Rajagandagopala alias Ranganatha was the successor of Manmagandagopala to whom his relationship is not known. Several of his records dated in his own regnal years are found all over his kingdom. In his earliest record dated in his 2nd regnal year from Tirruvottur registering an order of hiss„ he is mentioned as M.P.C. The next record is from Tiruppalaivanam dated in the 5th year of Tribhuvana chakravarti Rajagandagopladeva recording a grant by a person of Virudaraja bhayankaranallur in Kakkuluranadu a sub-division of Ikkattukottam in Jayangonda chol a mandalam. The 5th year corresponds to A.D. 1295. In A.D. 1296 and the 6th year of Vijayagandagopala M.P.C. Ranganathan alias Rajagandagopala granted Alangadu in Mundainadu the god at Nellore. The next record is dated A.D. 1299 and the 9th year of M P.C. the glorious Ranganathan alias Rajagandagopaladevan of Nellore alias Vikramasingapura in Chadikalamanikkavalanadu, in Jayangondacholamandalam. In the next record also from Nellore dated A.D. 1302 Plavanga and the 12th year of M.P.C. Ranganatha alias Rajagandagopala deva, Nellore is said to have been located in Padainadu in Chodikula manikka Yalanadu in Jayangondachola mandalam. The Viranna Kanupur epigraph of A.D. 1300 and the 9th year of Rajagandagopaladeva, records a grant by M.P.C. Rajagandagopaladeva, at Nellore in Pedainadu in Jayakulamanikkavalanadu in Jayangondachola mandalam. In A.D. 1309 while Ranganatha was ruling the earth, king Tiruvegalanatha granted Katrayapadu renamed as Tiruvengadanatha chaturveididangam, to Brahmins. Here Ranganatha is evidently M.P,C. Rajagandagopala, The next inscriptionis from Conjeevaram dated A.D. 1310 and the 25th year of M.P.C. Rajagandagopala. Here either of the dates is wrong for A.D. 1310 is Rajagandagopala’s 20th year and 25th year corresponds to A.D. 1315. The Tiruvorriyur inscription of the 21st year (A.D. 1311) records an order of M.P.C. The next record is from Nellore dated A.D. 1315 and the 25th year of Tribhuvanachakravarti Rajagandagopaladeva M.P.C. Another record of the 25th year from Conjeevaram records an order of M.P.C. the record is from Attur is dated in the 26th year of M.P.C. The next record is from Conjeevaram, dated A D 1316 expired, recording that in Prataparudra’s reign, general Muppidinayaka came to Kanchi, installed Manavira as governor and granted two villages worth Gandagorpalamadai to the deity. Earlier in the 21st year at Little Conjeevaram, M.P.C. ordered the grant of Tukankudal in Virvelurnadu the district of Urrukkattu kottam for Rajagandagopalasandi. The record from Padi (Tiruvalidayam) in the 23rd or 33rd year of M.P.C. records the grant of a village. The record from Vayalaikkavalur is dated in the 29th year of Gandagopala.
There are some undated records of the reign at Conjeevaram, Tirruvallur, Tenneri, Ramagiri, in which the king is mentioned as M.P.C. or P.C. Three Pandyan records at Tirumalaiganda Kottai—two dated in the 8th year of Tribhuvana chakravarti Parakrama Pandya and Koneri maikondan mention Tiruvadaiyan Devapiran alias Rajagandagopala of Maniayur. A record at Little Conjeevaram mentions an order of M.P.C. granting Attuputtur in Nirvelurnadu in Urrukkottu Kottam for Rajagandagopalasandi. A record at Kalahasti refers to the transactions of the 7th year of Rajagandagopaladeva Rajagandagopala figures as the signatory in the order of M.P.C. of the 21st year. A record from Kovur (Duvur taluq), of cyclic year Vijaya mentions Rajagandagopala. The Mallam record is dated in the 11th year of Rajagandagopala corresponding to A.D. 1301 or 1302. The record from Little Conjeevaram quoting the 8th year of Rajaraja III mentions the grant of Tirdurai in Amarurnadu in Pulalkottam by Rajagandagopala. The last record of the reign is from Tiruppalaivanam dated in the 35th year of Tribhuvanachakravarti Rajagandagopaladeva.
His Political Relations
Like his predecessors from Allutikka onwards, except Manmasiddha III, Rajagandagopala issued records dated in his own regnal years, which range from his 2nd to the 35th year. As the records of his predecessor Manmagandagopala are found till A.D. 1299 and the 9th year of Rajagandagopala, probably the latter ruled conjointly with the former till that year. We may note here that Viragandagopala whose relationshis to Rafagandagopala or Manmagandagopala is not known, was issuing records almost simultaneously with Rajagandagopala from A.D. 1262 onwards.
