whether the king of Cambodia felt threatened by the emerging power of the
Cholas or by their South-East Asian rivals in Sri Vijaya.
    In 1015 and 1033 Rajendra I had sent diplomatic missions and the
Chinese emperor recognised the Chola kingdom as one of the great tributary
states, which was a mark of distinction in Chinese eyes. In 1015 after the
Chola diplomatic mission had stopped over in Sri Vijaya on their way to
China, and again in 1019 the ruler of Sri Vijaya sent rich presents for the
Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam which Rajendra acknowledged in his
    In 1077 the Chola ruler, Kulottunga I, dispatched a mission of 72
merchants to China, which removed the wrong impression of the Chinese that
the Cholas were tributary princes of the Sri Vijaya empire. In 1089 the ruler
of Sri Vijaya sent two ambassadors to the Chola court and at their request
Kulottunga specifically reconfined the donations made to the monastery at
Nagapattinam. Diplomatic relations with Cambodia were also resumed. The
king of Angkor, presumably Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Vat, sent
a precious jewel to Kulottunga who then donated it to the temple of
Chidambaram in 1114. Even the Burmese king, Kyanzitta (1086–1113),
wrote a letter on golden leaves to the Chola ruler. All these bits and pieces of
information show that Kulottunga’s long reign (1070–1118) was a time of
peaceful diplomatic relations with South-East Asia which must have enabled
the great merchant guilds of south India to conduct their international
business undisturbed.
South Indian Village System
The organisation which was responsible for the continuity of life and
tradition in the midst of frequent political changes in south India was the
village, and the vitality of its institutions is attested by hundreds of
inscriptions from all parts of south India. The degree of autonomy at the
south Indian village level was quite remarkable. Participation of royal
officials in village affairs was more as advisors and observers than as
Types of Villages