TN History Textbook: Imperial Cholas Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

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 Page 1


141
After the decline of the Sangam period, the Cholas became
feudatories in Uraiyur. They became prominent in the ninth century
and established an empire comprising the major portion of South
India. Their capital was Tanjore. They also extended their sway in
Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula. Therefore, they are called as
the Imperial Cholas. Thousands of inscriptions found in the temples
provide detailed information regarding the administration, society,
economy and culture of the Chola period.
The founder of the Imperial Chola line was Vijayalaya. He
captured Tanjore from Muttaraiyars in 815 A.D. and built a temple
for Durga. His son Aditya put an end to the Pallava kingdom by
defeating Aparajita and annexed Tondaimandalam. Parantaka I was
one of the important early Chola rulers. He defeated the Pandyas
and the ruler of Ceylon. But he suffered a defeat at the hands of the
Rashtrakutas in the famous battle of Takkolam. Parantaka I was a
great builder of temples. He also provided the vimana of the famous
LESSON 13
IMPERIAL CHOLAS
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of early Cholas.
2. Military conquests and other achievements of Rajaraja I.
3. Campaigns of Rajendra I and his accomplishments.
4. Salient features of the Chola administration.
5. Literature, Art and architecture of the Cholas.
Page 2


141
After the decline of the Sangam period, the Cholas became
feudatories in Uraiyur. They became prominent in the ninth century
and established an empire comprising the major portion of South
India. Their capital was Tanjore. They also extended their sway in
Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula. Therefore, they are called as
the Imperial Cholas. Thousands of inscriptions found in the temples
provide detailed information regarding the administration, society,
economy and culture of the Chola period.
The founder of the Imperial Chola line was Vijayalaya. He
captured Tanjore from Muttaraiyars in 815 A.D. and built a temple
for Durga. His son Aditya put an end to the Pallava kingdom by
defeating Aparajita and annexed Tondaimandalam. Parantaka I was
one of the important early Chola rulers. He defeated the Pandyas
and the ruler of Ceylon. But he suffered a defeat at the hands of the
Rashtrakutas in the famous battle of Takkolam. Parantaka I was a
great builder of temples. He also provided the vimana of the famous
LESSON 13
IMPERIAL CHOLAS
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of early Cholas.
2. Military conquests and other achievements of Rajaraja I.
3. Campaigns of Rajendra I and his accomplishments.
4. Salient features of the Chola administration.
5. Literature, Art and architecture of the Cholas.
143 142
7. Rajaraja’s last military achievement was a naval expedition
against the Maldive Islands which were conquered.
By these conquests, the extent of the Chola empire under
Rajaraja I included the Pandya, Chera and the Tondaimandalam
regions of Tamil Nadu and the Gangavadi, Nolambapadi and the
Telugu Choda territories in the Deccan and the northern part of
Ceylon and the Maldive Islands beyond India. Rajaraja assumed a
number of titles like Mummidi Chola, Jayankonda and
Sivapadasekara. He was a devout follower of Saivism. He
completed the construction of the famous Rajarajeswara temple or
Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore in 1010 A.D. He also helped in
the construction of a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam.
Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)
Rajendra had demonstrated his military ability by participating
in his father’s campaigns. He continued his father’s policy of
aggressive conquests and expansion. His important wars were:
1. Mahinda V, the king of Sri Lanka attempted to recover from
the Cholas the northern part of Ceylon. Rajendra defeated
him and seized the southern Sri Lanka. Thus the whole of Sri
Lanka was made part of the Chola Empire.
2. He reasserted the Chola authority over the Chera and Pandya
countries.
3. He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and
the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary bet-
ween the Cholas and Chalukyas.
4. His most famous military enterprise was his expedition to north
India. The Chola army crossed the Ganges by defeating a
number of rulers on its way. Rajendra defeated Mahipala I of
Bengal. To commemorate this successful north-Indian
Nataraja temple at Chidambaram with a golden roof. The two famous
Uttiramerur inscriptions that give a detailed account of the village
administration under the Cholas belong to his reign. After a gap of
thirty years, the Cholas regained their supremacy under Rajaraja I.
