model is obliged to look at Chola overseas
challenged, for the virabhoga and padaipparru grants and the nilaippadai
(army camps) stationed at strategic points would together provide evidence of
a royal army at least up to the twelfth century AD. Officers of the army such
as padai mudali and nayagam are also known from inscriptional records. The
perundaram and sirutaram grades were common among the Right Hand
velaikkarar units, yet another pointer to a regular army. Armies of local
chiefs undoubtedly supplemented royal military expeditions.
Temple Architecture
Early Phase The Pudukkotai district in Tamil Nadu has an unusually large
number of early Chola temples, which give us a good idea of the growth of
the south Indian style of architecture from the Pallava period to the Chola
period. Most important among them is undoubtedly the Vijayalaya
Cholesvara temple at Narthamalai (also called Melamalai). Other important
temples in this category are the Nagesvarasvami temple at Kumbhakonam,
Kuranganatha temple at Srinivasanallur, the twin temples of Agastyisvara and
Cholesvara at Tiruvalisvaram.
                            MAIN FEATURES
  Temple architecture, particularly the Dravida or south Indian style of
  architecture, reached the pinnacle of glory under the Cholas. The chief
  feature of a Chola temple is the vimana or the storey, which was later
  eclipsed by the richly ornamented gopuram or gateway. Under the Cholas,
  temples became the centres of life, particularly in the rural areas. The
  village assembly invariably held its meetings in the temple mandapa,
  which became an additional feature of the Chola temple architecture.
Mature Phase The best example is, however, the Siva (or the
Brihadeesvara or the Rajarajesvara) temple, built in 1009 by Rajaraja I, at
Tanjore. It is a fitting memorial to the material achievements of the Cholas
under Rajaraja I. Apart from being the tallest (216 feet) of all Indian temples
of the medieval period, it is a masterpiece    of south Indian architecture. In this