The Chera kingdom was one of the earliest kingdoms in South India. They were later defeated by the Pallavas in the 4th century AD. In the 10th century, the Cholas became a powerful kingdom in the South. Sources of Cholas are as follows.
Literary Sources of Cholas
- There was a growth of classical Tamil literature during the Chola period. Kuttan, the court poet Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II, and Rajaraja II wrote about the war of Vikrama Chola.
- Pulgalendi was a contemporary of Kuttan who wrote Nalavenba. Sekkilar composed the famous poem Periya Puranam during the reign of Kulottunga II.
- Kalingattuparani was a poem written by Jayankondar, the court poet of Kulottunga I. This poem celebrates the victory of Kulottunga Chola I over the king of Kalinga during a war. In this poem, Jayankondar has mentioned details about the lineage of the king, his birth, his family, and his accession to the throne. The poem is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Tamil literature.
Archaeological Sources of Cholas
- Archaeological sources of the period include inscriptions and monuments.
- We get information about the Chola period from various inscriptions. The inscriptions of the Cholas are mainly in the form of copper plate grants and stone and wall inscriptions.
- The copper plate inscriptions contained details such as the origin of the Chola dynasty and the land grants made during the period. The copper plate inscriptions are important sources because of the following reasons:
- They shed light on the Chola administration.
- They are a record of the land endowments and gifts made to the Brahmins and the temples by kings.
- They tell us about the construction of temples.
- Copper plate inscriptions contain details of royal orders or decrees pertaining to the matter of public importance such as land revenue and judgments delivered against thefts and murder.
- Monuments are mainly in the form of temples, sculptured halls, and towers. These monuments depict the art and architecture of the Cholas, their religious beliefs, and socioeconomic conditions.
- Some famous temples are the Brihadeshwara and Gangaikonda Cholapuram temples in Thanjavur and the Koranganatha temple in Trichinopoly.
- The Brihadeshwara temple also known as Rajarajeshwara temple was built by Raja raja Chola in the 10th century AD. The temple has a great tower consisting of 13 storeys rising to 190 feet. The main shrine of the temple houses a large Shiva lingam which is cut in a monolithic rock and is about 8.87 meters high.
- The Brihadeshwara temple is a splendid specimen of Tamil architecture. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Chera kingdom was one of the earliest kingdoms in South India. They were later defeated by the Pallavas in the 4th century AD. In the 10th century, the Cholas became a powerful kingdom in the South. Read more