The legacy of the Cholas, its monumental temples, were discovered by accident when in 1838 an English explorer while hacking his way through the dense jungles of Southern India, Tamil Nadu to be precise, came across what would later be dubbed the erotic temples of India because of the lurid and lucid sculptures, carvings and engravings that adorn the walls of these temples.
The temples were discovered in the same manner that Henri Mouhot discovered the lost temples of Angkor. Henri Mouhot after working in Siam was travelling through Cambodia collecting zoological and botanical samples when while cutting his way through the dense forests of Cambodia he stumbled across the temples of Angkor.
The first question that comes to mind with regards to both these temples is; are these temples in any way connected? I don’t believe that they are and I am certain that we are dealing with two distinct and separate blends of Hinduism. For starters the Cholas are Shaivites and the Angkor temples at a first glance look to be built by Vaishnavites.
The Cholas have left us with many unanswered questions for example who they were or if they were indigenous or otherwise and the discreet and secretive blend of Hinduism that they practiced which gave them the ability to build these mammoth architectural splendors remains a mystery.
The first question is easy enough. The Cholas were indigenous or as indigenous as a people can be but there are two possible points of origin that date back to about 3300 BC.
They are by no means a new people and it’s fair to say that they have been around for sometime but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be around for much longer and by the turn of the century the Cholas or what remains of them or those that carry the Chola genes will no longer be there simply because of migration and mixed-marriages.
Now the Cholas carry the designation thevar behind their names and a bulk of the Chola army though they are known as thevars are kallars. According to a study done by the department of human genetics and anthropology, university of Madras and the anthropology and the human genetics unit of the university of Kolkata, West Bengal India, titled genetic structure of the early immigrants (Mukkalathor) – the term Mukkalathor means the people of the three clans who are collectively known as thevars (kallars, maravars, and agamudaiyars) the kallars may be one of the first tribes to migrate out of north Africa – Southern Europe and places their point of origin in the Sinai Peninsula.
However, we have to keep in mind that most of the early Eurasian migrants to the subcontinent took the route along the Nile across the Sinai Peninsula and went all the way according to some sources to North Australia. Now there is another interesting fact that I am going to point out here.
The kallars, as was the norm with the Cholas, were a fully militarized caste and one of the weapons they used is a valari or a boomerang and it was used by the Chola army. Likewise the indigenous people of Australia also use boomerangs so there are some similarities there.
Assuming that the Cholas were migrants or early migrants and if I was to set a migration date it would be between 3300 BC – 1300 BC or during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, it started to decline at about 1300 BC, and the most significant factor that led to the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, as far as I am concerned is migration.
I don’t think the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization was precipitated by war but rather the natural inflow of people or a movement of one group of people from one point to another and sometimes depending on their frailties, the original inhabitants could have succumbed to illnesses.
The original inhabitants of the Indus Valley observed a very strict diet and from all accounts they were mostly ascetics or people deeply stooped in religious practices as were the Cholas as made evident by the hundreds if not thousands of temples that they’d constructed all over South India and these type of strict adherence to religious practices requires an adherence to specific diets and as a result future generations, a few hundred years or so down the track, may not have the ability to withstand or combat various common illnesses.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward