Of all the kingdoms of the South in the 10th century A.D. the Imperial Cholas occupy a prominent place. Vijayalaya was the first king of the Imperial Cholas. They had their capital at Tanjore. The most powerful Chola kings were Raja Raja I and his son Rajendra I. Raja Raja ruled from A.D. 985 to A.D 1012. He had conquered the neighboring Pandya kingdoms and extended his conquest up to the Northern part of Ceylon.
Rajdendra I ruled from AD. 1012 A.D. 1044. He had conquered the whole of Ceylon. Then he had sent an expedition to Eastern India. He crossed Orissa and the Godavari River. He had also crossed the Ganges and defeated Mahipala I who ruled Bengal. Therefore he was known as Gangai Konda Cholan. He is also referred to as Kadaram Kondan. It means that he invaded some of the South East Asian countries which include Sumatra and Malaya. The rise of the Pandyan imperialism in the 13th century A.D. ruined the Chola Empire.
The Chola Administration
The Chola administration
served as a model for all the other kingdoms of the South. The king had
a council of ministers. The kingdom was divided into a number of provinces
known as mandalams, The mandalams in turn were divided into valanadu and
nadus. The next administrative sub divisions were kurrams and kottams.
Art and Architecture
The kings as well as the
rich were the patrons of art and architecture. They gave huge donations
of money and land for the building and maintenance of the temples. The
Chola kings built magnificent temples. Raja Raja Chola built the famous
Brahadeeswara temple at Tanjore. It is also known as the big temple. This
temple is built with Sikara style. It consists of 14 successive stores
rising to a height of 190 feet. A massive dome consisting of a single
stone block, weighing about 80 tons, crowns it. Its construction began
some time about AD. 1003 and was completed in A.D 1010.
The best paintings of the Chola period are found in the interior walls of the Sactum Sanctorum of the Tanjore temple.
Education and Literature
There was educational development during the Chola period. Mostly religious literature was learnt. Periyapuranam or Thiruthondapuranam of Sekkizhar belongs to this period. It is known as 12th Thirumurai. Nandi wrote Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam Seevagasindamani written by Thiruthakkadevar also belonged to the Chola period. Kambar wrote the great Kamba Ramayanam. Kalingattupparani was written by Jayangondar.
Thus the Chola period witnessed developments
in local self- government, art, religion and literature.
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