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The Cholas were the most famous of the three dynasties that ruled ancient Tamil Nadu. The other two were the Cheras and the Pandyas.


Early Cholas

The early Cholas ruled between the 1st and the 4th centuries A.D. The the most famous king of the early Cholas was Karikalan. He is well known for his great engineering marvel, "Kallanai", a great anaikut (dam used for irrigation) across the Cauvery River. He marched till the himalayas defeating all the kings on his way and engraved the cholan symbol, the tiger on the hills of the Himalayas. He was succeeded by Nedumudikilli. Chola power declined with frequent attacks by the Pallavas, Cheras and Pandyas , but they rose to power again around the 8th century.

Medieval Cholas

The Medieval Cholas rose to prominence when the king Vijayalaya defeated the Pallavas and captured Thanjavur. The Medieval Chola kings went on to capture most of South India, Bengal, and some foreign islands like Indonesia. Until around the 13th century, the Chola Empire was the most powerful in South India.

The greatest kings among the Medieval Cholas were Rajaraja Chola I (reigned 985-1014) and his son Rajendra Chola I (reigned 1014-42). Under them, Chola power reached its zenith. The Rajaraja conquered Kerala and a part of Sri Lanka. Rajendra later completed the conquest of Sri Lanka, crossed the Ganges and marched across Kalinga to Bengal, and sent out a great naval expedition that occupied parts of Myanmar, Malaya, and Sumatra. For 300 years the Chola kingdom supported a flourishing social and economic life, marked by a flowering of Dravidian culture. Rajendra, to commemorate his victory over the Ganges, created a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram. And Cholas were the first noted to have navel fleet in Indian subcontinent. By the 13th century, the Chola kingdom had exhausted its resources and was on the decline. It succumbed to an attack by the Hoysalas from the west and the Pandyas from the south. The last king of the Medieval Cholas was Rajendra Chola III.

The emblem of the Chola empire was the tiger, which was featured on the Chola flag, coins and in other contexts of political significance.

List of Medieval Chola Kings

Name of King Reign Period Son of Capital
Vijayalaya Chola 848-881 Is not available Thanjavur
Athiththa Chola 871-907 Vijayalya Chola Thanjavur
Paranthaha Chola I 907-955 Athiththa Chola Thanjavur
Kandarathiththa Chola 950-957 2nd Son of Paranthaha Chola I Thanjavur
Arinchchaya Chola 956-957 3rd Son of Paranthaha Chola I Thanjavur
Paranthaha Chola II 957-970 Arinchchaya Chola Thanjavur
Uththama Chola 973-985 Kandarathiththa Chola Thanjavur
Rajaraja Chola I 985-1014 Paranthaha Chola II Thanjavur
Rajendra Chola I 1012-1044 Rajaraja Chola I Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajadhiraja Chola I 1018-1054 Eldest Son of Rajendra Chola I Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajendra Chola II 1051-1063 2nd Son of Rajendra Chola I Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Virarajendra Chola 1063-1070 Rajendra Chola II Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Athirajendra Chola 1067-1070 Virarajendra Chola Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Kulothunga Chola I 1070-1120 Son of the daughter of Rajendra Chola I Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Vikkrama Chola 1118-1135 Kulothunga Chola I Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Kulothunga Chola II 1133-1150 Vikkrama Chola Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajaraja Chola II 1146-1163 Kulothunga Chola II Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajadiraja Chola II 1163-1178 Cousin of Rajaraja Chola II Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Kulothunga Chola III 1178-1218 Rajaraja Chola II Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajaraja Chola III 1216-1256 Kulothunga Chola III Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Rajendra Chola IV 1246-1279 Rajaraja Chola III Gangaikonda Cholapuram

External Links

Template:Middle kingdoms of Indiade:Chola fr:Dynastie et Empire chola sa:चोळ वंश


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