Rajaraja I (985 – 1014 A.D.)
It was under Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra
I that the Chola power reached its highest point of
glory. His military conquests were:
1. The defeat of the Chera ruler
Bhaskararavivarman in the naval battle of
Kandalursalai and the destruction of the
Chera navy.
2. The defeat of the Pandya ruler, Amarabhujanga and
establishment of Chola authority in the Pandya country.
3. The conquest of Gangavadi, Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi
located in the Mysore region.
4. The invasion of Sri Lanka which was entrusted to his son
Rajendra I. As the Sri Lankan king Mahinda V fled away
from his country, the Cholas annexed the northern Sri Lanka.
The capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polanaruva
where a Shiva temple was built
5. The Chola victory over the growing power of the Western
Chalukyas of Kalyani. Satyasraya was defeated and Rajaraja
I captured the Raichur Doab, Banavasi and other places.
Hence the Chola power extended up to the river Tungabadhra.
6. The restoration of Vengi throne to its rulers Saktivarman and
Vimaladitya by defeating the Telugu Chodas. Rajaraja gave
his daughter Kundavai in marriage to Vimaladitya.
STATUTE OF 
RAJARAJA 
Page 3


141
After the decline of the Sangam period, the Cholas became
feudatories in Uraiyur. They became prominent in the ninth century
and established an empire comprising the major portion of South
India. Their capital was Tanjore. They also extended their sway in
Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula. Therefore, they are called as
the Imperial Cholas. Thousands of inscriptions found in the temples
provide detailed information regarding the administration, society,
economy and culture of the Chola period.
The founder of the Imperial Chola line was Vijayalaya. He
captured Tanjore from Muttaraiyars in 815 A.D. and built a temple
for Durga. His son Aditya put an end to the Pallava kingdom by
defeating Aparajita and annexed Tondaimandalam. Parantaka I was
one of the important early Chola rulers. He defeated the Pandyas
and the ruler of Ceylon. But he suffered a defeat at the hands of the
Rashtrakutas in the famous battle of Takkolam. Parantaka I was a
great builder of temples. He also provided the vimana of the famous
LESSON 13
IMPERIAL CHOLAS
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of early Cholas.
2. Military conquests and other achievements of Rajaraja I.
3. Campaigns of Rajendra I and his accomplishments.
4. Salient features of the Chola administration.
5. Literature, Art and architecture of the Cholas.
143 142
7. Rajaraja’s last military achievement was a naval expedition
against the Maldive Islands which were conquered.
By these conquests, the extent of the Chola empire under
Rajaraja I included the Pandya, Chera and the Tondaimandalam
regions of Tamil Nadu and the Gangavadi, Nolambapadi and the
Telugu Choda territories in the Deccan and the northern part of
Ceylon and the Maldive Islands beyond India. Rajaraja assumed a
number of titles like Mummidi Chola, Jayankonda and
Sivapadasekara. He was a devout follower of Saivism. He
completed the construction of the famous Rajarajeswara temple or
Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore in 1010 A.D. He also helped in
the construction of a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam.
Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)
Rajendra had demonstrated his military ability by participating
in his father’s campaigns. He continued his father’s policy of
aggressive conquests and expansion. His important wars were:
1. Mahinda V, the king of Sri Lanka attempted to recover from
the Cholas the northern part of Ceylon. Rajendra defeated
him and seized the southern Sri Lanka. Thus the whole of Sri
Lanka was made part of the Chola Empire.
2. He reasserted the Chola authority over the Chera and Pandya
countries.
3. He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and
the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary bet-
ween the Cholas and Chalukyas.
4. His most famous military enterprise was his expedition to north
India. The Chola army crossed the Ganges by defeating a
number of rulers on its way. Rajendra defeated Mahipala I of
Bengal. To commemorate this successful north-Indian
Nataraja temple at Chidambaram with a golden roof. The two famous
Uttiramerur inscriptions that give a detailed account of the village
administration under the Cholas belong to his reign. After a gap of
thirty years, the Cholas regained their supremacy under Rajaraja I.
