South India : Chola

Exact Match
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Chola dynasty | Rajaraja I | Rajendra I | Administration | Decline

The Pallavas succumbed to a combined from their southern neighbors, the Pandyas and their feudatories the Cholas, in the ninth century. For the next three hundred years the Pallava chiefs remained as minor feudatories of the Cholas, before disappearing. During these three hundred years the Cholas fought to assert themselves, finally emerging as the dominant power of the south. Their early conflict was with the declining Rashtrakutas, whose place was taken by the later Chalukyas. The Deccan during this period was divided into a number of smaller kingdoms. Political spectrum of south involved the later Chalukyas, the Yadavas of Devnagari (near Aurangabad), the Kakatiyas of Warangal (Andhra) and the Hoysalas of Dorasamudra (Mysore).

This was also the period which saw the spread of Chola culture to areas in south east Asia and the active intervention, both political and economic, of south India in the commerce of this region to a far greater degree than ever before.

The Cholas had ruled as chieftains in Tamil-nad since the first century A.D. Towards the middle of the ninth century, one of them conquered the region of Tanjore (the heart of Tamil-nad), declared himself the ruler of an independent state, and sought to establish his status by claiming descent from the Solar race. In A.D. 907, the first important ruler of the Chola dynasty Parantaka I, who succeeded Adita I (871-907 A.D.), came to power and ruled for almost half a century. He secured the southern frontier of the kingdom by campaigning against the Pandyas and capturing their capital, Madurai. This brought him into contact with Ceylon, with whom the Pandyas had had close relations, and hostilities between Ceylon and Tamil-nad began which were to last through several decades. The later part of Parantaka's reign saw Chola defeat at the hands of the Rashtrakutas with the latter occupying many of the recently acquired northern districts of the Chola kingdom. There followed a period of thirty years in which a succession of weak kings brought about a decline in the power of the Cholas. Soon the pendulum was to swing the other way, for the Rashtrakutas were being harassed by their one-time feudatories and future overlords, the Chalukyas. In the confusion, Chola territory lost to the Rashtrakutas was gradually recovered and Chola power became solidly established with the accession of Rajaraja I (985-1014) and of his son and successor Rajendra, which allowed of fifty years in which the Chola kingdom could be consolidated and stabilized.

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