Indian King Raja Raja Chola's Mysterious Grave - Was He Murdered?

In Indian history, King Raja Raja Chola occupies a special place. A fierce warrior, a brilliant architect, a great philanthropist, but most of all, a man whose death is shrouded in mystery. He is known as the first Dravidian king who documented almost his entire life on stone inscriptions and copper plates, but no information is available about his death. It almost feels like a great king simply vanished into thin air, after a certain point in time. 

Watch the video above or continue reading below
Well, I am gonna show you my search for the grave & nature of death of Raja Raja. I was told that his tombstone lies in the small village of Udayalur, in Tamil Nadu. This is where he is rumored to have been buried or cremated. When I visited this place, I was surprised to see a rather small, but beautiful lingam. This could be of priceless historic value, so I took careful measurements. It is exactly 2 feet 3 inches tall and has a diameter of 18 inches.
The purported grave of King Raja Raja Chola in the village of Udayalur near Kumbakonam, India
There is an elderly gentleman who looks after this lingam and he told me that the rest of the structure is buried underneath about 14 feet deep. He said this Lingam is the tombstone of Raja Raja Chola, and the place had been visited by numerous people, including local politicians and movie stars. I asked him if he knew how Raja Raja died, and he told me he died naturally of old age and was cremated right here.
A closeup of the back of lingam shows no carvings and chipping at the top. Did Raja Raja die here?
Why would a great king have such a small, almost anonymous grave? You can see there are no inscriptions, no other carvings on this lingam or anywhere in this site. Remember, Raja Raja built the greatest temple in India (Brihadeeswarar temple) which is now declared a world heritage site and his accomplishments and other information are inscribed all over the walls in many temples. So, I asked this gentleman, if there is any evidence to prove that this is in fact Raja Raja's grave. He told me there used to be a pillar here and it was donated to a temple called Paalkulathu amman temple, a few miles away. He said that this pillar has inscriptions which proves that Raja Raja died here.
The inscription on the pillar at Paalkulathu Amman temple shows the word "Raja Raja" in Tamil
So, I decided to travel to this temple and take a look at this pillar myself. As soon as I reached the temple, I immediately spotted the pillar. The pillar does contain the word "Raja Raja" so it is obviously related to the King, but I was not able to completely understand what the inscription said. Luckily, the words carved are still clearly visible, even after many centuries. So, I took a lot of pictures and copied the entire writings on a scratchpad. I contacted an epigraphist, who was able to tell me exactly what was written in this pillar. I double checked this information with another expert as well, to make sure this transcription is error free.
Above: The entire inscription in Tamil, found at the pillar of Paalkulathu Amman temple 

Above: English translation of the Tamil inscription, which shows it has nothing to do with Raja Raja Chola's death
So, looking at the above transcriptions, the gist is simply this:The Royal Palace of Raja Raja Chola was renovated by 4 people. The inscription includes those 4 names and that is all the information we see on this pillar. The inscription has no reference to the death or grave of the King at all. This shows that the site of this lingam is probably not Raja Raja's grave and there is no actual evidence to claim so.
Above: The first part of line by line translation of the pillar inscription, from Tamil to English. Click picture to enlarge 

Above: The second part of line by line translation of the pillar inscription, from Tamil to English. Click picture to enlarge 
This also answered a question that has troubled me ever since I heard about this "grave". Why hasn't the Government turned this into a big monument to commemorate this great King? The reason for this is simple: the Government relies on archaeological evidence, not hearsay. I imagine that this pillar's inscription had already been studied by experts, which is why they have left it as it is. 

This raises the question of what happened to Raja Raja, how did he die? Where did his funeral take place? Think a moment, there are hundreds, if not thousands of stone inscriptions and copper plates about Raja Raja's accomplishments, how he conquered various territories, how he built the great temple and even when he was born. But there is no information whatsoever about when or how he died and where he was cremated. Or he could still lay buried in a large earthen pot called Mudhumakkal Thazhi, which is the ancient funeral custom of Tamils. So I decided to go back to Thanjavur to find out more about his death, which was the capital of Chola empire until he died.
Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, declared a world heritage site - built by the great king Raja Raja Chola 
 I contacted several archeologists and they told me that the primary reason why a King's death would not recorded is if the King died an unnatural death. For example, if a King committed suicide or was murdered, then the ancient Tamils would not record that. I spoke to a lot of locals in Thanjavur to see if anyone knew how he died. After all, this city still has a considerable population whose ancestors were a part of the Chola kingdom. It is astonishing to see how many people still do the same line of work like their forefathers, like dancing or priesthood, even after 1000 years.