Rajaraja I (985 – 1014 A.D.)
It was under Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra
I that the Chola power reached its highest point of
glory. His military conquests were:
1. The defeat of the Chera ruler
Bhaskararavivarman in the naval battle of
Kandalursalai and the destruction of the
Chera navy.
2. The defeat of the Pandya ruler, Amarabhujanga and
establishment of Chola authority in the Pandya country.
3. The conquest of Gangavadi, Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi
located in the Mysore region.
4. The invasion of Sri Lanka which was entrusted to his son
Rajendra I. As the Sri Lankan king Mahinda V fled away
from his country, the Cholas annexed the northern Sri Lanka.
The capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polanaruva
where a Shiva temple was built
5. The Chola victory over the growing power of the Western
Chalukyas of Kalyani. Satyasraya was defeated and Rajaraja
I captured the Raichur Doab, Banavasi and other places.
Hence the Chola power extended up to the river Tungabadhra.
6. The restoration of Vengi throne to its rulers Saktivarman and
Vimaladitya by defeating the Telugu Chodas. Rajaraja gave
his daughter Kundavai in marriage to Vimaladitya.
STATUTE OF 
RAJARAJA 
145 144
campaign Rajendra founded the city of
Gangaikondacholapuram and constructed the famous
Rajesvaram temple in that city. He also excavated a large
irrigation tank called Cholagangam on the western side of the
city.
5. Another famous venture of Rajendra was his naval expedition
to Kadaram or Sri Vijaya. It is difficult to pin point the real
object of the expedition. Whatever its objects were, the naval
expedition was a complete success. A number of places were
occupied by Chola forces. But it was only temporary and no
permanent annexation of these places was contemplated. He
assumed the title Kadaramkondan.
6. Rajendra I had put down all rebellions and kept his empire in
tact.
At the death of Rajendra I the extent of the Chola Empire
was at its peak. The river Tungabadhra was the northern boundary.
The Pandya, Kerala and Mysore regions and also Sri Lanka formed
part of the empire. He gave his daughter Ammangadevi to the Vengi
Chalukya prince and further continued the matrimonial alliance
initiated by his father. Rajendra I assumed a number of titles, the
most famous being Mudikondan, Gangaikondan, Kadaram Kondan
and Pandita Cholan. Like his father he was also a devout Saiva and
built a temple for that god at the new capital Gangaikondacholapuram.
He made liberal endowments to this temple and to the Lord Nataraja
temple at Chidambaram. He was also tolerant towards the V aishnava
and Buddhist sects.
After Rajendra I, the greatness of the Chola power was
preserved by rulers like Kulottunga I and Kulottunga III. Kulottunga
I was the grandson of Rajendra I through his daughter Ammangadevi.
He succeeded the Chola throne and thus united the Vengi kingdom
with the Chola Empire. During his reign Sri Lanka became
Bay of Bengal
Indian Ocean
Aribian Sea
Korki
Madurai
Uraiyur
Thanjavur
Gangaikondacholapuram
Utiramerur
Kanchi
Takkolam
Nellore
Rajahmundry
Sakkarakkottam
Kalyani
Yadavas
W. Chalukyas
Malkhed
Kakatiyas
Kadanbas
Bavanasi
Gangavadi
Cholas
Page 4


141
After the decline of the Sangam period, the Cholas became
feudatories in Uraiyur. They became prominent in the ninth century
and established an empire comprising the major portion of South
India. Their capital was Tanjore. They also extended their sway in
Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula. Therefore, they are called as
the Imperial Cholas. Thousands of inscriptions found in the temples
provide detailed information regarding the administration, society,
economy and culture of the Chola period.
