UPSC : Society, Art and Architecture UPSC Notes | EduRev
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Society, Art and Architecture
- The Society was based on varna-Ashramdharma but the different varnas or castes lived peacefully with each other.
- Inter-caste marriages were permitted.
Points To Be Remembered
- Rajaraja himself erected a temple for Vishnu and helped the Sailendra king of Java to construct and endow a Buddhist vihara.
- To commemorate his victories in the Gangetic plains (Bengal, Orissa, and South Kosala), Rajendra Chola assumed the title of Gangaikonda and founded a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
- At the request of the king of Kadaram, in A.D. 1090, Kulottunga exempted the villages granted to the Buddhist viharas at the Nagapattana from the the payment of royal dues.
- The Venetian traveller Marco Polo, who visited Kerala in the thirteenth century, says that all the soldiers in the body-guard burnt themselves in the funeral pyre of the monarch when he died.
- The Cholas had a strong navy which dominated the Malabar and Coromandal coast and for sometime, the entire Bay of Bengal (Chola Lake).
- An interesting record registers the decision of a village corporation that the residents of their village should not do anything against the interests of their village, nor against the local temples and other institutions, that if they did so, they must suffer as the gramadrohins (traitors to the village).
- The corporations possessed absolute authority over the village lands and were generally left undisturbed in the internal management of the villages.
- There were no purdah system and women freely participated in all social and religious functions.
- Sati was not widely practised. The women inherited and owned property in their own right.
- The Devadasi system was also in vogue and there were prostitutes also in cities.
- The caste system was the basis of the social organisation under the Cholas. Each caste was a hereditary occupational group.
- There was considerable proliferation of castes on account of inter-caste marriages.
- The Brahmanas being the learned part of society dominated the society. In appreciation of their service to society villages were given to them free of tax. Such villages were called brahmadeyas or chaturvedi magalams.
- Among the non-Brahmanas, the Vellalas were a powerful caste. They enjoyed certain privileges such as exemption from the payment of local dues.
- The Kamalas were another privileged group. But they were not permitted to perform Vedic rituals.
- The shepherds formed another important section of the community. Merchant group was the another important limb of the society.
- The Paraiyars lived in cheris and had their own separate cremation ground. They occupied a low position in society.
- A new class called the ‘Rathakaras’ emerged in this period. They were born of a high class husband and a low class wife.
- Another important social development during the period was the emergence of the Valangai and the Idangai factions. The Valangai was much
more privilged than the Idangai.
Position of Women
- Women in general were well treated in Chola times. They enjoyed then right to property.
- Sati was not practised generally though some royal women performed it.
- Monogamy was then rule among ordinary people. Polygamy was prevalent among the royal and aristocratic families. Dowry system was unknown. Girls were normally married at the age of twelve.
- Marriages were performed mostly according to Vedic rites.
- Women engaged themselves in music, dancing and drama.
- Some of them who were proficient in these dedicated themselves to the service of the temple. Their main duty was to participate in the daily activities of the temple and in the festivals. They were, therefore, called devaradiyar or talichderi pendir.
- Among noted scholars of this period were Trutakadevara who wrote Jiwanachintamani, Kambana wrote Ramavatrama. His Kamba Ramayana has been regarded as a master-piece of Tamil literature.
- Among other noted Tamil works, Sulamani of Tolamokti, Kalingatuppani of Jayagodar, are important.
- The Buddhist scholar, Buddhamitra, wrote the text named Rasoliyan.
- During the reign of Prantaka I, Venkatamadhava wrote his commentary on Rigveda while Keshavaswamina wrote his scholarly work titled Nanartharanov (Sanskrit).
Art and Architecture
- The Cholas continued and developed the art tradition of the Pallavas and Pandyas.
- The replacement of brick of stone structures went on steadily under the Cholas.
- The chief featurers of Chola temples are their massive vimanas or towers—and spacious courtyards.
- In later Dravidian structures, however, the central towers are dwarfed by richly carved gopurams.
- The best specimens of the Chola art of early period are the temple of Vijayalaya-Choleswara, the Nagesvara temple, the Koranganatha temple and the Muvarakovintha temple.
- The Korangantha temple at Srinivasanllur which was probably, constructed during the reign of Parantak I has been regarded as the best example of the initial phase of the Chola development of the Dravida temple art.
- Rajaraja I constructed the Rajarajasvara temple at Tanjore and the temple of Viruvalisvarama in the Timnaveli district.
- Rajendra Chola also constructed a huge temple of Shiva at his capital of Gangaikon-dacholapuram.
- Rajendra II constructed the temple Airavat-esvara at Dasasuram while Koluttunga III constructed the temple of Kampaharesvara at Tribhuvanam.