various stages in the feudal structure led to a wider diffusion of the income
from the land. This weakened the position of those at both ends of the scale—
the cultivator and king who suffered from the diversion of the income into the
hands of the intermediaries. So the only prosperous class in north India
during this period seems to be the feudal lords. But the surplus wealth of
these feudatories was not invested in craft production or trade. It was, instead,
used for conspicuous consumption. The palatial homes of the feudatories
were richly ornamented, and much of the income was spent in building
magnificent temples. No wonder these temples attracted invaders whose
desire to achieve religious merit by destroying idols was much less than their
greed for plunder.
Chola Empire
Vijayalaya The capture of Tanjore from Muttarayar, an ally of the
Pandyas, around AD 850 by Vijayalaya and his founding of the temple of
Nishumbhasudini (Durga)—these were the first steps in the rise of the
Cholas, who were at that time feudatories of the Pallavas.
Aditya He was responsible for murdering his Pallava overlord Aparajita
after defeating him in a battle and occupying the entire Tondaimandalam.
Aditya next conquered the Kongu country also. He is said to have built Siva
temples on both banks of the Kaveri.
Parantaka I At the start of his reign, he invaded the Pandya territory and
assumed the title of ‘Maduraikonda’ (Conqueror of Madurai). When the
Chola country was invaded in 916 by the Rashtrakuta Krishna II, a decisive
battle was fought at Vallala (North Arcot District), which ended in disaster
for the Rashtrakutas. But Parantaka began to experience increasing difficulty
in defending his empire from 940. Krishna III, one of the greatest
Rashtrakuta rulers, defeated Parantaka in the famous battle of Takkolam
(near Arkonam) in 949 and succeeded in occupying a large part of the
northern half of the Chola empire.