The rise of the Hoysalas is in many ways representative of several dynasties of Deccan during this period and in subsequent centuries. The family began as hill chieftains whose main source of revenue was brigandage.
It was Vishnu Vardhan who established a kingdom for the Hoysala dynasty. He ruled during the first half of the twelfth century when the Hoysalas were still theoretically the feudatories of the Chalukyas. The core of the Kingdom was at Dorasamudra, near modern Mysore, and Vishnu Vardhan prepared the way for political independence by consolidating his strength around his capital. Vishnuvardhan is also remembered for his interest in the teachings of the Vaishnava philosopher Ramanuja, who persuaded the king to forsake Jainism for Vaishnavism. The consolidation of the Hoysala kingdom was continued by Ballala II, the grandson of Vishnuvardhana, and resulted in the domination of the southern Deccan by the Hoysalas.
To the North, however the Hoysalas met with opposition from the Yadavas of Devanagari who had also expanded their kingdom at the expense of Chalukya territory, and by the thirteenth century they had laid claim to Gujarat, which, unfortunately for them, they could not hold for long. The Yadavas and the Hoysalas were to last until the fourteenth century, when a totally new force in the politics of northern India, the Turkish Sultan of Delhi, intervened in the affairs of the Deccan an intervention which led to the overthrow of the existing dynasties and the establishment of new kingdoms and political alignments.
By the thirteenth century the Pandyas had superseded the Cholas as the dominant power in the Tamil country and might well have maintained this position in the subsequent century had it not been for the attacks from the Turkish rulers and threat if interference from the northern Deccan, which was virtually in the hands of the Delhi Sultanate.
Political developments on the opposite coast that of Kerala, were of quieter nature. The Chera kingdom had been close contact with the Cholas, whether as a peaceful neighbor or a warring enemy, but it had little political ambition, except possibly during the reign of Ravivarman Kulshekhara at the end of the thirteenth century, who set out unsuccessfully to acquire a kingdom from himself from the ruins of the existing southern kingdoms. In the tenth century, another group of people of semetic origin came to India. A charter of the king of the Cheras granted land to Joseph Raban - the earliest evidence of the Jewish community settling in India, although tradition mentions an earlier settlement in Cochin for the first century A.D. The Travancore Jews, as the descendents of Joseph Raban were called, split into two groups: one preserved its Jewish identity with great rigidity and the second mixed with the local population though continuing to call itself Jewish.
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