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The Chola’s Administration

The Chola’s Administration


  • King was the most important person in the Chola administration. All authority rested in his hands. He often went on tours in order to keep better touch with the administration.
  • The king was aided and advised by a council of ministers who held office at the pleasure of the king.
  • There was a fully developed secretariat to oversee the functioning of Central administration.

Military Administration:

  • The Cholas maintained a large army consisting of infantry, cavalry and elephants which were called the three limbs of the army.
  • The Venetian traveler Marco Polo says that all the bodyguards of the king burnt themselves in the funeral pyre of the dead king.

Revenue Administration:

  • The Cholas paid attention to irrigation and used rivers such as Kaveri for this purpose. Raja Raja I conducted a land survey during his time in order to fix the governments’ share of land revenue.
  • In addition to land tax, income was derived from tolls on trade, taxes on professionals and also from plunder of the neighbouring territories.

Provincial Administration:

  • The Chola empire was divided into 9 provinces called mandalam, each under a governor called Mandala mudalis who were paid salary in the form of lands.
  • They were required to maintain an army out of the resources and maintain peace in their respective territories.

District Administration:

  • The provinces were in turn divided into districts called Nadus which were about 500 in number and were run by an autonomous assembly called Nattar.  The Chola’s Administration

Local Administration:

  • There were two types of villages at the local level in the Chola empire. One type of village consisted of people form different castes and the assembly which ran this type of village was called ‘ur’.
  • The second type of village was ‘agrahara’ type of village which were settled by brahmins in which most of the land was rent-free.
  • The assembly of this agrahara type of village was a gathering of the adult men in brahmana villages called ‘Sabha’ or ‘mahasabha’.
  • These villages enjoyed a large measure of autonomy. The affairs of the village were managed by an executive committee to which educated person owning property were elected either by drawing lots or by rotation.
  • These members had to retire every three years. There were other committees for helping in the assessment and collection of land revenue for the maintenance of law and order, justice etc.
  • One of the important Committee was the tank committee which looked after the distribution of water to the fields.
  • The mahasabha could settle new lands and exercise ownership rights over them. It could also raise loans for the village and levy taxes.
  • The self-government enjoyed by the Chola villages was a very fine system. However, the growth of feudalism tended to restrict their autonomy. The Chola’s Administration



Medieval History

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