Chola was a powerful southern kingdom. They were mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. They were believed to have some link with the Sivi or Sibi clan, situated along with the Sindhu Sauviras. In the time of recorded history, Chola kingdom grew into a powerful empiere. They were strong in the sea, and colonized the south east Asian countries. Pandyas, Cholas and Keralas were also mentioned in Tamil literature complementing their mention in the Sanskrit literature (constituted by Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and Vedas).
References in Mahabharata
Yudhisthira's Rajasuya Sacrifice
- Mahabharata, Book 2, Chapter 51
The Kings of Chola and Panday, brought numberless jars of gold filled with fragrant sandal juice from the hills of Malaya, and loads of sandal and aloe wood from the Dardduras hills, and many gems of great brilliancy and fine cloths inlaid with gold. The king of the Singhalas gave those best of sea-born gems called the lapis lazuli, and heaps of pearls also, and hundreds of coverlets for elephants.
- Mahabharata, Book 3, Chapter 51
All kings, even those of the Vangas and Angas and Paundras and Odras and Cholas and Dravidas and Andhakas, and the chiefs of many islands and countries on the sea-board as also of frontier states, including the rulers of the Sinhalas, the barbarous mlecchas, the natives of Lanka, and all the kings of the West by hundreds, and all the chiefs of the sea-coast, and the kings of the Pahlavas and the Daradas and the various tribes of the Kiratas and Yavanas and Sakras and the Harahunas and Chinas and Tukharas and the Sindhavas and the Jagudas and the Ramathas and the Mundas and the inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the Tanganas and the Kekayas and the Malavas and the inhabitants of Kasmira, were present in obedience to Yudhisthira's invitation (to the Rajasuya Sacrifice), performing various offices.
Kingdoms in Bharata Varsha (Ancient India)
- Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 9
There are other kingdoms in the south. They are the Dravidas, the Keralas, the Prachyas, the Mushikas, and the Vanavashikas; the Karanatakas, the Mahishakas, the Vikalpas, and also the Mushakas; the Jhillikas, the Kuntalas, the Saunridas, and the Nalakananas; the Kankutakas, the Cholas, and the Malavayakas; the Samangas, the Kanakas, the Kukkuras, and the Angara-marishas; the Samangas, the Karakas, the Kukuras, the Angaras, the Marishas: the Dhwajinis, the Utsavas, the Sanketas, the Trigartas, and the Salwasena; the Vakas, the Kokarakas, the Pashtris, and the Lamavegavasas; the Vindhyachulakas, the Pulindas, and the Valkalas; the Malavas, the Vallavas, the further-Vallavas, the Kulindas, the Kalavas, the Kuntaukas, and the Karatas; the Mrishakas, the Tanavalas, the Saniyas; the Alidas, the Pasivatas, the Tanayas, and the Sulanyas; the Rishikas, the Vidarbhas, the Kakas, the Tanganas, and the further-Tanganas.
Conquests of Vasudeva Krishna
- Mahabharata, Book 6, Chapter 9
Vasudeva Krishna defeated Vidarbhas, to win his wife Rukmini. He also won a maiden from Gandharas by defeating them. He defeated the king of Salwa and his city of Saubha, the king Naraka of Prakjyotisha and Vana of Sonita. He slayed Chedi king Sisupala and caused the death of Magadha king Jarasandha. The Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Kasis, the Kosalas, the Vatsyas, the Gargyas, the Karushas and the Paundras, all these he vanquished in battle. The Avantis, the Southerners, the Mountaineers, the Daserakas, the Kasmirakas, the Aurasikas, the Pisachas, the Samudgalas, the Kamvojas, the Vatadhanas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Trigartas, the Malavas, the Daradas difficult of being vanquished, the Khasas arrived from diverse realms, as also the Sakas, and the Yavanas with followers, were all vanquished by him.
- Mahabharata, Book 8, Chapter 12
The Cholas were on the Pandava Side
The Pandavas, headed by Bhima, advanced against the Kauravas. They consisted of Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi and the Prabhadrakas, and Satyaki and Chekitana with the Dravida forces, and the Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Keralas, surrounded by a mighty array, all possessed of broad chests, long arms, tall statures, and large eyes.
- Kingdoms of Ancient India
- From Sindhu to Hindu