Cholas Dynasty


Cholas Dynasty : : Other Dynasties and Rulers

The Cholas History ( AD 846 – 1279 ) :

  • Founder : Vijayalaya. Capital was Tanjore.
  • By the end of the ninth century, Vijayalaya’s successor, Aditya I Chola, wiped out the Pallavas of Kanchi and weakened the Pandyas, thus bringing the southern Tamil country under his control.
    But they had to face the Rashtrakuta power. Parantaka I captured Madurai but was defeated by Rashtrakuta ruler, Krishna III at the Battle of Takkolam. Although the Rashtrakutas were later defeated.
  • The greatest Chola rulers were Rajaraja – I ( 985 – 1014 ) and his son Rajendra I ( 1014 – 1044 ). Rajaraja founded the largest dominion in south India.
  • He lead a naval expedition against the Shailandra Empire ( Malaya peninsula ) and expanded Chola trade with China.
  • He annexed northern SriLanka and named it Mummadi – Cholamandalam. Also conquered Maldives islands.
  • He constructed Rajrajeshwari temple ( also called Brihadeshwar Shiva temple ) at Thanjavur.
  • His son Rajendra – I annexed the whole of SriLanka. In the North, went as far as Ganga and the dominions of the Pala king Mahipala. He took the title of ‘Gangaikonda’ after that and founded a capital – Gangaikonda Cholapuram. An even more remarkable exploit in his reign was the naval expedition against the revived Sri Vijaya ( Sumatra ) empire. The Chola navy was the strongest in the area for some time.


  • His son Rajadhiraja-I performed the Ashwamedha sacrifice.
  • Up to 1115, the extent of the Chola Empire remained undiminished under Kulottunga I, except for the loss of Ceylon, and included the entire region south of the Krishna and the Tungabhadra extending up to the Godavari on the east coast. Kulottunga III ( 1178 – 1210 ) was the last great Chola monarch.
  • Their empire was divided into 6 mandalams or provinces administered by governors. Mandalams were further divided into Valanadus, Valanadus into Nadus and Nadus into Taniyars. Ur was a type of assembly of common villages. All members of the village could become the member of ur.
  • Dancing figure of Shiva called Nataraja belong to this period only.
  • Cholas temples had massive ‘Vimanas’ or towers and spacious courtyards. The entrances had elaborate Gopurams ( gateways ).
  • Local Self Government was there ( concept of Panchayati Raj has been borrowed from it ).

The Palas of Bengal ( Capital – Monghyr ) :

  • In the middle of the eighth century, the Pala dynasty came into power. Its founder was Gopala ( 750 A.D ) who was elected to the throne as he had proved his valor and capability as a leader.
  • Then came Dharmapala who won Kannauj.
  • Then came Devapala who won Orissa and Assam. He defeated Pratihara king Bhoja and Rashtrakuta king Amoghvarsha.
  • Then came Mahipala who was attacked and defeated by Rajendra Chola.
  • Patrons of Buddhism. Dharampala founded Vikramsila University & revived Nalanda University.
  • Suleiman, an Arab merchant visited them & was impressed.
  • The Palas were replaced by Senas in Bengal.
  • Palas had trade with south east Asia.

The Pratiharas or Gurjara Pratihara :

  • The foundation of one branch of Pratiharas was laid down by Harichandra, near modern Jodhpur in the middle of the sixth century AD.
  • The foundation of another branch was at Malwa with its capital at Ujjain, and the earliest known king of this branch was Nagabhatta I. he came into prominence because of his successful resistance of the Arabs. He fought against the Rashtrakuta ruler Dantidurga.
  • The greatest ruler of this dynasty was Bhoja (also known as Mihir, Adivaraha – for his devotion to Vishnu). He regained Kannauj.
  • His successor was Mahendrapal I. His teacher was Rajashekar – a celebrated poet, dramatist and critic, & author of Karpuramanjari, Kavya Mimansa, Bal Ramayan, Bhuvankosh, Harvilas, Bal Bharat, Vidhsaal, Bhrinjika, Prapanch Pandav, etc.

Note : 3 rival powers : Pratiharas, Palas and Rashtrakutas declined almost simultaneously as there was extra pressure to maintain their armies as well as the rise of feudatories.

The Rajputs in Indian History :
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  • Rose to political importance in ninth & tenth centuries AD.
  • It is thought that they were of foreign origin that came as conquerors & settled in W.India.
  • of all the Rajput clans, 4 clans :
    • Pratihara or Pariharas of S.Rajasthan.
    • Chauhans of E. Rajasthan.
    • Chalukyas or Solankis of Kathiarwar.
    • Parmaras or Pawars of Malwa claimed descent from a mythical figure that arose out of a sacrificial fire pit near Mt. Abu. So they were called Agnikula or fire family.
  • Two main clans of Rajput are :
    • Suryavansha ( Sun family )
    • Chandra Vansha ( Moon family )

Note :

  • Chandellas of Bundelkhand built Kendriya Mahadeva temple at Khajuraho in 1000 AD.
  • Solankis of Gujarat ( Siddharaja ) built the Dilwara temple at Mt.Abu ( West Indian style of Architecture ) .
  • Parmaras of Malwa : Greatest king was Bhoja ( 1010 – 55 ) , also known as Kaviraj. He wrote Ayurvedasaravasva ( work on medicine ) and Samaranganasutradhar ( a rare work on architecture ) .
  • In this period, caste system became more rigid. New sub – castes like Kayastha, Khatri emerged.
  • Famous literary works of this period :
    • Somadeva :Kathasaritasagar ( The Ocean of the stream of stories ) .
    • Bilhana :Vikramadeva Charita ( Biography of Chalukva king Vikramdeva – VI ) .
    • Kalhana :Raitarangini ( history of Kashmir ) .
    • Jayadeva :Gita Govinda ( in Sanskrit ) .
    • Chachnama :Work on the history of Sind.

Some other points :

  • In Cambodia, Suryavarman – II constructed the Angkorvat temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built on Dravidian model. It is the greatest religious monument of the world.
  • Shailendra Empire used to rule over Sumatra, Java and Malaya peninsula. They were Buddhists. They built the largest Buddhist stupa in the world in Borobudur.
  • Old Names :
    • Suvarnabhumi : Myanmar.
    • Suvarnadwipa : Malaya.
    • Kamboja : Combodia.
    • Yavadwipa : java.

Note :
Arab Conquest of Sind : Sind was then ruled by Dahir. Md – bin-Qasim ( of Iraq ) defeated Dahir in 712 AD. This is considered to be the first invasion of India by the Arabs.

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