Lokanarkavu temple

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Lokanar Kavu Bhagawathi

By

P.R.Ramachander

This is famous temple of the Goddess Durga situated in a place called Meemunda which is about 5 km from Badagara town (87 km from Calicut airport) . The name is derived from loka malayar Kavu ( Indicating that it is a situated near a mountain and river and is one of this earth). The temple is specially famous for it being the temple where the Very famous Hero of Kerala, Sri Thacholi Othenan worshipped. Due to this the temple is mentioned in most of the Vadakkan Pattu verses( Ballad of heroism of the northern part) . Even today those people who get trained in “Kalari Payithu”(Martial art form of Kerala) come to this temple after the completion of their training to worship here. Most of the devotees believe that the temple is about 1500 years old. There are several stories relating to its origin.
One of them is that it was found by a group of 500 Aryan Brahmins who migrated to this place .These Brahmins were traders and slowly adapted the customs of Nayars of this place. It is believed that the goddess followed these Aryans from the previous place of stay. Slowly this community got in to marital ties with the local nairs and became one of them.
The other story is that there was a quarrel among the family members of the Zamorin royal family about a thousand years back and one part of the family crossed the river and settled in Badagara(northern shore) . They brought along with them an idol of the Goddess and established a temple for her . They chose a place which was near the already existing temples of Shiva and Vishnu.
Yet another story is that a group of merchants of Kollam , belonging to caste of Ravari Nayars (see the write up on Pisharikkavu) migrated to Malabar and brought with them the idol of this Goddess. It seems they wanted to settle in a place , where people are truthful. Wherever they went they gave a pot of Sugar for safe keeping in a house. Inside the sugar , they hid a bar of gold. Wherever they gave this, the people stole the gold bar and returned the vessel to them. But in Badagara , a family called “Puthu panathu”, returned the gold along with the sugar. It seems these Ravari nayars settled down in that place and built a temple for their goddess in Lokanar Kovil. It seems later this group of people had a quarrel with the local population and shifted to a place called Nada Puram. It is also believed that this entire community was converted in to Islam after the conquest by Tipu Sultan.
There is one yearly pooram festival in the month of Meenam (March-April) and It is celebrated for a period of eight days On the fifth and sixth day there is a dance by Theyyambadi kurup which attracts a large crowd. On the eighth day there is arattu( Ceremonial bath of the deity in the river). On this day the Goddess is taken to the nearby Shiva temple and the story of the Goddess is sung there (Poora Pattu).There is also performance of a dance form resembling Kalari Payithu called “Poora Kali”
The month of Vruschigam (October-Novamber ) is celebrated as “Mandala Vilakku” . The Three thousand oil lamps which are there in the outer walls of the temple are lit during this time.