Very little was spoken about Kadava Kopperunjinga, until when an inscription was found dated 1213 A D which speak of this great king. The inscription says he was a strong and aggressive person. He was addressed as a vassal of the Chola kings Kulottunga III and later Rajaraja III. Although Kadava Kopperunjinga did not leave behind a lasting empire of his own, his unbending stance against many other strong powers all around, merits him a special place in Tamil history. As an administrator, he excelled. His loyal and efficient officials and ministers carried out his behest and many irrigation works to help agriculturists were carried on during this time.
Kadava Kopperunjinga was addressed as Kopperunjinga (in Tamil) and Maharaja Simha (in Sanskrit), both meaning 'the lion among great kings'. His contributions to the religious and cultural spheres were many. He was a very religious man and an ardent devotee of Siva. His inscriptions found at Draksharama and Tripurantakam in Andhra Pradesh and at different places in Tamil Nadu speak of his attachment to Siva especially Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. He made many donations for offerings, flower gardens and arrangements for the celebrations of festivals in this temple. One of his inscriptions states that Kopperunjinga built the eastern gopuram of the Chidambaram temple resembling Mount Meru out of the riches got by the conquest of the country of the Kaveri and called the gopuram by his own name. However, it is felt by many scholars that he only added the embellishments of this gopura, which had been constructed during the time of the later Cholas before his reign. His support to various other temples in the Tamil region is clearly seen from his inscriptions.
It is rare to find kings who were great warriors being scholars as well. Kopperunjinga belonged to this category. One of his tides was 'Sahitya Ratnakara' (Ocean of literature) and he was a patron of scholars as well. His support to Tamil language and literature are well attested to by the records of his age. In addition, this multi-faceted king was also a patron of music and the art of dancing. His title 'Bharata malla' testifies to his love of Bharata Natyam. It is possible that it was this ruler who ordered the carvings of the beautiful sculptures on the inner side of the entrance of the eastern gopura of the temple of Nataraja at Chidambaram, which are studied and admired by dancers and connoisseurs of art even today.
(Last Updated on : 02-02-2009)