Considered among the great Chola rulers, King Aditya I had played a major part in the rich history of Tamil Nadu.

During his 37 years of rule, not only did he father a son who would go on to best him, the king was also a ruler during a tumultuous period in Indian history.

Here are some facts that you probably never knew about the great king.

Expanded The Chola Empire

Aditya, being the son of Vijayalaya, outdid his father by expanding the kingdom by conquering the Pallavas and taking over the Western Ganga Kingdom. This led the Chola kingdom to grow in terms of resources and manpower.

A Shrewd Tactician

Aditya was also a shrewd tactician. During his reign, the Pallava kingdom descended into a civil war, leading to a tumultuous period for South India. During this point, Aditya aligned himself with Aparajita who contended for the Pallava throne. Aditya together with Aparajita managed to beat Nripatunga – the step brother of Aparajita.

Masterful Opportunist

While Aparajita got the throne of Pallava, the real winner was Aditya who had cleverly used the civil war to expand the Chola empire. When the defeated Pandya Varagunavarnam gave up his throne, Aparajita gifted the former's territories to Aditya while allowing him to keep his spoils of the war.

The Great Coup

Despite provided the spoils of the civil war, Aditya felt he could do better than Aparajita. In 903, he led an attack which led to the death of Aparajita, thus ending the rule of the Pallavas. This was when the Chola empire rose to power as the kingdoms and regions held by Aparajita fell onto Aditya's hands.

A Great Devotee of Shiva

So devoted he was for Shiva, that Aditya was famous for erecting 108 temples to one of Hinduism's major deities. The Kanyakumari temple is believed to have been built by this great king as well. When he died, his son Parantaka built a Shivan temple at the location he was cremated.

Laid The Foundation For A Chola Empire

Because his reign was long and successful, Aditya managed to create the momentum needed for the success of the Chola empire. In fact, some historians believe that he is the reason because of the foundations he had laid for the empire to flourish.

Article Source: Indian Contents, Facts Legend, A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Wikipedia

Photo Source: Legend of Ponnivala