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The Cholas



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The Cholas Cholas were the most civilised race of the south. It is believed that this dynasty was founded by Karikala. Chola empire was called Cholamandalam. It included in itself Trichnopoly, Tanjore and some districts of Mysore and Madras (Now Chennai). Kaveripattam was its capital. The real founder of the Chola dynasty of Tanjore was Vijayalaya, a feudatory of the Pallavas. His dynasty rose to its eminence and lasted for more than two centuries.

Official Language Tamil
Capitals Early Cholas:- Poompuhar,Urayur
Medieval Cholas:-Pazhaiyaarai, Thanjavur, Gangaikonda,Cholapuram
Government Monarchy
King Vijayalaya Chola - 848-871
Rajendra Choal III-126-1279

The Chola Temple Then Chola empire reached its zenith during the reigns of Rajaraja (985-1014) and his son, Rajendra I (1014-1041)

Rajaraja's majore achievements were :-

  1. conquering Madurai and capturing the Pandyan ruler
  2. invading northern part of Sri Lanka and making it a Chola province
  3. conquering Maldive islands
  4. emerging as a strong naval power by destroying the stongest naval power of the Chera kingdom.

Rajendra I's majore achievements were :-

  1. conquering several trans-Ganga kingdoms and assuming the title of Gangai Kondachola
  2. founding a new capital called Gangai Kondacholapuram
  3. conquering the whole of Ceylon or Sri Lanka
  4. Indianisation of several lands of the south-East Asia
  5. defeating the kings of Sumatra in a naval campaign and annexing a part of Sumarata kingdom to his kingdom

Kulottunga (1178-1210) was the last greatest Chola emperor. After him, the Chola empire collapsed and its place was taken by the Pandyas and Hoysalas.

Chola Coins
Epithet (Sub-title) of the Chola Rulers
Name of the King Epither
Prantak I Madiraikond
Prantak II Sundarchola
Rajaraja I Martanda Chola
Rajendra I Vijayrajendra
Vikramachola Tagayasamudra
Kulothinga Sangam Tavarta

Chola Administration : Of all the South Indian dynasties, the Cholas have left most detailed information on the working of the administration set up by them. At the head of the state stood the king. He was the pivot round which the machinery of the state moved. During the reigns of Rajaraja I and his son, royal orders could be proclaimed only after these had been confirmed by the chief secretary (Olainayakam) and another highly responsible officer known as the Perundaram. Nagaram was an assembly of merchants. It belonged to localities where merchants and traders were important.

Important Places Associated with Chola Rule
Anuradhapura: The Sri Lankan capital which was destroyed by Rajaraja I
Chidambaram: The place where Chola kings were coronated.
Gangaikondacholapuram: The city which was constructed by Rajendra I after his successful North India campaign.
Mumidcholamandalam: The name of the province which Rajaraja I carved out from the Sri Lankan territories
Nagapattanam: The place where Mahendra V, a Shailendra ruler, constructed a vihara.
Polannaruva: The Sri Lankan city annexed by Rajaraja.
Thanjavur or Tanjore: The Cholan capital where Rajaraja I constructed the Brihadeswara temple
Uttaramerur: The place where two tenth century inscriptions relating to Chola administration have been found.
Vellur:It was the place where Chola king Parantaka I defeated the combined army of the Pandyas and Sri Lanka.

The Chola craftsman excelled in bronze sculptures. The made images by the deities, especially of Nataraja, the dancing Siva, and saints by the cire perdu process.

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