CHOLA DYNASTY INTRODUCTION
- It was a Tamil dynasty of Southern India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in world history.
- It aroused in the 9th century which brought a large part of the Peninsula under their control.
- With a strong Navy, they conquered Sri Lanka, Maldives and had a strong foreign trade.
- The early periods of the Chola rule saw the onset of the Sangam literature. Kantaman was one of the prominent rulers of this era.
- The medieval period was the era of absolute power and development for the Cholas.
- Later Kulottunga Chola took over Kalinga to establish a strong rule. This magnificence lasted until the arrival of the Pandyas in the early 13th
Some prominent pillars of the Chola Empire:
- He founded the Chola Empire.
- He took over the Tanjore kingdom in the 8th century and led to the rise of the mighty Cholas by defeating the Pallavas. Tanjore was hence made the first capital of the eminent Chola Empire.
- He succeeded Vijayalaya to become the ruler of the empire.
- He defeated king Aprajita and the empire gained massive power under his reign.
- He conquered the Pandya King along with the Vadumbas and establishes control over the Pallavas power in the region.
Rajendra Chola I
- He succeeded his father Rajaraja Chola I.
- He was the first to venture to the bank of Ganges.
- He was popularly called the Victor of the Ganges.
- He instituted a new capital at the banks of Kaveri called Gangaikondacholapuram where he received the title of ‘Gangaikonda’. This period is referred to as the golden age of the Cholas.
- He also undertook a naval expedition against revived Srivijaya Empire of Indo- China.
- After his rule, the kingdom witnessed a widespread downfall.
- The King administered his territories with advice from his Council of Ministers.
- Chola administration:
- Mandalams – provinces
- Valanadu – minor provinces
- Nadu – district
- Kurram – a group of villages
- Royal roads were built and irrigation projects were undertaken.
- A general assembly of the village was called the Mahasabha.
- Gathering of adult men in Brahmana villages which were called Agraharas.
- The system of rule was such that each village acted as a self- governing unit during the era of the Cholas but the King remained the central authority who would make the major decisions and carry out the governance.
- They were great builders of cities (Tanjore, Gangaikondacholapuram), large palaces, spacious gardens, and terraces, etc.
- The Dravidian style of temple architecture attained its climax. The temple had become so elaborate like a mini-city and enjoyed revenue-free grants of land for its expenses.
- Kailasanathar temple in Kanchi, Brihadeeswara temple in Tanjore are some examples of Dravidian architecture.
- Holy Scriptures and the ancient Vedas were taught to students.
- Societal structure at this time was divided amongst Brahmins and Non-Brahmins.
- Several gods and goddesses were worshipped with Shiva being a popular source of strength for the faithful.
- The Srirangam temple stands to be the highlight of this era. It was submerged in water for centuries and was renovated later to its former glory.
- Several sites which include the Brihadeeswara temple and the Airavatesvara temple has been classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
- Sculptures of gods and goddesses have been carved out of bronze and serve as a golden reminder of this period.
- Along with devotional literature, Jain and Buddhist writings also got appreciation and recognition during this phase.
- The popular Nalayira Divya Prabhandham from this period is a compilation of 4000 Tamil verses and is widely savored by literary scholars even to this day.
- Pampa, Ponna, and Ranna are regarded as the three gems of Kannada poetry.
Thus, the Cholas and their reign mark a remarkable period of medieval history that saw a massive cultural spurt along with a growth in civilization and it's meaning. It symbolizes not only a period of rapid advancement but also a magnificent time to look back at and learn from.