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1. RISE OF THE CHOLA EMPIRE
(i) Arose in 9th century. Developed large navy and conquered SL and Maldives. Climax in South Indian history.
(ii) Founder = Vijayalaya, a feudatory of Pallavas. Captured Tanjore in 850. Pandyas and Pallavas defeated by 9th cent. And Tamil land brought under control.
2. AGE OF RAJARAJA & RAJENDRA I
(i) Rajaraja spread kingdom EVERYWHERE. Quilon, Madurai, parts of SL, Maldives, NW parts of Ganga region in K'taka and Vengi.
(ii) Built many temples to commemorate victories. Famous = Rajarajeshwara temple @ Tanjore completed in 1010. Long victory narratives inscribed on walls of the temples.
Rajendra I (1014-1044)
(i) Rajendra continued annexation: SL, Pandya and Chera countries totally overrun.
(ii) Exploits of Rajendra I: Marched across Kalinga, crossed Ganga and captured two kings = assumed title Gangaikondachola and founded a city Gangaikondacholapuram on mouths I of Kaveri. Captured Kadaram and parts of Malay peninsula by mounting an expedition on I revived Sri Vijaya empire. Both had cordial relations but Cholas wanted to remove I barriers to trade with Chinese and also increase trade.
(i) Fought constantly with Chalukyas (not of Badami, but of Kalyani) over Vengi (Rayalseema), Tungabhadra doab and NW Karnataka. Destroyed Pandya cities and SL I capital Anuradhapur.
(ii) However, once conquered, Cholas set up sound administration in these cities. Stressed on local self-government.
(iii) The place of Cholas was taken by Pandyas & the Hoyasalas in the south
(iv) The later Chalukyas replaced by the Yadavas and Kakatiyas.
(v) Infighting amongst each other weakened them and ultimately they were destroyed by the Sultans of Delhi.
3. CHOLA GOVERNMENT
(i) The king was the most important person in the administration. All decisions taken in by the king but advised by the council of ministers.
(ii) Mandalams (provinces) → valanadu → Nadu
(iii) Built royal road for travel and movement of army.
(iv) Built wells for irrigation.
(v) Officers did elaborate surveys to fix land revenue.
(vi) In villages, ur = general assembly.
(vii) Sabha or mahasabha = committee of adult men in Brahmana villages (agraharas). These villages enjoyed a lot of autonomy and members had to retire every three years.Mahasabha could settle new lands, adjudicate disputes, raise loans and levy taxes.
4. CULTURAL LIFE
(i) Kings maintained large palaces and built huge monuments.
(ii) Temple architecture attained climax under cholas. Called "Dravida" style because it was confined to south india. Main features = multi-storeyed chief-deity room (garbhagriha) in the Vimana style. Pillared hall = mandap placed in front of garbhagriha and served as audience hall and place for cultural activities like dances performed by devdasis = women dedicated to service of gods. Pradakshinapath (path encircling the grbhagriha) was sometimes built. Entire structure surrounded by lofty walls pierced by tall gates = gopurams. With passage of time, vimanas grew higher and gopurams grew more elaborate, thus making the temple a miniature city. Examples = Kailasnath temple at Kanchipuram (8th century), Brihadeswara temple (Rajaraja temple) @Tanjore by Rajaraja I and Rajarajeshwara temple @Tanjore.
(iii) Temple building continued under Chalukyas and Hoysalas. Hoysalesvara temple @Halebid = example of chalukyan style. Sculptured panels show dance, music, scenes of war etc. In addition to images of gods and goddesses and men and women (yaksha and yakshini).
(iv) Sculptures: Giant statue of Gomateswar at Sravan Belgola. Several Nataraja masterpieces also made.
Local language literature saw growth.
(i) Nayanars and Alvars composed works in Tamil. Sanskrit regarded language of high culture. Writings of Nayanars and Alvars compiled = Tirumurais = fifth Vedas - 12th I century.
(ii) Age of Kamban = golden age of Tamil literature.
(iii) Kannada literature also grew. Rashtrakuta, Chalukya and Hoysala rulers patronized Kannada and Telugu. Jain scholars Pampa, Ponna and Ranna = 3 gems of Kannada poetry. Also wrote on themes of Ramayan and Mahabharat.