The founder of the Imperial Chola line was Vijayalaya. He
captured Tanjore from Muttaraiyars in 815 A.D. and built a temple
for Durga. His son Aditya put an end to the Pallava kingdom by
defeating Aparajita and annexed Tondaimandalam. Parantaka I was
one of the important early Chola rulers. He defeated the Pandyas
and the ruler of Ceylon. But he suffered a defeat at the hands of the
Rashtrakutas in the famous battle of Takkolam. Parantaka I was a
great builder of temples. He also provided the vimana of the famous
LESSON 13
IMPERIAL CHOLAS
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of early Cholas.
2. Military conquests and other achievements of Rajaraja I.
3. Campaigns of Rajendra I and his accomplishments.
4. Salient features of the Chola administration.
5. Literature, Art and architecture of the Cholas.
143 142
7. Rajaraja’s last military achievement was a naval expedition
against the Maldive Islands which were conquered.
By these conquests, the extent of the Chola empire under
Rajaraja I included the Pandya, Chera and the Tondaimandalam
regions of Tamil Nadu and the Gangavadi, Nolambapadi and the
Telugu Choda territories in the Deccan and the northern part of
Ceylon and the Maldive Islands beyond India. Rajaraja assumed a
number of titles like Mummidi Chola, Jayankonda and
Sivapadasekara. He was a devout follower of Saivism. He
completed the construction of the famous Rajarajeswara temple or
Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore in 1010 A.D. He also helped in
the construction of a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam.
Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)
Rajendra had demonstrated his military ability by participating
in his father’s campaigns. He continued his father’s policy of
aggressive conquests and expansion. His important wars were:
1. Mahinda V, the king of Sri Lanka attempted to recover from
the Cholas the northern part of Ceylon. Rajendra defeated
him and seized the southern Sri Lanka. Thus the whole of Sri
Lanka was made part of the Chola Empire.
2. He reasserted the Chola authority over the Chera and Pandya
countries.
3. He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and
the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary bet-
ween the Cholas and Chalukyas.
4. His most famous military enterprise was his expedition to north
India. The Chola army crossed the Ganges by defeating a
number of rulers on its way. Rajendra defeated Mahipala I of
Bengal. To commemorate this successful north-Indian
Nataraja temple at Chidambaram with a golden roof. The two famous
Uttiramerur inscriptions that give a detailed account of the village
administration under the Cholas belong to his reign. After a gap of
thirty years, the Cholas regained their supremacy under Rajaraja I.
Rajaraja I (985 – 1014 A.D.)
It was under Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra
I that the Chola power reached its highest point of
glory. His military conquests were:
1. The defeat of the Chera ruler
Bhaskararavivarman in the naval battle of
Kandalursalai and the destruction of the
Chera navy.
2. The defeat of the Pandya ruler, Amarabhujanga and
establishment of Chola authority in the Pandya country.
3. The conquest of Gangavadi, Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi
located in the Mysore region.
4. The invasion of Sri Lanka which was entrusted to his son
Rajendra I. As the Sri Lankan king Mahinda V fled away
from his country, the Cholas annexed the northern Sri Lanka.
The capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polanaruva
where a Shiva temple was built
5. The Chola victory over the growing power of the Western
Chalukyas of Kalyani. Satyasraya was defeated and Rajaraja
I captured the Raichur Doab, Banavasi and other places.
Hence the Chola power extended up to the river Tungabadhra.
6. The restoration of Vengi throne to its rulers Saktivarman and
Vimaladitya by defeating the Telugu Chodas. Rajaraja gave
his daughter Kundavai in marriage to Vimaladitya.
STATUTE OF 
RAJARAJA 
145 144
campaign Rajendra founded the city of
Gangaikondacholapuram and constructed the famous
Rajesvaram temple in that city. He also excavated a large
irrigation tank called Cholagangam on the western side of the
city.
5. Another famous venture of Rajendra was his naval expedition
to Kadaram or Sri Vijaya. It is difficult to pin point the real
object of the expedition. Whatever its objects were, the naval
expedition was a complete success. A number of places were
occupied by Chola forces. But it was only temporary and no
permanent annexation of these places was contemplated. He
assumed the title Kadaramkondan.
