Inscriptions of the Cholas are in which forms?
- Stone inscriptions
- Copper-plate grants
- Inscriptions on temple pillars
- All of the above
All of the above
What are the chief features of Chola temples?
- Audience halls
- Large vimanas and courtyards
- Images of deities
- All of the above
Large vimanas and courtyards
The main shrine in the Brihadeshwara Temple was called
What information do the inscriptions provide about the Cholas?
- Chola administration
- Public registrations
- All of the above
All of the above
Which of the following represents the timeline for the reign of famous Chola rulers?
- Parantaka I - Vijayal - Rajaraja I
- Rajaraja I - Parantaka I - Rajendra Chola
- Vijayalaya - Paranktaka I - Rajaraja I
- Rajaraja II - Paranktaka I - Vijayalaya
Vijayalaya - Paranktaka I - Rajaraja I
Which of the following territories did not form a part of the Chola kingdom
- Sri Lanka
Rajendra Chola adopted the title Gangaikonda to commemorate which victory?
- Sri Lanka
The Chola empire was divided into ............... and further into ............... .
- Mandalams, ur and sabha
- Mandalams, Valanadu and nadu
- Sabha, nagarams
- Sabha, ur and nagarams
Mandalams, Valanadu and nadu
Under whose rule did the Cholas become the supreme power in Southern India?
- Parantaka I
- Parantaka II
- Rajaraja I
- Rajendra Chola
Which of the following pairs is incorrect?
- urs : all classes
- sabha : Brahmins
- nagaram : merchants
- urs : landless
urs : landless
What of the following did not contribute to the revenue?
- Overseas trade
- taxes on land
- taxes on produce
Short Answer Questions
State two significant features of inscriptions for providing information about the Cholas.
Two significant features of inscriptions for providing information about the Cholas are:
- These inscriptions tell us about the Chola administration. For example, the Uttaramerur inscription gives information on the village administration, taxation and land revenue.
- Some inscriptions have royal orders on taxation and land revenue, resolutions of village assemblies, judgements delivered against persons guilty of theft, murder and other crimes.
Who established the rule of the Cholas? Name the capital of his empire.
Chola ruler Vijayalaya established the rule of the Cholas.
The capital of his empire was Thanjavur.
Why did Rajaraja undertake a naval expedition against Ceylon and Maldives?
The coasts of Kerala, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and the Maldive Island had become rich through the Money that came to them from overseas trade. India sent textiles, spices and precious stones to the West Asian countries. The people who came from Western Asia to trade in these goods were the Arab merchants, who exchanged money for goods. Foreigners brought wealth to India through their trade. Rajaraja was aware of the importance of controlling the sea. He decided to show his strength along the coasts of South India. So, he took out a naval expedition and attacked both Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands. He conquered the northern half of Sri Lanka.
Name any two great rulers of the Chola dynasty.
Two great rulers of the Chola dynasty were:
- Rajaraja I
- Rajendra Chola
Give any two achievements of Rajendra Chola.
Two achievements of Rajendra Chola were:
- He invaded and annexed the whole island of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was not able to free herself from the Chola control for another 50 years.
- His army defeated Mahipala, king of Bengal. He built a new capital called Gangaikonda-cholapuram which he adorned with beautiful temples and magnificent palaces.
Name the new capital built by Rajendra Chola. In which present day state is it situated?
The new capital built by Rajendra Chola was Gangaikonda-cholapuram. It is situated in Tamil Nadu.
Why did the cholas build a strong naval fleet?
The cholas built a strong naval fleet in order to show their strength and conquer the islands of Sri Lanka, Maldives and control the trade of those areas. During the reign of Rajendra Chola, Indian merchants were trading with various parts of South East Asia and Southern China, through the straits of Malacca, which was held by the kingdom of Shrivijaya. The merchants of Shrivijaya began creating problems for the Indian merchants. The Indian merchants appealed to Rajendra Chola for help. He sent out a huge Navy and defeated Shrivijaya king. As a result, Indian trade with South-East Asia and southern China continued, thereby enriching the Chola kingdom.
What made the Chola administration strong and effective?
The Chola administration was strong and effective because of following reasons:
- The King was the pivot of administration and all the authority vested in his hands.
- The King often went on tours in order to keep a check on the administration.
- The Cholas were good administrators. The villages were not ruled by any government official but they were self governed by the villagers themselves. The villages had three types of assemblies, namely, the Ur, the Sabha and the Nagaram.
Name the two languages promoted by the Cholas.
