Lot of debates going on about the Chola dynasty’s religious identity. Thankfully, the Cholas themselves have left plenty of surprising data that answer such debates. Leaving politics and ideologies aside, if we look at history, the truth emerges without a shadow of doubt!
The Cholas were paranoid. They recorded every detail about themselves they could: on temple inscriptions, on copper plates, on palm leaves. Sometimes they said the same data on 3 these sources. So even if someone tweaks one source, the others remain intact for corroboration!
Chola Copper Plates provide a detailed lineage that tracks their geneaology. Starting with Thirumaal (Vishnu), Brahma and eventually Surya.
Cholas considered themselves Suryavanshis. Interestingly, the devout Shiva bhakts Cholas, name Vishnu as the first king of their dynasty!
The list goes on with Puranic kings like Harishchandra, Dushyanth, Bharatha and Bhagiratha. Then we arrive at Raghu-vamsa. Raghu is listed as the 36th king, promptly followed by Dasharath and Bhagwan Rama.
Cholas consider themselves belonging to the lineage of Shri Ram!
Kochchenganan, a legendary king is referenced in Puranas as a spider which constructed web over the linga to prevent Sunlight directly falling on Shiva. The spider was reborn as a Chola king.
He is credited for building 70 Shiva temples, by Vaishnavite Thirumangai Azhwar!
Chola’s family deity (kula deivam) was Nisumbasoodhani, a form of Durga/ Kaali. Vijayalaya Chola constructed temple for the deity immediately after reinstating Chola rule.
Murugan Temple, Saluvankuppam has inscriptions from Parantaka and Rajaraja periods. Sembiyan Madhevi gave grants for building Nallur Kamdasamy temple, in Sri Lanka.
Chola imagery are filled with images of Ganesha. Kulotunga gave the highest grants for Srirangam Ranganathar temple
Chola copper plates and inscriptions had both languages – Sanskrit and Tamil. Rajaraja gave equal wages of Rs.1200 (in 1978 value) to singers of Vedic and Tamil hymns.
Chola kings did yagnas, followed scriptures. Being Hindu kings, they were also respectful of other faiths.
- Vishnu is their first king – Vaishnavam
- Descendents of Surya – Shouram
- Family Deity is Nisumbasoodhani – Shaktham
- Built Skanda temples – Kaumaram
- Sculpted Ganesha – Ganapatyam
- Devout Shiva Worshippers – Shaivam
But Cholas were not Hindus?
Such historically ignorant statements like “Tamils are not Hindus” have been peddled since 1973, when Kannadasan wrote Arthamulla Hindu Madham Part -2. He has systematically dismantled these hypocrisies. He said that Tamils have religion since Indus Valley civilisation.
Tamilnadu was Madras State before. It got its name officially only in the year 1969. It is ignorant to claim that the Tamil country did not exist before naming such.
Similarly, Hindu Dharma existed before the coinage of such a term. Such ignorant statements could come from your favorite director, actor or political leader. But it is your duty to not be influenced by them and understand the truth, by doing your due diligence.
That is the tribute to Thiruvalluvar – who wanted you to see the Truth, meiporul.
The Cholas were aware of how easily men are tempted to lie, for the sake of money, ideology and power. That is why they took every measure – to document their truths.
It feels right to tell the truth about Cholas – who considered themselves descendants of Raja Harishchandra.
Everything in this article is evidence-based, from inscriptions, copper plates etc.
- Chozhar Varalaaru: https://amzn.to/3fItYJs
- Raja Raja Chozhan: https://amzn.to/3fGlYIR
- Studies in Ancient Tamil Law: https://amzn.to/3EkdJwo
- Chozhar Kaala Seppedugal