The locals tell a very different, but consistent story. I have given an example of this account in my video, around the 4:24 mark. It turns out that Raja Raja was actually murdered by a woman from Sri Lanka. In 993 A.D, Raja Raja conquered half of Sri Lanka and the defeated King Mahinda V fled to the south, to avoid being captured. Unable to defeat Raja Raja in the battlefield, King Mahinda sent a Buddhist woman from Sri Lanka who slowly got into the inner circle of Raja Raja. When Raja Raja was standing on the 8th floor inspecting the progress of the Big Temple, she simply pushed him down. This fall killed him instantly. People claim this is why the temple was not properly finished, a fact confirmed by archeologists. Some of the unfinished paintings in the upper levels show Raja Raja's international connections, like the mysterious French King sculpture on the outside. We might have also gotten more information about the Chola drilling technology, had the temple been finished.
Experts say this sculpture shows Rajendra Chola being crowned by Lord Shiva, instead of his father Raja Raja
This is why his son, Rajendra Chola created a whole new capital in a different city because he thought that Thanjavur was a cursed place. This story also explains why Rajendra Chola went after Sri Lanka with a vengeance, conquering the entire island. He then found King Mahinda who was hiding, brought him back and kept him as a lifelong prisoner. King Mahinda V died in this prison around 1029 A.D. This prison is rumored to be somewhere near the Royal Palace of Rajendra Chola, which is in ruins near the village of Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
Maaligai Medu, the royal palace of Rajendra Chola, now in ruins near Gangaikonda Cholapuram 
Although this story explains why there is no record of Raja Raja's death or his tomb, again, I have to point out that I don't have any actual evidence to prove this story. So, my quest for Raja Raja's grave and the nature of his death remains incomplete, but I'm going to keep searching. I am also searching for his belongings like the heavyweight sword and his body armor. His monolithic bathtub is still displayed at Brihadeeswarar temple. If you have any information that may lead to the discovery of his grave or his belongings, please leave a comment below.

38 comments:

Great work Bro. Appreciated !!

hello praveen sir..are u a professional photographer or explorer or historian or archaeologist??? i am greatly inspired by your work...plz keep it up...

Sir
wonderful work. A lot of research done. Thanks a lot for information

Sir,
Nice work.As a Tamil man,I gathered news about King Raja Raja.

For your research, please read "Udayar" a Tamil Novel wholly based on King Raja Raja and the construction of Brihadeeswarar Temple - Thanjavur.And so,please meet Mr.Balakumaran,the writer of the novel,who had done many researches on Big Temple and King Raja Raja.Thanks
Kaleeswaran
kalish4u@gmail.com

great work sir i also have an interest to know about history of cholas.There is any chance for me to join with you sir? my Mail ID abiramikrish96@gmail.com

Good work., pls keep continue, i am eager to know what happen to the great legend and where is actual Place

படிக்கும்போதே புல்லரிக்குது சார், உங்கள் கடி உழைப்பபுக்கு முதலில் என் வாழ்த்துக்கள் சார் அருள் மொழி வர்மனின் உண்மை வரலாற்றை நாம் இன்றும் தமிழக அளவில் மட்டுமே தேடிகொண்டு இருக்கிறோம் அவரை பற்றி மேலும் பல உண்மைகள் அரிய நாம் நாடு கடக்க வேண்டும் மலேசியா ,இந்தோனேசியா, கம்போடியா, ஈழம் இவற்றில் நிறைய சோழ கல்வேட்டுகள் இருக்கிறது அவற்றில் பல உண்மைகள் அழியும் நிலையில் கொட்டி கிடக்கிறது. மலேசியாவில் கட (கடாரம்) மாநிலத்தில் நான் கண் கூடாக பார்த்துள்ளேன். அங்கு இன்றும் சோழ காலத்திய மக்கள் தலைமுறைகள்ள் பல கடந்து வாழ்கின்றனர்.

படிக்கும்போதே புல்லரிக்குது சார், உங்கள் கடி உழைப்பபுக்கு முதலில் என் வாழ்த்துக்கள் சார் அருள் மொழி வர்மனின் உண்மை வரலாற்றை நாம் இன்றும் தமிழக அளவில் மட்டுமே தேடிகொண்டு இருக்கிறோம் அவரை பற்றி மேலும் பல உண்மைகள் அரிய நாம் நாடு கடக்க வேண்டும் மலேசியா ,இந்தோனேசியா, கம்போடியா, ஈழம் இவற்றில் நிறைய சோழ கல்வேட்டுகள் இருக்கிறது அவற்றில் பல உண்மைகள் அழியும் நிலையில் கொட்டி கிடக்கிறது. மலேசியாவில் கட (கடாரம்) மாநிலத்தில் நான் கண் கூடாக பார்த்துள்ளேன். அங்கு இன்றும் சோழ காலத்திய மக்கள் தலைமுறைகள்ள் பல கடந்து வாழ்கின்றனர்.

