India: Achievements Of Cholas: In the Southern region of India, one race that was the most civilized was the Cholas. Karikala founded the Chola Dynasty, as believed by many during the 2nd century AD. When Karikala reigned, the capital city got moved from Uraiyur to Kaveripattanam. Karikala’s successor was Nedumudikilli. Pirates from the sea set fire to capital town. The Pandyas, Cheras and the Pallavas kept on attacking the Chola Empire frequently due to which, power of the Cholas, declined gradually. When power of the Pallavas declined in the 8th century, the glory of the Cholas began shinning again.
However, Vijayalaya was considered the Cholas Dynasty’s real founder. Of the Pallavas, he was a feudatory. Under Vijayala’s rule the dynasty grew eminent and lasted for more than 200 years. The official language spoken was Tamil. Some of the early capitals of the Chola Dynasty include Cholapuram, Poompuhar, Gangaikonda, Urayur, Thanjavur and Pazhaiyaarai. Kinga Vijayalaya ruled from 848 to 871 while Rajendra Chola ruled from 1246-1279. During the reign of Rajaraja who ruled from 985 to 1014 and Rajendra his son, who ruled from 1014 to 1041, the empire of the Cholas had reached its zenith.
Administration System During The Rule Of Cholas
The administrative system of the Cholas was unique amongst all the dynasties in Southern India. Information about the Chola administration is available in greatest detail even today. They had a unique administrative system set up. The king stood as the head of the state. The state’s machinery moved around this pivot, the king. When Rajaraja I and his son ruled, the order sent out by the king was first confirmed by the Olainayakam or the Chief Secretary besides another officer called Perundaram who was highly responsible, after which the orders could be proclaimed. An assembly of merchants, called the Nagaram would be organized. The Nagaram belonged to the concerned localities to which the traders and the merchants were important.
Arts And Craft
Craftsmen during the Chola Dynasty were excellent in sculpting sculptures in bronze metal. Images of the dancing Shiva or Nataraja and many other deities, saints etc were made by the Chola craftsmen by a process called the Cire Perdu process. Amongst the royal houses in Southern India, the most ancient and the earliest were the Cholas.
The Chola Dynasty was founded by Vijayalaya around 850 AD. He started off as a vassal of the Pallava king. He occupied Tanjore after the conflict with the Pandyas and made his capital, Tanjore. Aditya I succeeded him. Aparajita, the Pallava king and the Kongu ruler, Parantaka Viranarayana were defeated by Aditya I.
It was under the reign of Aditya I that power of the Cholas reached its supreme. Parantaka I his son, succeeded him and was ruler of the Chola Dynastry from 907 AD to 955 AD. He not only got territories of the Pandya Kings annexed but also conquered the Vadumbas. All traces of power of the Pallavas were swept away by this ruler. However at the hands of the Rashtrakutas, he received a setback.
Rajaraja the Great ruled from 985 AD to 1014 AD. Rajaraja conquered Madurai and captured the ruler of the Pandyas. He invaded Sri Lanka’s northern region and made it a province of the Cholas by sacking Anuradhapuram. He also conquered the Maldive islands. He destroyed the Chera Kingdom’s strongest naval power and emerged strongly. His army conquered, Kollam, Venginadu, Nolambavadi, Gangapadi, Kudamalai-nadu, Kalingam Ilamandalam, Tadigaipadi of the Singalas. In 991 AD he conquered the Ganga’s Nolambavadi, Tadigaivadi and Gangavadi political divisions and till the next century these divisions remained under the Cholas. The Western Chalukyas attached the Cholas towards the end of the reign but Rajaraja Chola won the battle.
Rajendra I conquered many of the trans-Ganga kingdoms. The title Gangai Kondachola was assumed by him. He is accredited for getting a number of south east Asian lands Indianised. The whole of Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka was conquered by him. Gangai Kondacholapuram was the new capital founded by him. In a naval campaign, the Kings of Sumatra was defeated by him and he annexed a part of the Sumatra Kingdom.
To teach the vedas, Rajendra I set up the Vedic college and the Vaishnava centre. He had friendly relations with the emperor in China and reigned peacefully for 32 years. He inherited property from his father and put in all effort to extend it by subduing power of the Keralas and Pandyas. The Asamavedha or the horse sacrifice was performed by him. During the initial phase of his career he was successful but in the Koppam battle on the Tungabhadra, he lost his life. Rajendra II was the next ruler from 1052 to 1064 AD. Though Rajendra II had to struggle a lot with the Chalukyas, he was able to manage the Chola Empire.
Rajendra II’s elder brother, Vira Rajendra ruled from 1064 to 1074 AD. He reigned for six years after succeeding his brother. He invaded the Chalukyan king and defeated him. Vengi was reconquered by him and also the efforts made by Ceylon’s Vijayabahu who was putting in all efforts to drive away the Cholas out from Ceylon. The Chalukyan throne was succeeded then by Someswara II and some incursions were made by Rajendra. However friendly ties were later built and he gave his daughter to Vikramaditya. In 1070 AD he died and the throne was taken over by the heir, Adhi-Rajendra. His reign was uneventful and quite a short one. In Ceylon, then Vijayabahu assumed independence.
It was under the Kulottunga Chola title, that Adhi-Rajendra was succeeded by Rajendra. Vengi was invaded by Yasahkarana the Kalachuri King in about 1073 but was not successful in gaining anything. The revolt in Kalinga was also put down. Vikramaditya VI the Viceroy of Vengi took over control in 1118 AD from the Chola and was successful in separating the Eastern Chalukyas and the Cholas. Vishnuvardhana won Nolambavadi and Gangavadi.
Kulttunga I’s son, Vikrama was the next successor who ruled from 1120 to 1135 AD. He re-conquered Vengi and restored power of the Cholas. He reigned peacefully and his subjects were happy, even if in South Arcot there were famines and floods. It was expansion of the Hoysalas that led to the control of the power of Cholas subsequently. Rajaraja II, Kulottunga II and Rajadhiraja III were not able to prevent the Hoysala’s annexation of the Kingdom of the Cholas. Cholas power had weakened and they could not hold on to the Pandyan Kingdom. Independence was declared by the chief of the Pandyas in 1243. The last greatest emperor of the Chola Dynasty was Kulottunga who ruled from 1178 to 1210. It was after him that the empire of the Cholas collapsed after which the Hoysalas and the Pandyas took its place. Hoysalas and the Kakatiyas divided the Chola Empire territory amongst themselves and after this the Chola Empire, the existence of the Chola Empire ceased forever.