Chola dynasty had power around Kaveri Delta and were subordinates to the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. Vijayalaya who belonged to Cholas family invaded with a little army on Muttaraiyar and captured Kaveri delta in the middle of the 9th century A.D. Then he constructed a beautiful town called Thanjavur and made it as the capital of Cholas. There he built a magnificent Thanjavur temple for Goddess Nishumbhasudini. So Vijayalaya was the founder of Chola Dynasty.
Expansion of Chola Dynasty
Hence he conquered the neighboring regions and expanded Chola Empire. He occupied Pallava and Pandya territories from south to north and made the Chola empire very strong. Raja Raja I came to the power in 985 AD, turned as very powerful king in Chola dynasty family. Since he conquest many territories of other kingdoms and brought admiring and ideal policies in the administration. His son Rajendra Chola I also followed the same policies and introduced the Navy to become strong on the Seas. He invaded up to Ganga valley in North and the boundaries of Srilanka in South. He used Navy to conqure the foreign teroteries.
Chola Dynasty Temples
The Chola dynasty was famous for the construction of many big temples and Bronze sculptures. The Cholas constructed gitantic temples like Brihadeeswaralayam in Thanjavur and Gangaikonda-
Cholapuram towns. The temples architecture and sculptures are very magnificent till now and admirable about the artists’ slender carvings on the walls, this became famous as Chola art. The Holy places turned as the centers for craft articles production. Therefore the cholas became famous in Indian History. Many rulers and devotees endorsed land and other gifts for temple maintenance. The land and gifts utilized to maintain the artists, specialists, priests, garland makers, cooks, musicians, and dancers. So we could understand that during Chola reign the temples were not only places for worshiping but also the hub of economic, social and cultural life.
Chola Bronze images were very finest and most distinctive. The devotees made the bronze sculptures and most were the images of deities.
Since the Chola came into power they followed the good administration system. The king had a council of Ministers to help in good governance. Chola Dynasty had a strong army and Navy. The king divided the villages as mandalas, further sub-divided into Valanadus and nadus for convenience of administration. Especially, the village council looks after the administrative functions and collecting taxes.
The Vellala caste control over the affairs of the ‘Nadu’. Hence the Chola kings gave them the title of muvendavelan(a peasant serving three kings). The emperor select the committees to look after the irrigation works, gardens, temples etc. to choose the committee members, the king follow a tradition that each name of committee numbers wrote on a palm leaf and kept in the pots. Then a young boy take out the palm leaf, whose names were on the leaf, they were elected to particular committee.
Rajaraja I :
Rajaraja I was one of the greatest rulers of the Chola Dynasty, famous as Rajaraja the Great. According to the Tanjore inscription, we can know about his greatest achievements like conquest of neighbouring territories and installed the powerful Navy. With the powerful army, Rajaraja I overcome the Cheras, another powerful kingdom. His victories made him Lord Paramount of Chola Dynasty. He ruled whole Tamil Nadu and few parts of Karnataka, Northern part of Sri Lanka.
Rajendra, who ruled between 1014 to 1044, was the real successor of Raja. We can find about his greatness from the inscriptions of Tirumalai, Tiruvalangamadu and Tanjore copper plates. His father’s left the unconquered parts were conquered by Rajendra. He expanded the Chola empire to Central India, Orissa in North India and complete parts of Sri Lanka. In 1023 AD, Rajendra defeated Mahipala I, who were the ruler of Bengal. His greatest triumph was conquering all terroteries on the banks of the Holy Ganges. This made him to wore the title of Gongai-Konda. Later, he founded a new capital city on the name of Gongai-Konda-Cholapuram. He built this city with beautiful lakes, amazing palaces and gigantic temples.