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Chola  

J. Marr

[Coḷa]

Dynasty in south India that was prominent until the 13th century ad. The Cholas, best known for their patronage of temple architecture, were one of the principal royal lineages of the Tamil country. They are mentioned in the edicts of Ashoka (3rd century bc) and figure in the earliest Tamil literature (1st–4th century ad). However, little archaeological evidence exists for the Cholas before the 9th century ad. The first ruler, Vijayalaya (reg c. 846–71), captured Thanjavur from his Pallava overlords. Aditya I (reg c. 871–907) annexed the Pallava kingdom in Tondaimandalam (now Tamil Nadu) in 903, and Parantaka I (reg c. 907–55) attacked and conquered the Pandya rulers of Madurai. The two greatest Chola rulers were Rajaraja I (reg 985–1014) and his son Rajendra I (reg 1012–44), made co-regent in 1012. Apart from their conquests, which extended from Sri Lanka to Sumatra, they were responsible for splendid temple buildings. That at Thanjavur, the ...