The two languages promoted by the Cholas were:
Name any two features of temples built by the Cholas.
Two features of temples built by the Cholas were:
- Massive Vimanas or towers.
- Spacious courtyards.
Which is the best example of Chola temples? Give one reason.
The best example of Chola temples is Brihadeshwara temple. It is also known as Rajarajeshwar temple. It was dedicated to Lord shiva and was built by Rajaraja I.
The Brihadeshwara temple is considered as the best example of Chola temples because it is the finest monument with splendid sculptures and decorative mouldings. The main structure of the temple has a great vimana or tower which rises to a height of 190 feet. It is crowned by a massive dome consisting of a single block of stone, 25 feet high and weighing about 80 tons. The Brihadeshwara temple is the most beautiful specimen of Tamil architecture and has also been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
What is known as the 'gopuram'? Name another feature of temples built during the Chola Period.
The gateway of the temple is known as 'gopuram'.
The another feature of temples built during the Chola Period was massive towers known as 'vimanas' and spacious courtyards.
With reference to the sources of information about the Cholas, briefly answer the following:
(a) List the forms of chola inscriptions.
(b) What was the special feature of the inscriptions? Who conceptualised the idea? Name one temple built by him.
(c) Mention the significance of Brihadeshwara Temple.
(a) The forms of chola inscriptions are:
- Copper-plates grants.
- Stone inscriptions.
- Inscription made on the walls and pillars of the temples.
(b) The special feature of the inscriptions was that it mentioned the main achievements of the the king and his reign.
The idea was conceptualised by Rajaraja I.
The temple built by Rajaraja I was Brihadeshwara Temple.
(c) The Brihadeshwara Temple or Rajarajeshwara Temple is the finest monument of a splendid period of South Indian history and the most beautiful specimen of Tamil architecture. It is a Shiva temple built by Rajaraja I at Thanjavur. It is one of the best specimens of Dravidian style of architecture.
The main structure of the temple has a great vimana or tower which rises to a height of 190 feet. It is crowned by a massive dome consisting of a single block of stone, 25 feet high and weighing about 80 tons. The shrine houses a gigantic Shiva Lingam, cut in a monolithic rock about 8.87 metres high. The temple has many structures such as a Nandi Pavilion, a pillared portico and a large assembly hall. Thus the significance of this temple lies in its architectural beauty and historical importance.
With reference to the Chola period explain the following:
(a) Taxes imposed by the Cholas.
(b) Administration of the Kingdom.
(c) The three types of village assemblies.
(a) Taxes imposed by Cholas were taxes on land, taxes on the produce of the land and taxes on trade. The taxes on land were collected by the officials from the village councils. Part of revenue was kept for the king. The rest was used on the public works, on salaries of officials, on paying for the upkeep of the army and on the building of temples.
(b) The Cholas had a very efficient and organised administration. All authority was vested in the king. There was a council of ministers to advise the king. The administration was made even more simpler and efficient by distribution of power at different stages of administration. The empire was divided into province (mandalams), which were further divided into Valanadu and Nadu. Princes of the royal family were appointed governors of provinces. There was self governance in the villages and they were not ruled by any government officials. The central government looked after external defence, internal peace and order, promotion of general prosperity and cultural progress of the empire.
(c) The villages had three types of village assemblies, namely, the Ur, the Sabha and the Nagaram. The Ur was common type of assembly of the villages where the land was held by all classes of people who were, therefore, members of the local assembly. The Sabha was exclusively Brahmin assembly of the villages, where all the land belonged to the Brahmins. The Nagaram was the assembly of merchants and traders. It was prevalent at the places where they were dominant. Villagers who owned land were chosen by a vote to the council. The life and the work of the villages were discussed in these councils. This was a source of popular strength because it united the people. All affairs concerning the village, such as, collection of taxes, settlement of disputes and allocation of water were looked after by the committees.
With reference to the Chola Administration, write short notes on:
(a) The King, the chief administrator.
(b) Local self-government.
(c) Temples as the centre of social activity.
(a) The king was the most important person in Chola administration. He was the pivot of administration and all the authority was vested in him. The king often went on tours in order to keep check on the administration. He had a council of ministers to advise him. The Central government looked after external defence, internal peace and order, promotion of general prosperity and cultural progress of the empire.
