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Write short notes on – Kingdoms of the south, The Silk Route.

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1) Kingdoms of the South: The southern kingdoms of the post-Mauryan period comprised Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas.

Cheras: The Cheras were also known as Keralaputras. They ruled over Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu. Vanji was the capital of the Cheras. There are references of continuous strife of the Cheras with Cholas and Pandyas. Trade was an important aspect of this dynasty. Sources inform that Cheras had trade relations with Rome and Egypt.
Neduncheralathan was a very famous Chera ruler. Sources inform that the mighty ruler had moved in war with the Cholas and the Pandyas. As a brave ruler, Neduncheralathan had also captured the Roman fleet.

Cholas: The Cholas were the most powerful dynasties of south India. Their capital was Uraiyur. Karikala is believed to have been the most powerful Chola ruler. He fought against the Cheras and the Pandyas. He also worked hard to enhance the trade between different territories.

Pandyas: Pandyas ruled the present day area of Madurai. Known for their excellent trading activities, pearl was the most important item of their export. Nedunchezhiyan was one of the most significant ruler of the Pandyan dynasty. He is known to have fought against the Cheras and the Cholas and defeated both of them. He encouraged art and literature. The third Sangam that was held at Madurai is believed to have been convened during his rule.

2) The Silk Route: The Silk Route was called so because the main item of trade along his route was silk itself. Chinese were the first to produce and trade silk through the Silk Route.

The Silk Route was like a profit-earning avenue for the different kingdom lying on its way. Therefore, they tried to gain control over this route. One of the best way to control this route was by providing protection to the traders from the attacks of the robbers. In return of the protection, the merchant used to pay the rulers with handsome sum of money. This way both ruler and merchants benefitted. The merchants got the protection and the rulers got the control over the valuable trading route.

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