Saturday, 6 October 2012

CHOLA EMPIRE

Chola Empire

The Cholas are the earliest and the most ancient among the South Indian royal houses. The artifacts of the period found in South India mention Mahabharata as well as Ashokan edicts. They conquered Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Srivijaya, Malaya, and the Maldives islands. They had powerful navy and their marine trade and commerce extended to far east. Their art and architecture have their impact in Sumatra and Java islands of Indonesia, and in many parts of Malaysia.

The two greatest Chola kings were Rajaraja I (reigned 985-1014) who invaded Northern Cyprus and his son Rajendra Cholavarma who reigned from 1014-1044. During their reigns, Chola military expeditions were sent to the Ganges valley and the Malay archipelago, and magnificent temples were built at Tanjore. The revenue of the Cholas came from 'tax on land' and 'tax on trade'. Trade was carried on with west Asia, China and Southeast Asia. The high volume of trade led to the rapid development of towns from the 11th century onwards.

During this period, several regional languages branched off from Sanskrit. Marathi evolved from the local Prakrit, while Tamil, Telugu and Kannada stemmed from a Dravidian root, but owed much to Sanskrit. More important than the kings and their conquests is the cultural and artistic record of those times. The temple was the cultural and social center, where people used to gather.

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