CHENNAI: Many places near Kanchipuram have historic connections dating back to the Chola era, one such being Koozhamandal. The deity enshrined in the main sanctum of the Vishnu temple in Koozhamandal is Pesum Perumal, also known as Varadaraja Perumal.
This grand image is more than six feet tall in a standing posture. In the upper two arms, Perumal
holds the conch (Sankha) and the discus (Chakra). The lower right hand is in abhaya hasta (blessing) and the lower left hand is in uru-hasta (resting on the thigh).
To the left and right side of this image are Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi There is no separate shrine for Goddess Lakshmi in this temple but the utsava-murti (processional image) of Perundevi Thayar, the consort of Pesum Perumal along with other bronze utsava-murtis of Venugopala Svami with Rukmini and Satyabhama, are worshipped in the main sanctum.
The mantapa in front of the central shrine has stone sculptures of the Azhvars (twelve important Vishnu devotees) and Acharyas (preceptors) and at the end of this mantapa, facing the deity is a stone image of
Koozhamandal has a history going back at least to the era of the mighty Cholas of Tanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram. An inscription in this village records the name Koozhamandal. Donative inscriptions in the Siva temple in this place, originally called Gangaikonda Cholisvaram, provide 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 writer is a historian who focuses on temple architecture