Chola Dynasty

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  • Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty of southern India
  • They are one of the longest-ruling dynasty in history.
  • The earliest references of the Chola dynasty can be traced from Sangam Age.
  • Heartland of the Chola kingdom was the valley of Kaveri River.

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chola dynasty chola dynasty map
Chola Dynasty Map

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Chola Dynasty Kings

Vijayalaya Chola (848–871)

  • Vijayalaya is the founder of Chola Dynasty.
  • Vijayalaya capture Tanjore from Muttarayar, an ally of the Pandyas, around 850 AD.
  • He founded the temple of Nishumbhasudini (Durga) in Tanjore.
  • They were feudatories of the Pallavas.

 

Aditya Chola (891–907)

  • He was responsible for murdering his Pallava overlord Aparajita, after defeating him in a battle and occupying the entire Tondaimandalam.
  • Aditya conquered the Kongu country as well.
  • He is said to have built Siva temples on both banks of the Kaveri river.

 

Parantaka I (907–950)

  • At the start of his reign, Parantaka I invaded the Pandya territory.
  • Parantaka I assumed title of ‘Maduraikonda’ (Conqueror of Madurai)
  • Uttaramerur inscription tells about his region
  • Krishna Ill, one of the greatest Rashtrakuta rulers, defeated Parantaka in the famous battle of Takkolam (near Arkonam) in 949 AD.

 

Rajaraja Chola I (985–1014)

  • The real greatness of the Chola kingdom began with Rajaraja Chola I.
  • Rajaraja Chola I defeated a confederation of the three kingdoms of Pandya, Kerala and Ceylon
  • He destructed the Anuradhapura after defeating north Ceylon.
  • Rajaraja Chola I also annexed the Maldives probably for securing the trade routes of the Indian Ocean.
  • He built Famous Rajeshwara / Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjore (Dravida Style) in 1010 AD.
  • Rajaraja Chola I encouraged Sailendra ruler of Sri Vijaya (South-EastAsia), to build a Buddhist vihara at Nagapattinam. The vihara was called ‘ChudamaniVihara’

 

Rajendra Chola I (1012–1044)

  • Rajendra Chola defeated southern Srilanka & annexed whole Srilanka.
  • He moved to north & Captured till Bengal defeating Mahipala I.
  • Rajendra Chola assumed title of Gangaikonda chola.
  • He conquered Malay Peninsula & converted Bay of Bengal to Chola lake for trading purposes with China.
  • He founded new capital of Chola dynasty Gangaikondacholapuram at Kaveri valley.
  • Rajendra Chola also built famous Gangaikondachola Temple (Dravida style) in the new capital of Chola dynasty.
  • In 1025 Rajendra Chola sent expedition to Sumatra and Malaya and defeated ruler of Sri Vijaya empire.
  • In 1015 and 1033 Rajendra Chola I had sent diplomatic missions to China.

 

Rajadhiraia (1044–1054)

  • He suppressed rebellions in Pandya, Kerala and Ceylon kingdoms.
  • Rajadhiraja performed the virabhisheka (coronation of the victory there and assumed the title of ‘Vijayarajendra.

 

Kulottunga I (1070–1120)

  • Kulottunga I is the son of Rajaraja Narendra of Vengi and Chola princess Ammangadevi.
  • He united the Vengi kingdom with the Chola kingdom.
  • Kulottunga I sent a large embassy of 72 merchants to China.
  • Suryavarman Il, the builder of Angkor Vat, sent a precious jewel to Kulottunga who then donated it to the temple of Chidambaramin 1114 AD.
  • Last Chola dynasty king was Rajendra Chola III (1246–1279).

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Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjore
Brihadeshwara Temple, Tanjore

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Chola Administration

  • Chola Kingdom was divided into Mandalams or provinces.
  • Mandalams were further divided into Town and Villages.
  • Autonomous administration for towns and townships, known as tankurrams.
  • Town autonomy was quite similar to village autonomy and both were administered by assemblies.
  • In the sabha, membership was restricted to the Brahmins of the village, or was found exclusively in a village gifted to Brahmins.
  • The nagaram was found more commonly in trade centres such as cities and towns.

 

 

Public Works in Chola Kingdom

  • Extensive irrigation works, roads and cities were made in the time of Chola dynasty.
  • They made artificial lake (16 miles in length) near Gangaikonda Cholapuram, and constructed dams across the Kaveri river for irrigation purposes.

 

 

Trade & Diplomacy of Chola Dynasty

  • Merchants, who operating locally was called swadesi and called nanadesi, who operated internationally.
  • The merchants had their own settlements (nagara) with autonomous institutions of local government.
  • The great ports (pattinam) also had their guilds and autonomous institutions.
  • They financed local development projects, construction of temples, lent money to the Chola kings.
  • Among the most powerful guilds were the Ayyavole and the Manigramam.
  • Ayyavole extended to West Asia, while the Manigramam concentrated on trade with South-East Asia.

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