Two years ago, I began to research the Chola Empire in earnest. I have been interested in history – a passion that started only once I was out of college. I started with the most well-marketed titles, the history of the Greeks, and I became especially enamored with their philosophers, especially Hypatia of Alexandria.
Then – the Edo empire, closer home the Mughals, and then – the Cholas, and that was the motherlode. The culture, the music, the literature. Conquerors who called themselves gods but had to negotiate with some very human politics. The naval trade, the wealth, the defending of empire! I was very taken by the history and began to read whatever I could get hold of. It was a struggle: translations of the very rich Sangam literature is not easy to find, and a lot of the history is spread out across essays behind paywalls, and some very expensive hardcovers, some out of print. Somewhere in this process, I began to write a historical fiction novel based on the Chola empire.
This website is a passion project. It’s a place for me to pull together and discuss the research, links and readings I could find about this time period. My focus is the Rajendra Chola period, who reigned from 1014 to 1044 CE. He was the son of RajaRaja Chola, the King of Kings, who worked hard to come out of his father’s shadow and carve a name in history that was his own. A man who travelled across the sea and captured the Srivijaya kingdom (in Indonesia) and expanded his empire to parts of Cambodia and Vietnam. In India he expanded the empire across the South, to Lanka, and up north to the Pala kingdom. An impressive and fascinating king, who deserves far more attention than he has received. This site is dedicated to him and the overall Chola period – its history, literature, art and empire.