6. Rajendra I had put down all rebellions and kept his empire in
tact.
At the death of Rajendra I the extent of the Chola Empire
was at its peak. The river Tungabadhra was the northern boundary.
The Pandya, Kerala and Mysore regions and also Sri Lanka formed
part of the empire. He gave his daughter Ammangadevi to the Vengi
Chalukya prince and further continued the matrimonial alliance
initiated by his father. Rajendra I assumed a number of titles, the
most famous being Mudikondan, Gangaikondan, Kadaram Kondan
and Pandita Cholan. Like his father he was also a devout Saiva and
built a temple for that god at the new capital Gangaikondacholapuram.
He made liberal endowments to this temple and to the Lord Nataraja
temple at Chidambaram. He was also tolerant towards the V aishnava
and Buddhist sects.
After Rajendra I, the greatness of the Chola power was
preserved by rulers like Kulottunga I and Kulottunga III. Kulottunga
I was the grandson of Rajendra I through his daughter Ammangadevi.
He succeeded the Chola throne and thus united the Vengi kingdom
with the Chola Empire. During his reign Sri Lanka became
Bay of Bengal
Indian Ocean
Aribian Sea
Korki
Madurai
Uraiyur
Thanjavur
Gangaikondacholapuram
Utiramerur
Kanchi
Takkolam
Nellore
Rajahmundry
Sakkarakkottam
Kalyani
Yadavas
W. Chalukyas
Malkhed
Kakatiyas
Kadanbas
Bavanasi
Gangavadi
Cholas
147 146
the hard times, there were remission of taxes and Kulottunga I
became famous by abolishing tolls and earned the title – Sungam
Tavirtta Cholan. The main items of government expenditure were
the king and his court, army and navy, roads, irrigation tanks and
canals.
Military Administration
The Cholas maintained a regular standing army consisting of
elephants, cavalry, infantry and navy. About seventy regiments were
mentioned in the inscriptions. The royal troops were called
Kaikkolaperumpadai. Within this there was a personal troop to
defend the king known as Velaikkarar. Attention was given to the
training of the army and military cantonments called kadagams
existed. The Cholas paid special attention to their navy. The naval
achievements of the Tamils reached its climax under the Cholas.
They controlled the Malabar and Coromandal coasts. In fact, the
Bay of Bengal became a Chola lake for sometime.
Provincial Administration
The Chola Empire was divided into mandalams and each
mandalam into valanadus and nadus. In each nadu there were a
number of autonomous villages. The royal princes or officers were
in charge of mandalams. The valanadu was under periyanattar
and nadu under nattar. The town was known as nagaram and it
was under the administration of a council called nagarattar.
Village Assemblies
The system of village autonomy with sabhas and their
committees developed through the ages and reached its culmination
during the Chola rule. Two inscriptions belonging to the period of
Parantaka I found at Uttiramerur provide details of the formation
and functions of village councils. That village was divided into thirty
independent. Subsequently, Vengi and the Mysore region were
captured by the western Chalukyas. Kulottunga I sent a large
embassy of 72 merchants to China and maintained cordial relations
with the kingdom of Sri Vijaya. Under Kulottunga III the central
authority became weak. The rise of the feudatories like the
Kadavarayas and the emergence of the Pandya power as a challenge
to Chola supremacy contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Chola
Empire. Rajendra III was the last Chola king who was defeated by
Jatavarman Sundarapandya II. The Chola country was absorbed
into the Pandya Empire.
Chola Administration
Central Government
The Cholas had an excellent system of administration. The
emperor or king was at the top of the administration. The extent
and resources of the Chola Empire increased the power and prestige
of monarchy. The big capital cities like Tanjore and
Gangaikondacholapuram, the large royal courts and extensive grants
to the temples reveal the authority of the king. They undertook royal
tours to increase the efficiency of the administration. There was
elaborate administrative machinery comprising various officials called
perundanam and sirudanam.
