Revival and Rise of Chola Empire

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Revival and Rise of Chola Empire


The politics of South India around this time saw the collapse of the Rashtrakutas and the revival of the Chola power. The revival of the Chola Empire in the ninth century was possible when as tributary princes under the Pallavas they asserted their independence. The Pallava power declined due to the constant confrontation with the Rashtrakutas. As the Pallavas were preoccupied with their Rashtrakuta enemies in the north, the Cholas defended the Pallava kingdom against the Pandyas from the south. Aditya, a princeling of the Chola dynasty challenged his Pallava overlord and established the nucleus of a new kingdom which his son Parantaka consolidated in the early part of the 10th century. Contained by the Rashtrakutas the Cholas at this stage re­mained confined within their original seat of power at Kaveri valley.

Towards the end of the 10th century Uttam Chola and son Rajaraja I restored Chola power by extending their territorial control in the south in the land of the Pandyas and Cheras. Rajaraja sacked Anuradhapura the old capital of Sri Lanka. His son Rajendra I continues this aggressive policy. He conquered Vengi, defeated the Chalukyas of Kalyani and sent his fleet to the Maldives. In 1022 he launched his great campaign in North India which earned him the title of the Conqueror of the Ganga. To commemorate this victory he named his new capital as ‘Gangaikondacholapuram’.

Chola power reached its height under Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. They pursued a systematic policy of expansion against local powers and sent their navy to the south East Asian waters. Their control over the Krishna Godavari delta was supplemented by their maritime strength The Cholas tried to enhance their maritime strength also by gaining control over all strategically important coastlines. In keeping with this line of policy, they finally took on Shrivijaya. The Cholas had also sent embassies to China and the Chinese emperor recognized the Chola kingdom as one of the great tributary states. The Southeast Asian states were as eager to have good relations with the Cholas as with the Emperor of China. The Shailendra king of Shrivijaya and king Suryavarman I of Cambodia established diplomatic relations with the Cholas.

Chola power continued until the thirteenth century. Then several local tributary princes emerged as independent kings, among them the Pandyas of Madurai, the Hoysalas of the southern mountains and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. But in due course they all fell prey to the superior military strategy of the Delhi Sultanate in the early fourteenth century just about one century later than the rulers of north India.

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