By the time of the assumption of independence by Rajagandagopala, the Chola empire was a thing of the past though its influence is well attested by Rajagandagopala’s records mentioning several Chola topographical names. He boldly assumed the title Tribhuvana chakravarti and it is suggested that “it looks as if he took the place of the cholas and was a rival of Rudra and Prataparudra.”
Rajagandagopala and the Kakatiyas
The Kakatiya contemporary of Rajagandagopala was Prataparudra the last of the last of line, who extended his power far and wide especially in the southern direction into the interior of the Pandyan kingdom by sending expeditions of conquest under the lead of great generals. His records are found as for as Jambukesvaram, and he took Kanchi from Ravivarman.
Rajagandagopala, unlike Manumagandagopala did not owe allegiance to the Kakatiyas, and so came into conflict with them. The expedition of Muppidinayaka, the Kakatiya general into the south by A.D. 1316 was a success as evidenced by the many records of Prataparudra in the south. Muppi-dmayaka drove Kerala Ravivarman from Kanchi and installed Manavira, obviously a member of Telugu chola family as Governor there Manavira remained in that position for some years and is probably identical with Manavijaya whose signature is found at the end of the two records from Tiru-varriyur and Aittle Conjeevaram dated in the 2nd and the 7th regnal years. The former records the remission of taxes on shepherds for the maintanance of a lamp in the temple and the latter registers gifts to the temples, both by the orders of M.P.C. A record of Prataparudra is at Tiruppalaivanam. At the time of Muppisdinayaka’s inscription at Conjeevaram of A.D. 1316, the standard coin there was Gandagopalamudai issued M.
At Nellore is a Kakatiya epigraph dated A.D. 1315. The Kakatiya campaign, began first with the attack of the southern portion of the Nellore district. Paddrudra, son of Muppidinayaka, and the general in charge of the expedition, declares that he frightened Sriranganatha and scared him away from the battlefield. Sriranganatha is no doubt Ranganatha alias Rajagandagopala and he offered battle to the Kakatiyas when they moved southwards, suffered a reverse and submitted to to the enemy. And the Kakatiyas probably annexed the southern portion of Nellore district in or before Muppidi’s capture of Conjeevaram the next year and perhaps that ended the Kakatiya campaign. So from A.D. 1315 till the end of his reign Rajagandagopala must have recognised Kakatiya suzerainty and their governor Manavira or Manavijaya at Kanchi. Incidentally it may be noted here, that Manavira’s identification with Manmasiddha Gandagopala III is incorrect.
Rajagandagopala and the Pandyas
Rajagandagopala came into conflict with the Pandyas—Vira, Vikrama, Sundara, and Parakrama. When Prataparudra was preoccupied with Muslim invasions, the Pandyas invaded Kanchi and took it driving Manavira, the Kakatiya governor from there. This was followed by the Kakatiya expedition into the south led by Muppidinayaka and Recharla Erradacha. Erradacha met the Pandyas in the vicinity of Kanchi, and vanquished them in the battle that ensued, presented the booty including a huge emerald and golden throne to Prataparudra, who conferred on him the titles—Panchapandyadalivibhala, and Kanchikavatachurakara. In the war with the Pandyas, the Telugu cholas, Rajagandagopala, Manavira must have distinguished themselves. Erradacha’s Pandyan victories are mentioned in Singabhupaliya and a verse in Telugu. In the latter, he is mentioned as Pandyarajagajakesari Consequent on the victory, Kanchi came under the Telugu Cholas once again. A record in A.D. 1319 Manavira was reinstated as Governor of Kanchi by Muppidinayaka. A record of Prataparudra is in the Jambakesvara temple at Trichinopoly. It must be noted that there were no two expeditions into the south in the reign of Prataparudra, as has been wrongly supposed by some.
Rajagandagopala and the Kings
Tiruvangadanatha mahipala also known as king Vengadesa known from two records at Katravayapadu with date A.D. 1209 was a feudatory of Rajagandagopala. His descent is not known.
Rajagandagopala has been confused with Manumagandagopala and the latter with Manavira or Manavijaya. At the end of some records, instead of appending his usual signature Rajagandagopala called himself a devotee of Arulalanatha or Allalanatha. Manavijaya is taken to have been another name of Rajagandagopala in the statement “in a Tiruvorriyur inscription he signs his name as Manavijaya.” which has no basis. We may note that Rajagandagopala is different from his namesake, who was a feudatory of Rajaraja III and also from Rajagandagopalan of Manaiyur figuring in the three Pandyan records at Tirumalgandamkottai. Besides, his identification with Manmasiddha is wrong.
On the whole, the Telugu chola kingdom, which experienced a Pandyan and Kakatiya expedition in this period was slowly disintegrating. Rajagandagopala does not seem to have come into conflict with the local powers in Vengi, He owed allegiance in the beginning of his reign to Vijayagandagopala of the Telugu pallavas in whose 6th yeat one of his records is dated.