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Indian History - 1. The Chola Empire: The most influential Hindu Empire

The Chola Empire was the only Indian colonial powers with colonies outside of India. The reign of King Rajaraja Chola is considered the Golden Age of the Tamils. Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I made the Chola kingdom to a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-east Asia. The Chola kings were protectors and promoters of culture, art and religion. Like the Romans, made Cholas cultural and religious influence on neighboring countries. The Cholas built temples and Culture Schools in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.The Cholas were famous for their naval power and is considered the most influential Hindu Empire today. The Cholas belong to the Vellalar caste "noble Tamil lords " and to the lineage of Suryavamsam (Sun dynasty). The capital of the Cholas was the royal city Thanjavur and the emblem was the tiger. The Tamil movement used today tiger also as their national symbol. 

Rise of the Cholas

Rajendra Chola I, could defeat all his enemies and expand the Chola Empire outside of India. He developed the ships of his father to one of the most powerful navy of ancient Asia and led successful conquests on land and sea. In Chola period, the South Indian merchant guilds had proven great maritime influence. The Indian government called the Merchant Navy Training Centre in Mumbai as TSRAJENDRA. Because Rajendra Chola was the founder of the first Indian Navy. Rajendra Chola I ruled as emperor over the South / East India, (Indian islands like Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep), Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Bangladesh, Maldives and Indonesia. It is possible that the influence of the Cholas was much greater than expected and the Chola Empire also extended over the Philippines. He made the small Chola kingdom, to the first Indian colonial power.

Religious attitude of the Cholas.

The Cholas were very religious Hindus and like the most Dravidians followers of Shaivam (Religion of Lord Shiva) . The Kula Deivam (family god) the Chola family was Lord Shiva. Raja Raja Chola has the same hairstyle like Lord Shiva. The Chola kings tolerated not a concept of a God higher than Lord Shiva. It was tradition of the Cholas in conquered territories to build a Shiva temple to thank Lord Shiva for victory and glory. The Cholas built many great temples in homeland and outside. The Brihadisvara temple is the famous building of the Cholas. These more than 1000 years old Shiva temple in Thanjavur belong to UNESCO World Heritage Site. A statue of Nataraja, from the Chola period, is considered one of the world famous symbol of Hinduism. A Chola king built the biggest Shiva Lingam of ancient India, It was considered the king who builds the biggest Shiva Lingam is the most powerful king of India.

End of the Cholas

The later Cholas were not mighty kings, like their great ancestors. 
The resurgence of the archenemy Pandyas was the end of the Cholas.

Another member of the Chola Dynasty, were the Telugu Chola family.
Some of them claimed descent from the legendary Tamil Chola Karikala.

Telugu Cholas

Velanati Chodas
Renati Chodas
Pottapi Chodas
Konidena Chodas
Nannuru Chodas
Nellore Chodas

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