Revenue
The land revenue department was well organized. It was called
as puravuvarithinaikkalam. All lands were carefully surveyed and
classified for assessment of revenue. The residential portion of the
village was called ur nattam. These and other lands such as the
lands belonging to temples were exempted from tax. Besides land
revenue, there were tolls and customs on goods taken from one
place to another, various kinds of professional taxes, dues levied
on ceremonial occasions like marriages and judicial fines. During
Page 5


141
After the decline of the Sangam period, the Cholas became
feudatories in Uraiyur. They became prominent in the ninth century
and established an empire comprising the major portion of South
India. Their capital was Tanjore. They also extended their sway in
Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula. Therefore, they are called as
the Imperial Cholas. Thousands of inscriptions found in the temples
provide detailed information regarding the administration, society,
economy and culture of the Chola period.
The founder of the Imperial Chola line was Vijayalaya. He
captured Tanjore from Muttaraiyars in 815 A.D. and built a temple
for Durga. His son Aditya put an end to the Pallava kingdom by
defeating Aparajita and annexed Tondaimandalam. Parantaka I was
one of the important early Chola rulers. He defeated the Pandyas
and the ruler of Ceylon. But he suffered a defeat at the hands of the
Rashtrakutas in the famous battle of Takkolam. Parantaka I was a
great builder of temples. He also provided the vimana of the famous
LESSON 13
IMPERIAL CHOLAS
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of early Cholas.
2. Military conquests and other achievements of Rajaraja I.
3. Campaigns of Rajendra I and his accomplishments.
4. Salient features of the Chola administration.
5. Literature, Art and architecture of the Cholas.
143 142
7. Rajaraja’s last military achievement was a naval expedition
against the Maldive Islands which were conquered.
By these conquests, the extent of the Chola empire under
Rajaraja I included the Pandya, Chera and the Tondaimandalam
regions of Tamil Nadu and the Gangavadi, Nolambapadi and the
Telugu Choda territories in the Deccan and the northern part of
Ceylon and the Maldive Islands beyond India. Rajaraja assumed a
number of titles like Mummidi Chola, Jayankonda and
Sivapadasekara. He was a devout follower of Saivism. He
completed the construction of the famous Rajarajeswara temple or
Brihadeeswara temple at Tanjore in 1010 A.D. He also helped in
the construction of a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam.
Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)
Rajendra had demonstrated his military ability by participating
in his father’s campaigns. He continued his father’s policy of
aggressive conquests and expansion. His important wars were:
1. Mahinda V, the king of Sri Lanka attempted to recover from
the Cholas the northern part of Ceylon. Rajendra defeated
him and seized the southern Sri Lanka. Thus the whole of Sri
Lanka was made part of the Chola Empire.
2. He reasserted the Chola authority over the Chera and Pandya
countries.
3. He defeated Jayasimha II, the Western Chalukya king and
the river Tungabadhra was recognised as the boundary bet-
ween the Cholas and Chalukyas.
4. His most famous military enterprise was his expedition to north
India. The Chola army crossed the Ganges by defeating a
number of rulers on its way. Rajendra defeated Mahipala I of
Bengal. To commemorate this successful north-Indian
Nataraja temple at Chidambaram with a golden roof. The two famous
Uttiramerur inscriptions that give a detailed account of the village
administration under the Cholas belong to his reign. After a gap of
thirty years, the Cholas regained their supremacy under Rajaraja I.
Rajaraja I (985 – 1014 A.D.)
It was under Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra
I that the Chola power reached its highest point of
glory. His military conquests were:
1. The defeat of the Chera ruler
Bhaskararavivarman in the naval battle of
Kandalursalai and the destruction of the
Chera navy.
2. The defeat of the Pandya ruler, Amarabhujanga and
establishment of Chola authority in the Pandya country.
3. The conquest of Gangavadi, Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi
located in the Mysore region.
4. The invasion of Sri Lanka which was entrusted to his son
Rajendra I. As the Sri Lankan king Mahinda V fled away
from his country, the Cholas annexed the northern Sri Lanka.
The capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polanaruva
where a Shiva temple was built
5. The Chola victory over the growing power of the Western
Chalukyas of Kalyani. Satyasraya was defeated and Rajaraja
I captured the Raichur Doab, Banavasi and other places.
Hence the Chola power extended up to the river Tungabadhra.
6. The restoration of Vengi throne to its rulers Saktivarman and
Vimaladitya by defeating the Telugu Chodas. Rajaraja gave
his daughter Kundavai in marriage to Vimaladitya.
STATUTE OF 
RAJARAJA 
145 144
campaign Rajendra founded the city of
Gangaikondacholapuram and constructed the famous
Rajesvaram temple in that city. He also excavated a large
irrigation tank called Cholagangam on the western side of the
city.
5. Another famous venture of Rajendra was his naval expedition
to Kadaram or Sri Vijaya. It is difficult to pin point the real
object of the expedition. Whatever its objects were, the naval
expedition was a complete success. A number of places were
occupied by Chola forces. But it was only temporary and no
permanent annexation of these places was contemplated. He
assumed the title Kadaramkondan.
6. Rajendra I had put down all rebellions and kept his empire in
tact.
At the death of Rajendra I the extent of the Chola Empire
was at its peak. The river Tungabadhra was the northern boundary.
The Pandya, Kerala and Mysore regions and also Sri Lanka formed
part of the empire. He gave his daughter Ammangadevi to the Vengi
Chalukya prince and further continued the matrimonial alliance
initiated by his father. Rajendra I assumed a number of titles, the
most famous being Mudikondan, Gangaikondan, Kadaram Kondan
and Pandita Cholan. Like his father he was also a devout Saiva and
built a temple for that god at the new capital Gangaikondacholapuram.
He made liberal endowments to this temple and to the Lord Nataraja
temple at Chidambaram. He was also tolerant towards the V aishnava
and Buddhist sects.
After Rajendra I, the greatness of the Chola power was
preserved by rulers like Kulottunga I and Kulottunga III. Kulottunga
I was the grandson of Rajendra I through his daughter Ammangadevi.
He succeeded the Chola throne and thus united the Vengi kingdom
with the Chola Empire. During his reign Sri Lanka became
Bay of Bengal
Indian Ocean
Aribian Sea
Korki
Madurai
Uraiyur
Thanjavur
Gangaikondacholapuram
Utiramerur
Kanchi
Takkolam
Nellore
Rajahmundry
Sakkarakkottam
Kalyani
Yadavas
W. Chalukyas
Malkhed
Kakatiyas
Kadanbas
Bavanasi
Gangavadi
Cholas
147 146
the hard times, there were remission of taxes and Kulottunga I
became famous by abolishing tolls and earned the title – Sungam
Tavirtta Cholan. The main items of government expenditure were
the king and his court, army and navy, roads, irrigation tanks and
canals.
Military Administration
The Cholas maintained a regular standing army consisting of
elephants, cavalry, infantry and navy. About seventy regiments were
mentioned in the inscriptions. The royal troops were called
Kaikkolaperumpadai. Within this there was a personal troop to
defend the king known as Velaikkarar. Attention was given to the
training of the army and military cantonments called kadagams
existed. The Cholas paid special attention to their navy. The naval
achievements of the Tamils reached its climax under the Cholas.
They controlled the Malabar and Coromandal coasts. In fact, the
Bay of Bengal became a Chola lake for sometime.
Provincial Administration
The Chola Empire was divided into mandalams and each
mandalam into valanadus and nadus. In each nadu there were a
number of autonomous villages. The royal princes or officers were
in charge of mandalams. The valanadu was under periyanattar
and nadu under nattar. The town was known as nagaram and it
was under the administration of a council called nagarattar.
