the Nagesvara temple at Kumbhakonam. A group of three bronzes of Rama,
Lakshmana and Sita with Hanuman at their feet from Tirukkadaiyur (Tanjore
District) is one of the finest products of Chola bronze-making of the reign of
Rajaraja I.
    Decorative sculpture is exhibited in many forms—architectural motifs,
floral and vegetal patterns, friezes of animals, birds, dancing figures and
legendary and Puranic stories.
Chola wall paintings are to be found on the walls of the Vijayalaya
Cholesvara and Rajarajesvara temples. On the walls of the Vijayalaya
Cholesvara temple, large painted figures of Mahakala, Devi and Siva are still
visible. In the Rajarajesvara temple scenes representing Siva in his abode of
Kailasa as Nataraja and Tripurantaka are painted on the walls in large and
forceful compositions.
Literature and Education
Education based on the epics and the Puranas was imparted during this time
through discourses in temples. There were colleges and other institutions for
higher education. The period was marked by the growth of Tamil classics
such as Sibakasindamani, Kamban’s Ramayana, and others. Very few books
were composed in Sanskrit. Rajaraja I was the subject of two works—a
drama (Rajarajesvara Natakam) and a kavya (Rajaraja Vijayam).
Jayangondar, the poet laureate of Kulottunga I, composed the
Kalingattupparani, which depicts the ruler’s Kalinga war in detail. Kuttan,
who was the court poet of Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and Rajaraja II,
composed a parani (which deals with Vikrama Chola’s Kalinga war) and a
pillaittamil (a poem dealing with the childhood of Kulottunga II). Besides, he
wrote an ula on each of the three rulers. A contemporary of Kuttan was
Pugalendi, whose best work is Nalavenba (the tragic story of Nala and
Damayanti). Sekkilar composed his famous Periya Puranam (also known as
Tiruttondar Puranam) during the reign of Kulottunga II.