Army Under the Cholas
The imperial Cholas who ruled parts of South India and Sri Lanka between the tenth and the thirteenth centuries depended on their army and the navy to expand and maintain regulations in their vast empire. The Chola army followed the old tradition of Chaturangabala for organisation and Sadangabala for Administration. There were other units in the Chola Army. Those are the admiralty and logistics and the provisions. These additions transformed the Chola Army which resulting in higher degree victories.
The army was divided into seventy contingents. According to inscriptions these regiments were assigned royal titles. Around 60,000 elephants were present in the army of the Cholas. They possessed a corporate organisation, participated in civic life, and made grants to temples. Attention was given to their training and discipline, and cantonments existed. Senai was divided into various thalams, which is a self-sustaining army formation with its own supply and resources.
The strength of the elephant whole army was about 150,000. It was composed chiefly of Kaikkolas and Sengundar. The bodyguard of the king known as Velaikkaras was sworn to defend the king at the cost of their lives. They were often ready to immolate themselves on his funeral pyre. The Chola Army regiments had its own commercial life and were free to donate and build temples in its own name. Management of certain minor shrines of the temple was conferred to some regiments and they provided the prerequisites for the temple. While some regiments took money from the temple on interest, which they paid in cash.
Commanders in the Chola army were Vellalas, Brahmins and others. Kshatriyasikhamani was a title given to men with a distinguished record. The Chola kings defeated the Cheras at Kandalur salai. The cruel character of their warfare was displayed in the invasions of Ceylon, Irattapadi and Pandyamandalam. The civilians were severely tortured without discrimination.
Navy Under the Cholas
During the reign of Rajaraja and his successor the navy reached at its peak. Shipboard and many types of ships were utilized in the navy. The Coromandel and Malabar coasts were under their control and the Bay of Bengal became a Chola lake. However a firm idea cannot be perceived regarding the navy warfare techniques. According to some historians merchant vessels were deployed in transporting the army and that Chola naval fights were land battles fought on the ship decks. The Chola navy was an alarming one in South India. They had conquered Srivijaya and islands of Ceylon also. The navy had curbed the piracy in South East Asia. Hinduism, Dravidian culture and architecture reached to Southeast Asia with the help of the Chola navy. The ambassadors to these kingdoms were the admirals of the Chola Empire. Karikalan had attacked the Ceylon Island. He also occupied the Lakshadweep . islands Rajaraja Chola was a king who has to his credit many maritime victories.
It can be established that the army and navy of the Chola Empire were systematized. Many conquests can be attributed to them. Both the limbs of the Chola military administration were threats to neighbouring countries. They did enjoy some amount of sovereignty while performing their functions and duties.
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