(b) The cholas believed in local self-government at village level. The villages were governed by villagers and not by government officials. The villages had three types of village assemblies, namely, the Ur, the Sabha and the Nagaram. The Ur was common type of assembly of the villages where the land was held by all classes of people who were, therefore, members of the local assembly. The Sabha was exclusively Brahmin assembly of the villages, where all the land belonged to the Brahmins. The Nagaram was the assembly of merchants and traders. It was prevalent at the places where they were dominant. Villagers who owned land were chosen by a vote to the council. The life and the work of the villages were discussed in this council. This was a source of popular strength because it united the people. All affairs concerning the village, such as, collection of taxes, settlement of disputes and allocation of water were looked after by the committees.
(c) The temples in the Chola kingdom were the centre of social activity. It was not only a place of worship, but was also a place where people gathered together. The temples were also the biggest employers after the state, providing work and means of livelihood to a large number of people. The temples used to take care of the welfare of its workers by providing food, clothing and housing facilities and by arranging proper education and establishing hospitals. The temples were also a centre for education. The priests of the temple were local teachers and the schools were housed in the temple courtyard. There were no separate schools.
Study the picture and answer the following questions:
(a) Name the temple given in the picture. Who built this temple? Where is it located?
(b) To which deity is the temple dedicated? Mention two special features of this temple?
(c) What were the following features of temples known as?
- Audience hall
(a) The given temple is Brihadeshwara Temple, also known as Rajarajeshwara Temple. Chola King, Rajaraja I built this temple.It is located at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.
(b) The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Two special features of this temple are:
- The massive tower or Vimana of 190 feet height and a huge dome of 25 feet, carved out of a single block of stone.
- A gigantic Shiva Lingam, cut in monolithic rock about 8.87 metres high.
(c) Given features of temples were known as:
- Gateway - Gopuram
- Shrine - Garbhagriha
- Audience Hall - Mandapa
- Towers - Vimana.
What do you think would have been the reason for the Chola rulers to issue large number of inscriptions, especially on copper-plates?
The Chola King Rajaraja I concieved the idea of prefixing to his inscriptions the main achievements of his reign. The example of Rajaraja was followed by his successors as well. Inscriptions were issued on copper-plates beacuse copper-plates were long lasting and also large amount of copper was available at that time. A large number of inscriptions were issued for the following reasons:
- Legal and Administrative Purposes — The copper-plate inscriptions served as legal and administrative documents, recording land grants, tax exemptions, and other rights and privileges granted by the rulers to various individuals, institutions, and communities. These inscriptions helped to establish and maintain social and political order, as well as to resolve disputes and conflicts.
- Propaganda and Legitimacy — The Chola rulers used copper-plate inscriptions to promote their achievements and to establish their legitimacy. The inscriptions often contained accounts of the rulers' conquests, charitable works, and religious endowments, which helped to create a positive image of the rulers in the eyes of their subjects and future generations.
- Religious Purposes — The Chola rulers were great patrons of Hinduism, and many copper-plate inscriptions recorded their religious endowments to temples and Brahmins. These inscriptions helped to establish the authority of the Chola rulers as protectors and patrons of the Hindu religion.
- Historical Record — The copper-plate inscriptions served as a historical record of the Chola dynasty, documenting its genealogy, chronology, and major events. These inscriptions helped to preserve the memory of the Chola rulers and their achievements, as well as to provide valuable information to future generations of scholars and historians.
The temple in the Chola Kingdom was the centre of social activity, besides being a place of worship. How did the temples gain this position of eminence?
The temples of Chola kingdom were very rich. They had huge resources in the form of land and gold. The temples were also the biggest employers after the state, providing work and means of livelihood to a large number of people. The temples had the patronage of the Chola Kings. The temples were centers of education, with many of them having schools for teaching Sanskrit, Tamil, and other subjects. The temples also sponsored cultural activities such as music, dance, and drama, which helped to promote the arts and foster a sense of community. The temples provided a range of social welfare services such as hospitals, orphanages, and shelters for the poor and the homeless. They also served as centers for resolving disputes and conflicts in the community. Due to all these reasons the temples gained a position of eminence and became the centre of social activity in the Chola Kingdom.
Recently a movie - a magnum opus based on a fictional account of a Chola kingdom - was released. How authentic do you think it was with respect to life of rulers and the ruled?
The movie is based on fictional account of Chola kingdom as given in Kalki Krishnamurthy's 1955 novel Ponniyan Selvan. This movie show the glorious history of the Cholas. The movie revolves around Arulmozhi Verman who is on his journey to become Rajaraja I, the greatest ruler of Chola kingdom. We cannot say that this movie depicts 100 percent authentic story of the rulers or ruled but most of its plot is based on the historical evidences. These evidences were collected and researched by the Kalki, a tamil magzine which published it as a serial.