Village Assemblies
The system of village autonomy with sabhas and their
committees developed through the ages and reached its culmination
during the Chola rule. Two inscriptions belonging to the period of
Parantaka I found at Uttiramerur provide details of the formation
and functions of village councils. That village was divided into thirty
independent. Subsequently, Vengi and the Mysore region were
captured by the western Chalukyas. Kulottunga I sent a large
embassy of 72 merchants to China and maintained cordial relations
with the kingdom of Sri Vijaya. Under Kulottunga III the central
authority became weak. The rise of the feudatories like the
Kadavarayas and the emergence of the Pandya power as a challenge
to Chola supremacy contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Chola
Empire. Rajendra III was the last Chola king who was defeated by
Jatavarman Sundarapandya II. The Chola country was absorbed
into the Pandya Empire.
Chola Administration
Central Government
The Cholas had an excellent system of administration. The
emperor or king was at the top of the administration. The extent
and resources of the Chola Empire increased the power and prestige
of monarchy. The big capital cities like Tanjore and
Gangaikondacholapuram, the large royal courts and extensive grants
to the temples reveal the authority of the king. They undertook royal
tours to increase the efficiency of the administration. There was
elaborate administrative machinery comprising various officials called
perundanam and sirudanam.
Revenue
The land revenue department was well organized. It was called
as puravuvarithinaikkalam. All lands were carefully surveyed and
classified for assessment of revenue. The residential portion of the
village was called ur nattam. These and other lands such as the
lands belonging to temples were exempted from tax. Besides land
revenue, there were tolls and customs on goods taken from one
place to another, various kinds of professional taxes, dues levied
on ceremonial occasions like marriages and judicial fines. During
149 148
Brahmins and Kshatriyas enjoyed special privileges. The inscriptions
of the later period of the Chola rule mention about two major
divisions among the castes – Valangai and Idangai castes. However,
there was cooperation among various castes and sub-castes in social
and religious life. The position of women did not improve. The
practice of ‘sati’ was prevalent among the royal families. The
devadasi system or dancing girls attached to temples emerged during
this period.
Both Saivism and Vaishnavism continued to flourish during
the Chola period. A number of temples were built with the patronage
of Chola kings and queens. The temples remained centres of
economic activity during this period. The mathas had great influence
during this period. Both agriculture and industry flourished.
Reclamation of forest lands and the construction
and maintenance of irrigation tanks led to
agricultural prosperity. The weaving industry,
particularly the silk-weaving at Kanchi
flourished. The metal works developed owing
to great demand of images for temples and
utensils. Commerce and trade were brisk with
trunk roads or peruvazhis and merchant guilds.
Gold, silver and copper coins were issued in
plenty at various denominations. Commercial
contacts between the Chola Empire and China, Sumatra, Java and
Arabia were extensively prevalent. Arabian horses were imported
in large numbers to strengthen the cavalry.
Education and Literature
Education was also given importance. Besides the temples
and mathas as educational centres, several educational institutions
also flourished. The inscription at Ennayiram, Thirumukkudal and
Thirubhuvanai provide details of the colleges existed in these places.
GOLD COIN OF 
RAJARAJA CHOLA 
wards and each was to nominate its members to the village council.
The qualifications to become a ward member were:
a. Ownership of at least one fourth veli of land.
b. Own residence.
c. Above thirty years and below seventy years of age.
d. Knowledge of Vedas.
However, certain norms of disqualification were also
mentioned in the inscriptions. They were:
a. Those who had been members of the committees for
the past three years.
b. Those who had failed to submit accounts as committee
members.
c. Those who had committed sins.
d. Those who had stolen the property of others.
From the persons duly nominated, one was to be chosen for
each ward by kudavolai system for a year. The names of eligible
persons were written on palm-leaves and put into a pot. A young
boy or girl would take out thirty names each for one ward. They
were divided into six variyams such as samvatsaravariyam,
erivariyam, thotta variyam, pancha variyam, pon variyam and
puravuvari variyam to take up six different functions of the village
administration. The committee members were called
variyapperumakkal. They usually met in the temple or under a
tree and passed resolutions. The number of committees and ward
members varied from village to village.
Socio-economic Life
Caste system was widely prevalent during the Chola period.
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