The Chola Administration

The southern part of the Indian peninsula is mainly inhabited by the Dravidians. Three powerful kingdoms ruled South India in the ancient period. They were the Cheras, the Pandyas, and the Cholas. The Cholas emerged as the most powerful of all. 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. In this article, we have written about the Chola Administration.

The Chola Administration

The Cholas had a highly organized system of administration.

Central Government

  • The king governed the territories with the help of his council of ministers. He often toured the country to keep a check on the administration.
  • The royal princes were appointed to look after the administration of various units and were engaged in activities of peace and war.
  • The central government was responsible for promoting peace and order, prosperity and cultural progress of the empire.

Provincial Government

  • The Chola Empire was divided into mandalams and provinces. Mandalams were further divided into valanadu and nadu.
  • The princes of the royal family were appointed as governors of these provinces.

Local Self-Government

  • The Cholas believed in the principle of local self-government. In many villages, the administration was carried out by villagers and not by government officials.
  • There were three types of village assemblies—ur, sabha, and nagaram.
  • The ur was a common village assembly of the people who were the owners of the land. The sabha was an assembly of the Brahmins who owned lands. The nagaram was an assembly of merchants in the cities or towns where they were in dominant positions.
  • The villagers who owned the land were chosen by voting to the council. Administration of villages such as a collection of taxes, settlement of disputes, and allocation of water resources were looked after by the council.

The Revenue

  • Revenues of the Cholas mainly came from taxes levied on land, its produce, and trade. While a part of the revenue was kept aside for the king, the rest was spent on public works such as the building of dams and roads.
  • The taxes on land were collected by officials from the village councils.


  • The temple in the Chola kingdom was the main centre of social activity. It was not only a place of worship but also a place where people gathered.
  • The wealthy and richer section of society gave donations to the temples.
  • Some temples also owned lands and participated in inland and overseas trade. Sometimes, instead of giving land grants, land revenues of certain villages were assigned to the temples and the villagers had to pay the revenue to the temples.
  • The temples employed people in large numbers and were the biggest employer after the state. The temple authorities also looked after the necessities of the people and arranged education for children and built hospitals.

Also, Read Medieval India – South India and Cholas

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