Conquests of Karikala Chola
According to Porunaraatruppadai he fought a great battle at Venni near Thanjavur in which the Pandya and Chera suffered a defeat. The battle of Venni decided his strength thereby establishing him firmly on the throne.
Karikala defeated the union of nine minor chieftains in the battle of Vakaipparandalai. This incident has been mentioned by Paranar, a contemporary of Karikala, in his poem Agananuru. Karikala was one of the few Tamil kings who won whole of Lanka. After his conquer over Singalese kingdom his kallanai was built. There is no evidence to prove that his conquests extended beyond the land of the Kaveri.
Legends of Karikala Chola
Karikala was the subject of many myths which in modern times have been accepted as history. Cilappatikaram has a wonderful account of the northern expeditions of Karikala, which took him as far north as the Himalaya Mountains. Kings of Vajra, Magadhaand Avanti accepted his alliance.
The Chola kings of the later age referred to Karikala Chola as a great ancestor. According to them it is he who had built the dikes along the banks of the Kaveri River. This has been mentioned by the Melapadu plates of Punyakumara, a Telugu Chola king of the seventh or the eighth century C.E.
The Grand Anicut also known as the Kallanai, was built by Karikala and is considered as one of the oldest water regulator structures in the world which is use even today. It is a huge dam that is built across the main stream of the Kaveri. Its aim was to divert the waters of the Kaveri across the fertile Delta region for irrigation through canals.
According to Pattinappaalai Karikala is an able and honest king. Karikala promoted agriculture and added to the wealth of his Kingdom by recovery and settlement of forest land. He also built the Grand Anicut which is one of the oldest dams in the world and also a number of irrigation canals and tanks.
As per Naccinarkiniyar, the annotator of Tolkappiyam, Karikala married a Velir girl from Nangur. According to Purananuru, Karikala was a Shaivite. It is believed that Perur Patteeswara Swamy was built by King Karikala Chola. It is situated near river Noyyal. Lord Shivais the presiding deity.