46 Facts About Chola


Chola Dynasty was a Tamil thalassocratic empire of southern India and one of the longest-ruling dynasties in world history.

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The earliest datable references to the Chola are from inscriptions dated to the 3rd century BCE during the reign of Ashoka of the Maurya Empire.

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The Chola fleet represented the zenith of ancient Indian maritime capacity.

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Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed part of the Rajarata kingdom in present-day Sri Lanka, and occupied Maldives islands.

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In 1025, Rajendra Chola successfully invaded the cities of Srivijaya empire, based on the island of Sumatra.

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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.

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The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but as centers of economic activity.

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Commonly held view is that Chola is, like Chera and Pandya, the name of the ruling family or clan of immemorial antiquity.

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In Tamil lexicon Chola means Soazhi or Saei denoting a newly formed kingdom, in the lines of Pandya or the old country.

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Two names are prominent among those Chola kings known to have existed who feature in Sangam literature: Karikala and Kocengannan.

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The Mahavamsa mentions that an ethnic Tamil adventurer, a Chola prince known as Ellalan, invaded the Rajarata kingdom of Sri Lanka and conquered it in 235 BCE with the help of a Mysore army.

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Chola dynasty was at the peak of its influence and power during the medieval period.

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At its peak, the Chola Empire stretched from the northern parts of Sri Lanka in the south to the Godavari-Krishna river basin in the north, up to the Konkan coast in Bhatkal, the entire Malabar Coast in addition to Lakshadweep, and Maldives.

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Chola integrated his empire into a tight administrative grid under royal control, and at the same time strengthened local self-government.

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Chola defeated Hoysala generals fought under Veera Ballala II at Karuvur.

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In 1025, Rajendra Chola launched naval raids on ports of Srivijaya and against the Burmese kingdom of Pegu.

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Rajaraja Chola's daughter married Chalukya prince Vimaladitya and Rajendra Chola's daughter Ammanga Devi was married to the Eastern Chalukya prince Rajaraja Narendra.

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Rajendra Chola III who succeeded Rajaraja III was a much better ruler who took bold steps to revive the Chola fortunes.

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Chola led successful expeditions to the north as attested by his epigraphs found as far as Cuddappah.

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Chola defeated two Pandya princes one of whom was Maravarman Sundara Pandya II and briefly made the Pandyas submit to the Chola overlordship.

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However, the Chola dynasty seemed to have it survived elsewhere outside of India.

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Chola was sent by the Maharajah to establish a base for expeditionary forces, but he rebelled and established his own independent rajahnate.

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The Chola kings built temples and endowed them with great wealth.

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The Chola Dynasty was divided into several provinces called which were further divided into, which were subdivided into units called or.

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Chola dynasty had a robust military, of which the king was the supreme commander.

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The Chola army was spread all over the country and was stationed in local garrisons or military camps known as Kodagams.

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Chola rulers built several palaces and fortifications to protect their cities.

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Soldiers of the Chola dynasty used weapons such as swords, bows, javelins, spears and shields which were made up of steel.

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The Chola rulers issued their coins in gold, silver and copper.

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The Chola economy was based on three tiers—at the local level, agricultural settlements formed the foundation to commercial towns nagaram, which acted as redistribution centres for externally produced items bound for consumption in the local economy and as sources of products made by nagaram artisans for the international trade.

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Uraiyur, the capital of the early Chola rulers, was a famous centre for cotton textiles which were praised by Tamil poets.

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The Vellalar community was the dominant secular aristocratic caste under the Chola rulers, providing the courtiers, most of the army officers, the lower ranks of the bureaucracy and the upper layer of the peasantry.

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Apart from sinking wells and excavating tanks, the Chola rulers threw mighty stone dams across the Kaveri and other rivers, and cut out channels to distribute water over large tracts of land.

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The Vellalar community was the dominant secular aristocratic caste under the Chola rulers, providing the courtiers, most of the army officers, the lower ranks of the bureaucracy and the upper layer of the peasantry.

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The encouragement by the Chola court furthered the expansion of Tamil merchant associations such as the Ayyavole and Manigramam guilds into Southeast Asia and China.

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The market structure and economic policies of the Chola dynasty were more conducive to a large-scale, cross-regional market trade than those enacted by the Chinese Song Dynasty.

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Rajendra Chola built a huge tank named Solagangam in his capital city Gangaikonda Solapuram and was described as the liquid pillar of victory.

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Architectural historian James Fergusson says that "the Chola artists conceived like giants and finished like jewelers".

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Imperial Chola era was the golden age of Tamil culture, marked by the importance of literature.

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Chola records cite many works, including the Rajarajesvara Natakam, Viranukkaviyam and Kannivana Puranam.

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Chola imports into his narration the colour and landscape of his own time; his description of Kosala is an idealised account of the features of the Chola country.

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Chola rulers took an active interest in the development of temple centres and used the temples to widen the sphere of their royal authority.

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Kocengannan, an Early Chola, was celebrated in both Sangam literature and in the Shaivite canon as a Hindu saint.

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Chola pronounced that the great temples of Shiva and the Ranganatha temple were to be the Kuladhanam of the Chola emperors.

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Chola prayed before him before his embarking on war to regain the territories in and around Kanchi and Arcot from the waning Rashtrakutas and while leading expeditions against both Madurai and Ilam .

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The work Parpannamritam refers to the Chola king called Krimikanta who is said to have removed the Govindaraja idol from the Chidambaram Nataraja temple.

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