Chola dynasty had power around Kaveri Delta and were subordinates to the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. Vijayalaya, who belonged to the Cholas family, invaded with a little army on Muttaraiyar and captured the Kaveri delta in the middle of the 9th century A.D. Then he constructed a beautiful town called Thanjavur and made it the capital of Cholas. There he built a magnificent Thanjavur temple for Goddess Nishumbhasudini. So Vijayalaya was the founder of the Chola Dynasty.
Expansion of the Chola Dynasty
Hence he conquered the neighbouring regions and expanded Chola Empire. He occupied Pallava and Pandya territories from south to North, strengthening the Chola empire. Raja Raja, I came to power in 985 AD, becoming a mighty king in the Chola dynasty family. Since he conquered many territories of other kingdoms, he brought admiring and ideal policies in the administration; his son Rajendra Chola I also followed the same guidelines and introduced the Navy to become strong on the Seas. He invaded up to Ganga valley in the North and the boundaries of Srilanka in the South. He used the Navy to conquer foreign territories.
Chola Dynasty Temples
The Chola dynasty was famous for constructing many significant temples and Bronze sculptures. The Cholas built gigantic temples like Brihadeeswaralayam in Thanjavur and Gangaikonda-
Cholapuram towns. The temple’s architecture and sculptures are very magnificent now, and admirable about the artist’s slender carvings on the walls became famous as Chola art. The Holy places turned into the centres 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’s reign, the temples were places for worshipping and the hub of economic, social and cultural life.
Chola Bronze images were very finest and most distinctive. The devotees made bronze sculptures, and most were the images of deities.
Since the Chola came into power, they followed an excellent 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 subdivided into Valanadus and nidus for convenience of administration. Significantly, 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 selected the committees to look after the irrigation works, gardens, temples etc., and to choose the committee members; the king followed a tradition that each name of the committee numbers wrote on a palm leaf and kept in the pots. Then a young boy took out the palm leaf, whose names were on it; they were elected to a 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 most significant achievements, such as conquering neighbouring territories and installing the powerful Navy. With the powerful army, Rajaraja I overcome the Cheras, another powerful kingdom. His victories made him Lord Paramount of the Chola Dynasty. He ruled the whole of Tamil Nadu and a few parts of Karnataka, the Northern part of Sri Lanka.
Rajendra, who ruled between 1014 to 1044, was the natural successor of Raja. We can find out his greatness from the inscriptions of Tirumalai, Tiruvalangamadu and Tanjore copper plates. His father’s left the unconquered parts that Rajendra conquered. He expanded the Chola empire to Central India, Orissa in North India and completed details of Sri Lanka. In 1023 AD, Rajendra defeated Mahipala I, the Bengal ruler. His greatest triumph was conquering all territories on the banks of the Holy Ganges. This made him wear the title of Gongai-Konda. Later, he founded a new capital city name of Gongai-Konda-Cholapuram. He built this city with beautiful lakes, impressive palaces and gigantic temples.