The Cholas are one of the most famous and well-known Tamil rulers in South Indian history. Their elaborate state structure, vast irrigation network, a large number of temples constructed, significant contributions to art and architecture, and international exploits have fixed their place in history.
Revival of Chola Dynasty:
The ancient Chola kingdom ruled with Uraiyur (modern-day Tiruchirappalli) as its capital and the Kaveri delta as its core territory. It rose to prominence during Karikala's rule but fell during the reign of his successors. The Chola Dynasty was revived by Vijayalaya in the 9th century, who hailed from a small region to north of the Kaveri. He captured Thanjavur and made it his capital. Later, the empire was ruled by Rajendra-I and his successors from the newly constructed capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
Map showing the extent of the Chola empire during en:Rajaraja Chola I.
Rajaraja I (\(985\) - \(1016 CE\).) was the most powerful ruler of the Chola empire and remained popular beyond his time. Most of the regions in South India came under his rule. His famous naval expeditions supported Chola expansion into the West Coast and Sri Lanka. Rajaraja I build the famous Rajarajeswaram Temple (Brihadeshwara Temple), at Tanjavur.
Brihadeshwara Temple, Tanjavur .
Rajarajs's son and successor, Rajendra Chola I (AD 1016 - 1044), expanded the empire, and it continued strong during his rule. He proclaimed himself the Gangaikonda Cholan (conqueror of the Ganga region) after capturing the territories in North India. To commemorate this victory, he built The Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple. Rajendra Chola conquered the kingdom of Srivijaya (southern Sumatra) through his naval expedition.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
To commemorate the victory of Rajendra Chola \(I \) in North India, the Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple was built. His navy assisted him in conquering Srivijaya (southern Sumatra). The Cholas command of the seas helped in the creation of a flourishing foreign trade.
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chola_map.png