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8 Biggest Cultural Achievements Of the Chola Dynasty’s 1500-12 months Rule


Whereas trying again at historical past, it’s reasonably evident that our social, financial, and cultural configurations developed by means of the traditional civilisations and dynasties that after dominated the land. 

There have been a number of mighty empires that reigned over India through the Historic Ages. By their rise and fall, they left their footprints within the sands of time in numerous methods.

Among the many very many empires, it was the Cholas who dominated for greater than 1,500 years, making them among the many longest-ruling dynasties in world historical past. Be it arts, tradition, literature, or structure, there was no stone left unturned by the Cholas who reigned till the thirteenth century.

Being among the many biggest dynasties to rule Southern India, the contributions of the Cholas to Tamil tradition and Indian historical past alike are nothing however exceptional.

1. Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadeshwara Temple
A view of the Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur. (Picture credit score: Twitter)

The famend Brihadeshwara Temple, often known as Thanjai Periya Kovil or Peruvudaiyar Kovil, is taken into account considered one of the best architectural specimens of India. The Dravidian-style temple, situated on the banks of river Kaveri within the Thanjavur, is devoted to Lord Shiva.

Constructed between 1003 and 1010 CE by the good Chola emperor Rajaraja I, this temple displays the dynasty’s tradition, model, and grandeur. The structure of the temple exudes brilliance in its craftsmanship and complex detailing, which make it a exceptional feat for over a millennium in the past. 

Based on the inscriptions within the temple, it was designed by Kunjara Mallan Raja Rama Perunthachan.

Thought-about one of many largest Hindu temples, the Brihadeshwara Temple is a UNESCO heritage website and is hailed because the Nice Dwelling Chola Temple.

2. Dancing determine of Shiva

The bronze dancing figure of Shiva or Nataraja
The bronze dancing determine of Shiva or Nataraja (Picture credit score: Wikimedia commons)

The world-famous dancing determine of Shiva or Nataraja is believed to have absolutely developed through the medieval period in South India underneath the patronage of the Chola dynasty

They had been staunch devotees of Lord Shiva and most of their temples had been devoted to their favorite deity and had been depicted in a number of divine roles. The preferred amongst them was the dancing type of Shiva or the Shiva Nataraja, which ultimately was an emblem of Chola energy.

This stunning bronze sculpture dates again to the twelfth century and is at present on show on the Nationwide Museum in New Delhi among the many Chola bronzes.

3. Chola bronze casting

The interval when Cholas reigned can be characterised as a time when artwork was given a lot significance and reached new heights. 

Together with temple structure, they had been famous for his or her sculptures, particularly these made with bronze.

The Chola bronzes had been made utilizing a method often called the lost-wax casting approach or Cire Perdue, which ensured that every sculpture was the one considered one of its variety. 

Believed to have originated round 5,000 years in the past, it includes pouring sizzling steel right into a wax mannequin, which is “misplaced” through the course of. This system grew to become in style through the Chola interval, which made magnificent items, amongst them being the Nataraja sculpture. 

4. Kamba Ramayanam and Periyapuranam

Kamban and Sekkizhar
Tamil poets Kambar (left) and Sekkizhar (proper) (Picture credit score: Wikimedia commons)

The Chola kings promoted literature and gave patronage to Tamil students and writers. The interval was often called the devotional interval of literature as many of the works handled faith. A number of nice Tamil poets like Kalladanar, Kambar, Pugalandhi, Ottakoothar, Sekkizhar, Avvaiyar, and Thirutakkadevar lived through the Chola interval.

Among the many a number of works, Periyapuranam by Sekkizhar and Kamba Ramayanam by Kambar are thought-about two of the best works of the interval. 

Periyapuranam is a Tamil poetic account depicting the lives of the sixty-three Nayanars, the canonical poets of Tamil Shaivism and Kamba Ramayanam is a model of Ramayana written primarily based on Valmiki’s Ramayana.

5. Chola Temple Jewelry

The temple jewelry is believed to have originated across the ninth century within the Chola empire. 

Because the identify suggests, it was adorned on the idols of gods and goddesses, and in addition worn by the royals. It’s believed that temple dancers and devotees started to put on cheap replicas of the jewelry in the identical designs, thus popularising it.

These chunky clever items of gold jewelry are characterised by depictions of gods and goddesses to have fun and present reverence to their idols.

6. Gangaikondacholapuram temple

A view of Gangaikondacholapuram temple at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu.
A view of Gangaikondacholapuram temple at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. (Picture credit score: Twitter)

The Gangaikondacholapuram temple was constructed through the reign of Rajendra I between AD 1023 and 1036 within the Ariyalur area of Tamil Nadu. The temple is called after the village — Gangaikonda Cholapuram — which served because the capital for round 250 years.

The stone temple, which showcases a lovely show of Chola artwork and structure, is taken into account a dwelling historical past of the dynasty for the reason that reign of Rajendra Chola. 

Additionally, a number of sculptures introduced from states like Andhra, Karnataka, and Bengal as struggle trophies have been preserved throughout the temple. Amongst them, the Chandesa Anugraha Murthy and Saraswathy are probably the most stunning sculptures of the temple.

7. Kanjeevaram silk sarees

The famed Kanjeevaram silk sarees are identified for his or her wealthy and vivid colors, in addition to designs impressed by temples, displaying elaborate zari work. 

It’s named after the city the place it’s crafted — the town of Kancheepuram, which has lived underneath the rule of a number of empires, from the Pallavas to the British.

Historians say the good Chola king Rajaraja I invited weavers from Saurashtra to come back and settle in Kanchipuram and set up looms. However it solely remained an area, specialised craft earlier than transitioning right into a thriving business through the reign of Krishna Deva Raya, the ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire.

8. Airavatesvara Temple, Kumbakonam

A view of Airavatesvara temple in Kumbakonam in Thanjavur.
A view of Airavatesvara temple in Kumbakonam in Thanjavur. (Picture credit score: Twitter)

Located in Kumbakonam in Thanjavur, the Airavatesvara temple was constructed by Chola emperor Rajendra II through the twelfth century. The temple is devoted to Shiva within the type of Airavata, the white elephant of Indra, the king of heaven.

Just like the Gangaikondacholapuram temple, Airavatesvara is a gallery of artwork and structure with intricate stone carvings. Although small when in comparison with the Brihadeswara temple or the Gangaikondacholapuram temple, it’s beautiful as a result of this degree of detailing.

Edited by Divya Sethu

Brihadeshwara Temple: A construction conceived with grace and Magnificence, revealed by The Decor Journal on 19 March 2022.
Nataraja: The Lord of Dance, revealed by The Heritage Lab on 5 August 2016.
Every little thing you should find out about temple jewelry, from its historical past to its evolution, by Hasina Khatib; revealed by Vogue India on 17 September 2019.
Kanjivaram: The Romance of Silk’, by Leora Pezarkar; revealed by Dwell Historical past India on 20 August 2017.


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