In the 11th century a Pandyan Prince Manavikraman was attacked by dacoits while he and his subjects camped on the banks of the river Periyar. He was instantly assisted by a sixteen year old boy who arrived on an elephant along with a group of tribal warriors. The young boy who led the warriors dissipated the dacoits and rescued the Prince.
Manavikrama Pandyan had, a few years before the incident, abdicated his throne as the supreme ruler of Madurai. After installing his brother, Soundra Pandyan, on the throne, he settled down in Gudaloor for a few years carving out a kingdom called Pandyamandalam. He then moved further south seeking a new place to establish a new kingdom.
Manavikrama Pandyan is the founder of the Poonjar Dynasty. Read more about how he founded the Poonjar Dynasty here.
The Poonjar Koickal Devaswom was established by the members of the Poonjar Royal family more than two hundred years back. During times of monarchy, the role of the temple was many. It served as a traditional school where knowledge was imparted, a cultural hub for the arts, it was also where administrative matters like tax collection were dealt with and the treasures of the kingdom were always kept in the temple. The temple centered on the needs of the state and the people who it served.
In time the purposes have changed and the Poonjar Koickal Devaswom has tried to adapt itself to changing times while being engaged in the constant endeavour to continue the thousand year traditions and ritualistic practices to absolute perfection.
Tantri Kantararu Mohanaru of Tazhamon Madom officiate over the tantric rituals of all the temples run by the Devaswom.
Tazhamon Madom also officiates over the tantric traditions of the Sabarimala Temple.
Presently Poonjar Koickal Devaswom has around nine temples which are managed directly by officials comprising of members of the Poonjar Royal family. The head office of the Devaswom is located in the Poonjar Dharma Shasta temple premises, close to the Poonjar palace in Panichipara.
The history of the royal family and how they decided to settle on the banks of the Meenachil river can be read here.