The Chola dynasty was one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the history of southern India.
The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Kaveri River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century.
The whole country south of the Tungabhadra was united and held as one state for a period of two centuries and more.Under Rajaraja Chola I and his successors Rajendra Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola, Virarajendra Chola and Kulothunga Chola I the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-East Asia.
The power of the new empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the expedition to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by the naval raids on cities of the maritime empire of Srivijaya, as well as by the repeated embassies to China.The Chola fleet represented the zenith of ancient Indian sea power.
The early Cholas were Poompuhar, Urayur, Tiruvarur.Mediveal Cholas regions were Pazhaiyaarai, Thanjavur,Gangaikonda Cholapuram.The language which were speaked under their rule was Tamil.Hindu religion was followed.Shiva was worshipped deity.
The empire had monarch form of Governance.They pioneered a centralised form of government and established a disciplined bureaucracy. The major ruler of the periods were
• During 848–871 Vijayalaya Chola
• During 1246–1279 Rajendra Chola III
Historical era Middle Ages
• Established 300s BCE
• Rise of the medieval Cholas 848 CE
• Golden Age under Rajaraja Chola 985–1014 CE
• Empire at its greatest extent 1030 CE
• Disestablished 1279 CE
Rajaraja’s majore achievements were :-
conquering Madurai and capturing the Pandyan ruler
invading northern part of Sri Lanka and making it a Chola province
conquering Maldive islands
emerging as a strong naval power by destroying the stongest naval power of the Chera kingdom.
Rajendra I’s majore achievements were :-
conquering several trans-Ganga kingdoms and assuming the title of Gangai Kondachola
founding a new capital called Gangai Kondacholapuram
conquering the whole of Ceylon or Sri Lanka
Indianisation of several lands of the south-East Asia
defeating the kings of Sumatra in a naval campaign and annexing a part of Sumarata kingdom to his kingdom
During the period 1010–1200, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of which is now Sri Lanka and occupied the islands of the Maldives.
Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganges and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala. He also successfully invaded cities of Srivijaya of Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Chola dynasty went into decline at the beginning of the 13th century with the rise of the Pandyan Dynasty, which ultimately caused their downfall.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.
The Cholas left a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in the building of temples has resulted in some great works of Tamil literature and architecture.
The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but also as centres of economic activity.
The Cholas are also known as the Choda.