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    Sri Pesumperumal Temple, Koozhamandal

    It is a well-known fact that Kanchipuram was the capital-city of the ancient Pallava dynasty from 5th century A.D. to the 9th century A.D. Not so well-known is the fact that after the fall of the Pallavas, the Cholas ruled over Kanchipuram and the surrounding villages which were part of their far-flung empire. Many places in these areas therefore have historic connections dating back to the Chola era. One such place is Koozhamandal, approximately 18km from Kanchipuram on the route to Vandavasi, in Tiruvannamalai District. This place, now known as Koozhamandal, was also called as Koozhampandal. Historic places around this area with ancient temples are Arpakka, Kavantandalam, Magaral, Mamandur and Uttiramerur.

    Sri Pesumperumal Temple, Koozhamandal.jpg

    The deity enshrined in the main sanctum-sanctorum of this Vishnu temple is Koozhamandal is Sri Pesumperumal, also known as Sri Varadaraja Perumal. This is a very grand image, more than 6ft in height in a standing posture wearing a long Salagrama mala. In his upper two arms, Perumal holds the conch and the discus. His lower right hand is in abhaya hasta and his lower left hand is in gada-hasta (as though resting on his mace). To the left and right side of this main image (moola vigraha) stand Sri Devi and Bhu Devi (Ubhaya Nachiyar). The processional deity, also wearing a salagrama garland, is exactly like the main image and he too is flanked by Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. There is no separate sanctum for Goddess Lakshmi in this temple in worship at present. The utsava-murti of Perundevi Thayar, the consort of Sri Pesumperumal, along with other bronze utsava-murtis of Sri Venugopala Swami with Rukmini and Satyabhama, are worshipped in this sanctum.

    The long and spacious mandapam in front of the central shrine has the stone sculptures of the Azhwars and Acharyas like Mudal Azhwars, Nammazhwar, Andal, Periazhwar, Tirumazhisai, Azhwar, Ramanuja and Manavala Mamuni in worship. At the end of this mandapam, facing the deity is a stone icon of Garuda.

    Just like the main sanctum, the temple campus is also very small, but it was huge in the times bygone. Over the years, due to weathering and neglect, this temple was in a very dilapidated condition. With the help of local temple and devotees, the samprokshanam was performed on 27th June, 2002. Since then, efforts have been made to build the sanctums for Thayar, Azhwars, Acharyas, Andal, the compound wall, sacred kitchen (madapalli), gopuram and also repairing of the temple tank, digging a well and laying out a garden. The temple tank is called Ananta Pushkarini and also a Chetti Kulam and the sacred tree in this temple is Parijatam.

    The rituals and festivals of this temple are conducted according to the Vaikhanasa Agama. Tamil New Year, Vaikhasi Visakam, Tiruvadipuram, Krishna Jayanti, Purattasi Saturdays, Deepavali, Vishnu Kartikai Deepam, Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Hanuman Jayanthi, Koodaravalli, Pongal, Ratha Sapthami, Masi Magham, Panguni Uttiram and Sri Rama Navami are celebrated here. Every month on Saturdays and on Tiruvonam Nakshatram, in the early morning, special Tirumanjanam is performed for the deity.

    The village of Koozhamandal has a history going back at-least to the era of the mighty Cholas of Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram. An inscription in this village records the name Koozhamandal. An explanation offered for this name is that Koozhan is the name for jackfruit tree and pandal means a road. This was probably a village by which there was a road lined with jackfruit trees. Donative inscriptions in the Siva temple in this village, originally called Gangaikonda Cholisvaram and now called Jagannathesvarar temple, give plenty of information about the history of this place. The contents of these inscriptions reveal that this village was originally called Vikramachola Puram. This Siva temple was constructed during the time of Rajendra Chola I (1012 1044 A.D.). It is entirely possible that the Vishnu temple is also of this time. The location of the Vishnu and Siva temples in this village are according to the requirements of the Agamas and also the Vastu Sastra and thus reveal that this township came up in the Chola times and was laid out in conformity with the rules of these texts.
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