Chola literature

List of Chola kings
Early Cholas
Ilamcetcenni   Karikala Chola
Nedunkilli   Nalankilli
Killivalavan   Kopperuncholan
Kocengannan   Perunarkilli
Interregnum (c.200-848)
Medieval Cholas
Vijayalaya Chola848-871(?)
Aditya I871-907
Parantaka Chola I907-950
Gandaraditya950-957
Arinjaya Chola956-957
Sundara Chola957-970
Uttama Chola970-985
Rajaraja Chola I985-1014
Rajendra Chola I1012-1044
Rajadhiraja Chola1018-1054
Rajendra Chola II1051-1063
Virarajendra Chola1063-1070
Athirajendra Chola1067-1070
Chalukya Cholas
Kulothunga Chola I1070-1120
Vikrama Chola1118-1135
Kulothunga Chola II1133-1150
Rajaraja Chola II1146-1163
Rajadhiraja Chola II1163-1178
Kulothunga Chola III1178-1218
Rajaraja Chola III1216-1256
Rajendra Chola III1246-1279
Chola society
Chola government
Chola military
Chola art   Chola literature
Solesvara Temples
Poompuhar   Urayur
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas
[ edit ]
Chola literature, mostly written in Tamil, is the literature created during the period of Chola reign in South India between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries CE. The age of the imperial Cholas was the most creative epoch of the history of South India and was the Golden Age of Tamil culture. The Cholas were remarkable patrons of literature and art. From the age of Sangam to the end of the Chola Empire in the middle of the thirteenth century, the Chola land was a fertile ground for the cultivation of some of the best literature in the Tamil language. The collection of literature available to us today is doubtless but a fraction of what was created as we learn from the Chola inscriptions about a number of books that are not available to us today.

Sangam age

Main article: Sangam literature
The Sangam age, which falls during the first few centuries of the Common Era, is notable for some of the most creative works in Tamil. Sangam literature comprises some of the oldest extant Tamil literature, and deals with love, war, governance, trade and bereavement. Unfortunately much of the Tamil literature belonging to the Sangam period had been lost. The literature currently available from this period is perhaps just a fraction of the wealth of material produced during this golden age of Tamil civilisation.

Most of the information we have on the Sangam age Cholas are from the Sangam poetry. The earliest Chola kings of whom we have evidence are those mentioned in the Sangam poetry and in the colophons attached to them giving details on the poets who wrote them and the king or the prince on whom the poem was written. We find that a number of princes of the Chola lineage took an active part as patrons of poets and sometimes as authors.

At the end of the Sangam age, the early Cholas went into decline and the patronage of the Tamil literature passed on the Pallavas and the Pandyas.

Age of imperial Cholas

With the revival of Chola power in the middle of the ninth century, the avenues for the literature and art broadened. For the first time in history, an imperial state encompassed the entire South India bringing with it the safety and security to the people and provided the opportunity for the people to experience cultures beyond their own. Tamil became a language of the people.

The literature during this period may be classified into religious, secular and political.

Religious literature

During the imperial Chola period the Prabhanda became the dominant form of poetry. The religious canons of Saiva and Vaishnava sects were beginning to be systematically collected and categorised. The Cholas built numerous temples, mainly for their favourite god Siva, and these were celebrated in numerous hymns.

Nambi Andar Nambi, who was a contemporary of Rajaraja Chola I, collected and arranged the books on Saivism into eleven books called Tirumurais. One of these include a short poem by Gandaraditya, who was a Chola king during the early tenth century. The hagiology of Saivism was standardised in Periyapuranam (also known as Tiruttondar Puranam) by Sekkilar, who lived during the reign of Kulothunga Chola II (1133 – 1150 CE). Sekkilar opus became the twelfth book in the Saiva canon.

Religious books on the Vaishnava sect were mostly composed in Sanskrit during this period. The great Vaishnava leader Ramanuja lived during this period. Perhaps due to the animosity of the later Cholas towards the Vaishavites, there was no much literary activity in Tamil from this sect.

One of the best know Tamil work of this period is the Ramavatharam by Kamban who flourished during the reign of Kulottunga III. Ramavatharam is the greatest epic in Tamil Literature, and although the author states that he followed Valmiki, his work is not a mere translation or even an adaptation of the Sanskrit epic. Kamban imports into his narration the colour and landscape of his own time. His description of Kosala is an idealised account of the features of the Chola country.

Of the books on the Buddhist and the Jain faiths, the most noteworthy is the Jivaka-chintamani by the Jain ascetic Thirutakkadevar composed in the tenth century. This is the story of Jivaka, who was equally distinguished in war and peace, and tells the story of his youth during which he indulges in excesses and at his prime realises the hollowness of his existence and renounces everything to become a Jain ascetic.

