India over centuries has seen the rise and fall of some of the greatest empires. Cholas who ruled for more than 1,500 years were one of the longest-reigning empires.

Their contributions in terms of culture, art and architecture can still be witnessed. Here are 8 of their greatest contributions.

Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur Considered one of the finest architectural marvels, Thanjai Periya Kovil or Peruvudaiyar Kovil, is a temple located on the banks of river Kaveri in the Thanjavur dedicated to lord Shiva.

The dancing figure of Shiva The well-known Nataraja is believed to be developed under the patronage of the Chola Dynasty. The bronze sculpture dates back to the 12th century and is currently on display at the National Museum in New Delhi.

Chola bronze casting Another great contribution of the Cholas was their bronze casting. Believed to have originated 5000 years ago, they used a technique known as the lost-wax casting technique or Cire Perdue, which ensured each sculpture was unique.

Kamba Ramayanam and Periyapuranam The Chola dynasty also promoted literature and gave us one of the most important pieces of literature — Kamba Ramayanam by Kambar and Periyapuranam by Sekkizhar.

Periyapuranam the lives of the sixty-three Nayanars, and Kamba Ramayana is a version of Ramayana written based on Valmiki’s Ramayana.

Chola temple jewellery The Chola Temple Jewellery, as the name signifies, has idols of gods and goddesses covered in chunky artful pieces of gold jewellery. These jewels have depictions of gods and goddesses to celebrate and show respect to the idols.

Gangaikondacholapuram temple Named after the village Gangaikonda Cholapuram, which served as the capital for 250 years, the temple showcases a beautiful display of Chola art and architecture with sculptures brought from states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Bengal as war trophies.

Kanjeevaram silk sarees The famous Kanjeevaram silk sarees were also a contribution of the Cholas. Initially crafted in the city of Kancheepuram, it is believed King Rajaraja I invited weavers from Saurashtra to settle in Kanchipuram and establish looms.

Airavatesvara Temple, Kumbakonam Located in Thanjavur, the temple is another example of Chola architecture. Built by emperor Rajendra II during the 12th century, it is dedicated to Shiva in the form of Airavata, the kings of heaven.