Chola Kingdom in Sangam Age

The Chola kingdom is referred to in the Sangam literature as Chonadu, Kaveri Nadu, Kaveri Soozh Nadu, Neer Nadu, and Punal Nadu. These names indicate the rich water resources of the Chola country. The river Kaveri has flown through the Chola kingdom and made its soil fertile. The capital of the Sangam Cholas was Uraiyur. Their second capital was Kaveripoompattinam. It was also the chief port of the Sangam Cholas. Their symbol was tiger. The Sangam literature also mentions a number of Chola kings. They had surnames like Kill, Valavan, Senni and Cholan. The kingdom of the Sangam Cholas comprises the present Tanjore and Tiruchirappalli districts.

The most popular among the Sangam Cholas was Karikalan. Both the Sangam works, Pattinappalai and Porunaruatruppadi give information about Karikalan. Even in his young age, he proved his extraordinary ability of settling the disputes in his kingdom. He was also a great warrior. He defeated the Chera and Pandya kings at Venni. In another battle Karikalan defeated a confederacy of nine princes. He extended his kingdom beyond Kanchipuram in the North.

Karikalan had also become popular for the development activities in his kingdom. He had encouraged the growth oil agriculture as well as commerce. He had built the dam called Kallanai across the river Kaveri to tame that river and the water was used for irrigation. Karikalan had also fortified the port-city Kaverippumpattinam or Puhar and made it as his capital. It flourished as a great emporium of trade. Merchants from foreign countries visited Puhar. Karikalan was generous towards Tamil poets and patronized them. Porunarnatruppadi gives details about his munificence.

A long line of Chola monarchs succeeded Karikalan and, Nalamkilli, Killivalavan and Kopperumcholan were the most, famous among them. Kochenganan was the last in the line of th Sangem Cholas.