Secular literature

There were a number of books written on Tamil grammar. Yapperungalam and Yapperungalakkarigai were two works on prosody by the Jain ascetic Amirtasagara. Buddamitra wrote Virasoliyam, another work on Tamil grammar, during the reign of Virarajendra Chola. Virasoliyam attempts to find synthesis between Sanskrit and Tamil grammar. Other grammatical works of this period are Nannul by Pavanandi, Vaccanandi Malai by Neminatha, and the annotations on Purananuru, Purapporun Venbamalai by Aiyanaridanar.

Political literature

Of the works of a political nature, we find the poetic works on various Chola kings. Jayamkondar wrote Kalingattupparani, a semi-historical account on the two invasion of Kalinga by Kulothunga Chola I. Jayamkondar was a poet-laureate in the Chola court and his work is a fine example of the balance between fact and fiction the poets had to tread. Ottakuttan, a close contemporary of Kambar, wrote three Ulas on Vikrama Chola, Kulothunga Chola II and Rajaraja Chola II

Extinct literature

Chola inscription mention the names of some of the literature which are currently not available to us. They were once considered worthy of public recognition, as the authors of these inscriptions assumed the readers would know them by the mere mention of their names. Of these are two works on Rajaraja Chola I, Rajararajesvara natakam and Rajararaja Vijayam. The former of this was a play and was enacted at the great Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur. From the context in the inscriptions we learn that this was not a play on the life of the great king, but on the building of the temple.

There was a book on Kulothunga Chola I called Kulothunga Chola Charitai by Thirunarayana Bhatta. A certain Kamalalaya Bhatta wrote Kannivana Puranam and Pum Puliyur Natakam, works of a popular nature. The poet was awarded some tax free gifts for his works.

It is indeed a tragedy that we are unable to trace these lost works. This is true of most of the extant literature in India, which have been preserved more by chance and accident than by deliberate act of preservation.

References

  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
History of Tamil Nadu

Chronology of Tamil history

Ancient Tamil country

Sources

Geography   Political history


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The Early Cholas of the pre and post Sangam period (100 B.C.E. – 200 C.E.) were one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country. Along with Pandyas and Cheras, Chola history goes back to the period where the history is covered with the mists of time.
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Ilamcetcenni(Tamil: இளம்சேட்சென்னி) was a Chola king during the Sangam age in South India. He was the father of Karikala Chola and ruled around 100 C.E.

References

  • Mudaliar, A.

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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Karikala Chola
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Nedunkilli was one of the Early Cholas mentioned in Sangam Literature.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Nalankilli was one of the Early Cholas mentioned in Sangam Literature.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Killivalavan
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Kopperuncholan was one of the Early Cholas mentioned in Sangam Literature.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Kocengannan was one of the Early Cholas mentioned in Sangam Literature.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Perunarkilli was one of the Early Cholas mentioned in Sangam Literature.
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Circa (often abbreviated c., ca., ca or cca. and sometimes italicized to show it is Latin) literally means "about" or "around". It is widely used in genealogy and historical writing, when the dates of events are approximately known.
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Medieval Cholas rose to prominence during the middle of the 9th century C.E. and established the greatest empire South India had seen. They successfully united the South India under their rule and through their naval strength extended their influence in the Southeast Asian
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Vijayalaya
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Aditya I
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Parantaka Chola I
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Gandaraditya Chola
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Arinjaya Chola succeeded Gandaraditya Chola c. 956 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ] Parantak Chola II (957 c.e. – 973 c.e.) ruled for approximately twelve years.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Uttama Chola ascended the Chola throne c. 970 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Rajaraja Chola I (Tamil:
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Rajendra Chola I was the son of Rajaraja Chola I, the great Chola king of South India. He succeeded his father in 1014 C.E. as the Chola emperor. During his reign, he extended the influences of the already vast Chola empire up to the banks of the river Ganges in the north and
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Rajadhiraja Chola I (1018 – 1054 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Rajendra Chola II (1054 – 1063 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Virarajendra Chola (1063 – 1070 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Athirajendra Chola ( 1070 C.E.
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The Chalukya Chola dynasty ruled the Chola Empire from 1070 C.E. until the demise of the empire in the second half of the 13th century. This dynasty was the product of decades of alliances based on marriages between the Cholas and the Eastern Chalukyas based in Vengi and produced
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Kulothunga Chola reigned from 1070 until 1120 C.E.
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Vikrama Chola
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Chola society Chola government Chola military Chola art   Chola literature Solesvara Temples Poompuhar   Urayur Gangaikonda Cholapuram Thanjavur   Telugu Cholas [ edit ]

Rajaraja Chola II
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