Chola Administration

The Chola kings followed a highly efficient system of’ administration. The entire Tanjore district, parts of’Trichy, Pudukottai and South Arcot districts formed the part of’ the Chola Mandalam. The Cholas had three major administrative divisions called Central Government, Provincial Government and Local Government. Tanjore was the capital of the Cholas. The efficient Chola administrative system has been well appreciated by many historians and rulers.

King ship

The king was the head of the administration. The Chola kings and Queens were considered as representatives of God. Their idols were kept in temples. The Chola kingship was hereditary. The Chola royal family followed the principle that eldest son should succeed the king to the Chola throne. The heir apparent was called Yuvaraja, The Chola monarchs enjoyed enormous powers and privileges. The Chola kings took up titles which marked their achievements. They lived in very big royal palaces. Kings were assisted by ministers and officials in their administration. Chola kings had tiger as their royal emblem.

Central Government

The Central Government t under the headship of the King. Council of ministers and officials took active part in running the administration of Central Government. The higher officials were called Peruntaram and the lower officials were called Siruntaram.

Provincial Administration

The Chola Empire was divided into nine provinces. They were also called mandalams. The head of the province was called viceroy. Close relatives of kings were appointed as viceroys. The Viceroys were in constant touch with the Central Government. Viceroys received orders from the king. They sent regular reply to the king. The viceroys had a large number of officials to assist them in the work of administration.
Administrative Divisions: The success of the Chola administration depended more on the proper functioning of the administrative division us. Generally mandalams were named after the original names or the titles of the Chola kings. Each mandalam was divided into number of Kottams or Valanadus. Each kottam was sub divided into nadu. Each nadu was further divided into (Urs) villages which form part of the last unit of the administration. Uttaramerur inscriptions speak about the administration of the Cholas.


The land revenue was the main source of income of the Chola Government. Proper land survey was made. Lands were classified as taxable land and non taxable land. There were many grades in the taxable lands. Land revenue differed according to these grades. Generally 1/6 of the land yield was collected as tax either in cash or in kind or both according to the convenience of the farmers. Besides land revenue, there were some other sources of income like customs and tolls. Taxes on mines, ports, forests and salt pans were collected. Professional tax and house tax were also collected. Many other taxes were levied. Tax burden was more on the society. Sometimes due to failure of rain and famine people could not pay tax.


The Cholas had an efficient army and navy. The Chola army consisted of elephant, cavalry and infantry. Soldiers were given proper training. Commanders enjoyed the ranks of nayaks and senapathis. The army was divided into 70 regiments. The Chola arm had 60,000 elephants. Very costly Arabian horses were imported to strengthen the cavalry. The Chola kings defeated the Cheras at Kandalur salai. The kings of Ceylon and Maldives were also defeated. The Chola navy was formidable one in South India. With the help of their navy the Cholas controlled Coromandal and Malabar coasts. Bay of Bengal became the Chola lake. The Chola army and navy together had 1,50,000 trained soldiers. The armies of the tributary chieftains also joined Chola army at needy times. Generally the Chola army was led by the King or Yuvaraja.


The Chola king was the chief justice. The Chola kings gave enough care for the judicial administration. The village level judicial administration was carried on by the village assembly. Minor disputes were heard by the village assembly. Disputes were settled with proper evidences. Punishments were awarded by the judicial officers. The trial of serious offences and major cases were conducted by the king himself.