Since the Chola kings and emperors followed and bore two titles namely, Parakesharivarman and Rajakesharivarman, their chronology is a bit difficult too trace. King Karikaran who is famous in the South Indian history is believed to be the common ancestor of the Deccan and the Andhra families from where the Cholas were derived. The Cholas ruled for a long period from about the later half of the 9th century to the beginning of the 13th century. The land of Cholas and Pandyas got united between 926 and 942 by the Pallava king, Vijayala and the Destroyer of Madurai, Parantaka I. The Chola king RajaRaja I, who ruled from 985-1014, occupied the territory of Gangavadi, which is presently known as the Karnataka state and under his rule; the Chola Dynasty became an economic, military and cultural power in the Southern Asia.
Even the Chera territory and the northern Sri Lanka were occupied by him in 996. He also built the famous Brihadishvara Temple at the present day Thanjavur (then Tanjore). By the end of his rule, in 1014 he also conquered the Lakshadweep and the Maldives islands.
Rajaraja's son proved to be an incredible ruler like his father and went ahead his father in achievements. His son was Rajendra Chola Deva I, who completely conquered Sri Lanka. In 1023, Rajendra Chola penetrated the north and got the Ganges water to their new capital Gangaikondacolapuram. Also he conquered some other portions of Malay Peninsula and Malay Archipelago. Later he was taken over by his son Rajadhiraja who was in fight with the Pandyas, Cheras and the Western Chalukyas and in 1046 defeated the western Chalukyas. In 1054 he took over the Chalukyan Empire but later when the Chola ruler Virarajendra attempted to join hands with the Chalukya he was killed and his death led Vikramaditya Chalukya to weaken the Cholas.
The Cholas had now begun to fall. The Chalukya and Chola Empire were succeeded by Kulottunga I whose main aim was to unite the east and who very wisely abandoned the Deccan. In about 1166 confilicts and confusions regarding the Pandyan throne embroiled the Cholas, Pandyas and Sri Lanka, which had by then attained freedom.
It was in 1216 that the Hoysala kingdom took over the Chola lands and area and the initial former ruler withdrew back from the rule. Even the northern forces were seen intervening. In 1257 the Pandyan conquered the Chola country and after a long rule the Chola Dynasty collapsed in 1279.
The Cholas have left behind marvelous architectural pieces and culture. It certainly had left behind a long lasting legacy. It is due to them that we see some great temples and buildings in Tamil Nadu. Also they contributed immensely to the Tamil Literature.
Last Updated on : 28 May 2012