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The Chola Dynasty: Accession of Rajaraja, the Great
South India between 600-122: The Cholas
850 
   The Cholas gained Importance
985-1018 
   Reign of Rajaraja I
1018-1048 
   Reign of Rajendra Chola


850: The Cholas gained Importance
The territory south, of rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra extending upto Cape Comorin is known as South India or Carnatic region. South India was divided into three kingdoms namely the Cholas, the Chera and the Pandyas of which Cholas was the most famous kingdom. The Cholas occupied present Tanjore and Trincnopoly districts with some adjoining areas. Till eight century the Chola kingdom was very small but gained importance from the ninth century onwards.

The Chola dynasty rose to prominence when in 850 their ruler Vijayalaya defeated the Pallavas and snatched Tanjore from them. Then Tanjore became the capital of the Chola kingdom. In the ninth century Aditya Chola and Parantaka I were the successors of Vijayalaya.

985-1018: Reign of Rajaraja I
The most important ruler of Chola was Rajaraja I. He was one of the greatest kings of the South India and was known as "Rajaraja the Great". Rajaraja I and his able son Rajendra, conquered nearly the whole of the present Madras Presidency. Rajaraja defeated the eastern Chalukyas of Vegi, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Gangas of Mysore. His kingdom extended from Cape in the north to Comorin in the south. He conquered Sri Lanka, the Maldive Islands and Sumatra and other places in Malay Peninsula.

He was not only an able administrator but also a great builder. He built a magnificent temple at Tanjore and which is named as Rajarajeshwar after his name.

1018-1048: Reign of Rajendra Chola
Rajendra Chola was also a able ruler like his father. He even went upto Bengal. He was victorious upto the banks of Ganges. He assumed the title of "Gangaikonda" (the victor of Ganges). On his way he built up a new capital called Gangaikondacholapuram. His greatest achievements was the conquest of Andaman and Nicobar islands. During his reign the kingdom was called the "Golden Age of Cholas." After his death the Chola kingdom began to decline. His successors were weak and so the kingdom started disintegrating.

Administration and Art
Chola empire was prosperous. The empire was divided into mandalams or provinces, further sub-divided into valanadus and nadus. The Cholas also built many temples. Numerous sculptures were also found. They include bronze image of Nataraja, the divine dancer Shiva, dancing the dance of death and destruction.

Courtesy --- KIRANMAYI

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