Location of Poonjar
Poonjar is a place of historic importance. It is situated on the north-eastern part of Kottayam district of Kerala. Poonjar is a town at the foothills of Western Ghats Mountain Range in India. It hails its noble history as the capital of Poonjar Kingdom.
History of Poonjar
The Poonjar dynasty originated from the Pandyan Kings of the Sangam Age. The founder of the dynasty, Manavikrama Kulashekhara Perumal, was a Pandyan king whose mother was a Chera princess. In 1152 AD, Manavikrama Kulashekhara Perumal shifted from Madurai due to the incessant civil wars in Tamil Country. Manavikrama Kulashekhara Perumal carried one of the three idols of Meenakshi, their "Kula Devata", which was used in the annual car festival at the famed Madurai Meenakshi Temple. It was established as a "pratishta" in the Meenakshi temple where it currently sits, on the banks of the Meenachil River. Manavikrama Kulashekhara Perumal established political connections in present day Kerala by giving his daughter in marriage to the then Edapally Raja. Kochi was not yet an established kingdom. During the height of its glory in the 17th and 18th century AD, the Poonjar dynasty had suzerainty over the present day Idukki District and Kottayam districts, parts of Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala. They also held sway over the districts of Ramnad and parts of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The Palani hills were also part of the Poonjar kingdom. In July 1877, among other leases, Kerala Varma Raja, then chief of the royal house leased 128,000 acres for 99 years, to a British planter named Thomas Munro. This is the famous Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company (KDHP) lease. The area under the current Mullaperiyar Dam was part of their jurisdiction. Their neighbour to the south, Travancore, whose territorial boundary was Kottarakara, did not dispute the actual control until 1889.
Geography of Poonjar
Poonjar is divided into Poonjar Thekkekara, Poonjar Vadakkekkara and Poonjar Nadubhagam villages. Two main tributaries of Meenachil River originate in Poonjar hills and join at Erattupetta. There are numerous waterfalls and rivulets in the hills. Kunnonny, Adivaram, Pathambuzha, Kaippally are some of the nearest villages.
Administration of Poonjar
Poonjar is one of the 140 legislative assembly constituencies of Kerala state. The assembly constituency is part of Pathanamthitta (Lok Sabha constituency). Previously it was part of Muvattupuzha (Lok Sabha constituency).
Culture of Poonjar
Poonjar is secular in nature. There are so many temples, churches and mosques in Poonjar and Erattupetta. The oldest Church- St. Mary's Church Poonjar, Maniamkunnu Church- Sacred Heart Church, Little Flower Monastery Church, Poonjar Thekkekara, Franciscan Clarist Convent Maniamkunnu -oldest convent.