?



[i] SII Vol 3.


[ii] SII Vol 3, No 158a.


[iii] SII, Vol III, No. 180. 


[iv] KA Nilakanta Sastri, ‘Colas’, p. 149.

[v] KA Nilakanta Sastri, “Colas’ p. 149.

[vi] Epigraphia Indica Vol XXV, No.6, p.40.


[vii] SII, Vol 3, No. 194 and No.195.


[viii] KA Nilakanta Sastri, “Colas”, p.149.

[ix] SII Vol 3, No. 201 and No. 204.


(To be continued…)




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