Thanks for you research on .......trying to reveal the mysterious death of Rajarajacholan. Great effort sir. This is the inner question in the mind of all the readers of Ponniyinselvan

Raja raja is no devar he is udyar

What a great research. Appreciate your dedication towards solving the mystery.Kudos.

Raja Raja chozhan.. he is a devendra king.... 💪💪💪💪

any one knows the address to go there ?
I have seen some old photos,which is not properly maintained but now this place they have made some maintance, pl tell the address,,,

any one knows the address to go there ?
I have seen some old photos,which is not properly maintained but now this place they have made some maintance, pl tell the address,,,
pl mail at vishnumse15@gmail.com

This comment has been removed by the author.

amazing work and must appreciate your effort. My humble request to you is keep continue do this to unearth the misery behind chola. And I very well know there will be alot other misery you may come across which will be interesting to know. Kindly share in your blog so many ppl may explore and support you. Let me know if you need any help or supporting from me. I am belong to Tiruvarur town.

Hi Need your Contact very Urgent please share contact through pathumicro@gmail.com / 9159177665

May be if we find out the last incription by date then we may have an idea of what he was up to in his last days.

காலம் சென்றும் எம் புகழ் ஆடியவே...

Sir, you have done a great work. I have seen your video too. I am very much interested in Raja Raja Chola and his temple. No one will born again like him. Me too very much interested to know about the death of Raja Raja. I haven't seen the Tanjore palace still. Please find out the true story of his death and publish it soon. I am waiting eagerly. It doesn't matter which community he belongs to. Please find out and prove what happened to the great king.I have searched a lot about his death but no way. Only a few people have the talent or have the chance to find out the truth.From your findings only I came to know that he was pushed from Tanjore temple itself. I heard that he had constructed the temple when he was 25. Now I learn from your findings that he was pushed at the time of construction. I have a doubt that has he met death before the temple's Kumbabhisekam? Who had done the kumbibhisekam for the temple? Was it Rajendra chola? I heard that inside that temple there is a 40 feet way to go the top of the Gopuram. Only kings and his family went there on that way. I asked one of the archagar are there any for the normal people to go the 40 feetgopuram. He said you have to get permission of some politician's letter then you can go there he said. I have a doubt, hadn't the king visited the top through the 40 feet? Had the kumbibsekam done by his son and not by the king? what a tragedy sir? Please find out more truth and about his life and publish it. I want to say 1 more thing. I heard that king Raja Raja was cursed by karuvurar(1 among the 18 siddars).Some said that is the reason for his death.

Gud job ☺ ...even i wld lyk to join in this search 😇😇😇😇

Gud job ☺ ...even i wld lyk to join in this search 😇😇😇😇

Great great great work sir

Great information. Am very interested and impressed.

Your investigative work is very commendable. Hearty congratulations. Recently I visited the site and saw the Lingam . Some one informed us that the King died here in a battle but I do not think that is right.Your analysis that he might have been murdered may be correct. Dr. K. Raghunath , Hyderabad March,13,2017

ivlo pannune manushanode samathiye ipdi thagara sheet pottu vechirukingale tamizh nattu mkkal ku ., ethachum irukka?????

Still the King of Kings's death is mystery. Nowadays so many advanced technologies are available including scanning, carbon dating & etc., to verify the availability of any burial structure / ruins under the earth in that village of Udayalur LINGAM.

The hardest thing is that it happened 1000 years back. However, if we have deep inner wish & search, we can resolve this mystery soon.
Let us strive to achieve it, because he was GREAT KING RAJARAJA CHOLA...

Hai sir...Im from Malaysia...Im also very much interested about ancient South Indian kings especially Raja Raja Solan. My maternal grandfather was from Thanjavur...so that temple town impressed me a lot. I have obtained my OCI Overseas Citizen of India card...so easy to travel frequently to India. Pls keep me posted as well. Vaalga valamudan

My email id: selvaganabathy13@gmail.com

Thanks sir, to give so much info about my Hero, keep it up sir.
Did u read Udayar? There is also another book 'pirkaala chozhar varalaaru' by annamalai university professional, I tried hard, but cannot get it.

hello sir,
im an architecture student doing final year ,i got to know that the great renowned king who ruled chola kingdom RAJARAJA CHOLAN doesnot have proper mauseloem so i decide to takeup my thesis to establish the issue through my thesis and giving proposals to the government.i need more help from you sir .
please ping me - student20sabari@gmail.com

He was devar only. Precisely kallar. They are the ones who contribute 60% of Thanjavur population

Devar is different Devendra is different

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