Rajendra Chola I is one of two greatest Kings of the Chola dynasty which, though one of three ancient dynasties in the Tamil tradition, again rose in the middle of the 9th century and ruled for well neigh three centuries over a large part in South India with their capital at Tanjuvur (modern Tanjore).
The power of the Chola dynasty reached its pinnacle during the reign of Rajendra Chola (1014- 1042) and his father Rajaraja I (985 – 1014). Rajendra Chola was the worthy son and successor of his father. Though he succeeded to the Chola throne in 1014, his regal years are counted from 1012 AD when he was declared heir-apparent.
By his military prowess and administrative skill, Rajendra Chola raised the Chola power to the zenith of glory. Probably in 1017 AD, he conquered the whole of Sri Lanka, the northern part of which was already annexed to the Chola empire during the reign of his father Rajaraja I.
In the next year (1018 AD) Rajendra Chola forced the rulers of Kerala and the Pandyan country to accept the suzerainty of the Cholas. He defeated the Western Chalukya power under Jayasimha II Jagadekamalla (c. 1016-42). Rajendra also came in conflict with the Pala ruler of Bengal, Mahipala I, and he armies spread their victorious wings as far as the Ganges. To commemorate this daring victory, he assumed the title of Gangaikondachola (The Chola conquer of the Ganga) and founded a new capital named after him - Gangaikonda – Cholapuram, identified with modern Gangaikondapuram in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu.
Rajendra Chola possessed a powerful fleet and Is credited with sending a great naval expedition which occupied parts of South East Asia including Myanmar, Malaya and Sumatra. This naval expedition, unique in the annals of Indian history, was undertaken to presumably suppress the piratical activities of the Indonesian rulers, which were an obstacle to the flourishing trade between China and the South India.
Rajendra Chola is known by a variety of titles such as Tyagasamudra, Gangaikonda and Pandita Chola.