Cultural developments in Early Medieval India
Most of the languages spoken in the northern, southern, and eastern parts of India, such as Bengali, Assamese Oriya, Marathi, etc. are some examples.
The rich literature created in those languages started to replace the Sanskrit literature hegemony of the past.
The Tamil version of the Ramayana, written by Kamban, was a popular work written in the regional language under the Cholas around this time.
Likewise, Pampa composed Vikramarjuna-Vijaya in Kannada in Karnataka, popularly known as Pampa Bharat.
Nanniah translated several parts of Mahabharata into Telugu in the Andhra region. This was later completed in the XIII century by poet Tikkanna.
Significant works written in Sanskrit during this time were the kathasaritasagara a compilation of novels, the Rajtarangini, a detailed account of the Kings of Kashmir written by Kalhana and the Gita Govinda, a piece of devotional literature based on the theme of love between Radha and Krishna, by Jayadeva in Bengal under the kings of the Pala.
Temple-building was another practice that earned royal patronage. The temples reflected the strength and prestige of the kings who founded them.
In this time, the three forms of temple architecture that developed during the era are known as the styles Nagara, Dravida and Vesara (mixed).
The signature feature of temples Nagara style was the high tower or dome called the Shikhara.
Temples constructed in this style were spread across large parts of northern India, particularly in Central India, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Orissa.
Nevertheless, there were distinctive regional features, also within the general Nagara style. Any of the excellent examples of this architecture are the temple of Lingaraja in Bhuvaneshwar, the temple of the Sun in Konark and the temple of Kandariya Mahadeva, founded in Khajuraho by the kings of Chandella.
South India is home to the Dravida style of architecture. Under the reign of the Kings of Chola, it achieved the height of its glory.
Several major features of this theme are garbhagriha, vimanas, mandapa, and gopurams.
The garbhagriha was the inner sanctum which housed the chief-deity devoted to the temple.
The vimanas were the various tales that were constructed over the garbhagriha.
The mandapa was a chamber, set before the garbhagriha, with various carved pillars.
The gopurams were the lofty gates that enclosed the entire temple complex along the high walls.
A significant example of this style is the Brihadishvara temple which was built at Tanjore by Chola king Rajaraja.
The Vesara temples displayed a mixed theme.
They were mainly founded under the patronage of the Chalukyas, and are located near Badami (Karnataka) in Pattadakal.
Throughout this time, the art of creating sculptures was also greatly improved.
The bronze portraits of Nataraja were an important contribution of the Chola artists in this regard. Such pictures reflect Siva in his divine dance, and their rhythm and harmony are unmatched.