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. Now, Read the reign of the Chola Kings and their achievements.
The Chola rule was established by Vijayalaya Chola in AD 846. He made Thanjavur his capital. He was succeeded by his grandson, Parantaka I. He annexed Madurai and defeated the Pandyas and the rulers of Lanka.
- Rajaraja I was one of the greatest kings of the Chola dynasty. He attacked the Pandyas and the Cheras. He annexed the parts of the territories of Mysore, Travancore, and Coorg.
- Rajaraja realized the importance of sea trade in the economy of India and thus led a naval expedition and attacked Sri Lanka and Maldives. However, he could not control them. In the North, Rajaraja conquered the northwest parts of Ganga. The Cholas became a great power under his rule.
- He built Rajarajeshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Thanjavur.
- Rajendra Chola, the son of Rajaraja, ruled from AD 1012 to AD 1044. He continued the expansionist policies of his father.
- The Chola army under him defeated Mahipala, the king of Bengal. To celebrate the occasion, he adopted the title of Gangaikonda and built a new capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
- He led one of the famous campaigns in Southeast Asia. Indian merchants were trading with various parts of Southeast Asia and southern China through the straits of Malacca which was under the control of Shrivijaya (modern Indonesia).
- When the merchants of Shrivijaya began to create problems for the Indian merchants, the latter appealed to Rajendra Chola for help. As a result, Rajendra Chola sent a huge army and defeated the king of Shrivijaya.
- He built many beautiful temples in his new capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
Rajadhiraja Chola was the last great ruler of this dynasty. He died during the battle of Koppam against the Chalukyas in AD 1052. After his death, the Chola kingdom began to disintegrate.
After the disintegration of the Chola kingdom, the independent kingdoms of the Pandyas, Cheras, and Hoysalas began to emerge. The Chola kingdom totally disintegrated after Malik Kafur, a general of Alauddin Khilji invaded the south.
Also, Read Medieval India – South India and Cholas