Chola Kings

In South India, the Chola Kings founded a mighty empire during AD 1000 - AD 1200. The relationship between these Cholas, called the "Imperial Cholas" with the earlier Cholas mentioned in the Sangam literature is not clear.

The Cholas came to power after over throwing the authority of the Pallavas in South India. The founder of the Chola dynasty was Vijayalaya (9th century AD) but the real architects of the glory of the dynasty were Rajaraja I (AD 985 - AD 1014) and his son Rajendra I (AD 1014 - AD 1044).

During the heyday of the Chola empire, it extended from R.Tungabhadra (a tributary of R.Krishna) in north to Kanya Kumari in south. The Chola Kings made a successful use of their navy and conquered not only Maldive and Lakshdweep Islands but also Sri Lanka.

They also defeated the kings of Malaya and Java and Sumatra. One of the greatest contribution of Rajaraja I was the construction of the famous temple known as Rajarajeshwara or Brihadesvara temple, dedicated to Shiva at Tanjore.

He also ordered a survey of land for better collection of land revenue in his empire. The rule of his son, Rajendra I was even more dazzling. He carried his arms up to Ganga in Bengal after defeating the Pala King, Mahipala. To commemorate this victory he founded a new capital called ‘Gangaikondacholapuram’ and acquired for himself the title “Gangai-konda” (conqueror of Ganga).

He was a great patron of learning and was known as Pandita-chola. The last important Chola king was Kullotunga (AD 1070 - 1122 AD). Under him the Chola empire started disintegrating and shrunk to much smaller area.