The Chola kingdom was founded by Vijayalaya in A.D. 846, with its capital at Tanjore. His grandson Parantaka extended the kingdom up to Madurai.
During the rule of Rajaraja-I, the Chola power increased both in the north and south. He defeated the Chalukyas, the Cheras and the Pandyas. He strengthened his army and conquered Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka). Under him, the Cholas became a paramount power. He built the Brihadeshwara temple of Shiva at Tanjore. Trade with the west Asian countries brought wealth and prosperity in his empire.
Rajaraja-I was succeeded by his son, Rajendra Chola who carried on his father’s policy of expansion. He marched through Orissa and overran the whole of Orissa and Bengal. He assumed the title of Gangaikonda. He next annexed the Andaman and Nicobar islands. For these campaigns, he is often compared to Samudragupta. He built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram. His trade relations with the Southeast Asian countries brought wealth and increased the revenue of the Chola kingdom.
Rjendra Chola came into conflict with the kingdom of Shrivijaya, which comprised the Malya peninsula and Sumatra. The reason for this was that the:
1. Indian ships with cargo used to sail to China and pass through Malacca. The merchants of Shrivijaya began to create difficulties for the Indian merchants. The Indian merchants appealed to their King for help. The Chola king readily agreed, as he did not want to lose revenue from trade.
2. As the Cholas maintained a strong navy the kingdom of Shrivijaya, was easily defeated. The Chola kingdom declined in the early 13th century.