Lokanarkavu Temple is located in Kozhikode District of Kerala. Lokanarkavu is a short form of Lokamalayarkavu which means lokam (world) made of mala (mountain), aaru (river) and kavu (grove). It is the official family temple of the 500 Aryan Nagariks who had migrated to Kerala and their successors.
The main deity in the Lokanarkavu temple is Goddess Durga. It is adjacent to two shrines dedicated to the Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva. The dance, performed during the festival is Thacholikali. It resembles the martial art Kalarippayattu. Kalaripayattu artists seek the blessings of the deity of lokanarkavu temple with legendary hero Thacholi Othenan. The main temple, according to legend is 1500 years old.
Lokanarkavu Temple History
- Trade was the main occupation of the Aryans Brahmins. It was the temple built by the Aryans Brahmins. They accepted the traditions of the local Nairs and made a relationship with them. But on close examination, their customs and beliefs were evidently different from local Nair community.
- The goddess travelled with them to Lokanarkavu in the form of a lady who followed the five hundred Aryans. The successors still see this goddess as their mother and not a goddess. Othenan was a great devotee of Goddess Durga. But he had nothing to do with the establishment of Durga temple. It is evident from the fact that the goddess is Durga at Lokanarkavu and not the Kali form.
- The same applies to the local rulers who later claimed Lokanarkavu as their family goddess. All the rulers of Kerala had Goddesses with Thamasa pooja or shakteya pooja. During such poojas, there was the sacrifice of either animals or humans to praise the Lord. This tradition was not only followed by the locals but also by the Kerala Kings and later it was modified. This was one of the common practice of the locals and kings.
- In the older times, they have refused to pay taxes to the local kings of Kerala, as none of them was an Aryan. This shows that the race spirit was so high at that time. But at the same time or say at a later period they began to ignore the cast restrictions and even seemed to threaten the cast equations. But slowly they became adjusted. And more reclusive and settles around Lokanarkavu Temple areas and withdrew from all other matters of Local people.
- As time passed there were certain modifications that were made by replacing human sacrifice with cutting plantain or performing poojas with tender coconut. And cereals were meant to replace liquor and meat. Unlike this local tradition, Lokanarkavu Durga temple does not have any such traditions.
Significance of the Lokanarkavu Temple
- Thacholi Meppayil Kunjhu Othenan or more popularly Thacholi Othenanwas a legendary hero from North Kerala, a small state in south India. He lived in the 16th century. His real name was Udayana Kurup who started practising Kalarippayattu from a very young age. Later through practise, he became a skilled warrior. Legends portray him as being a merciless opponent to enemies and a friend to the helpless.
- This is the only temple where a peculiar folk dance called Thacholikali is presented during festivals. The dance, performed during the festival resembles the martial art Kalarippayattu. Even today, all Kalaripayattu artists seek the blessings of the deity before their debut due to the association of lokanarkavu temple with legendary hero Thacholi Othenan.
Lokanarkavu Temple Timings
Lokanarkavu temple remains open from 4 AM to 9 AM in the morning and 5 PM to 7 PM in the evening.
Festivals celebrated at the Lokanarkavu Temple
This main festival of the temple, which lasts for 41 days. It is held during the Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikam’ (mid-November to mid-December). It is locally known as ‘Mandalavilakku’ Festival or ‘Mandala Utsavam’. A folk dance called ‘Thacholikali’ is performed during the temple festival. ‘Thacholikali’ is similar to the traditional martial art form called ‘Kalarippayattu’. Large numbers of people from various places flock here to see this festival. People come together to lit the lamps in the temple and the sight is worth seeing.
Meenam Festival is celebrated for eight days with ‘Kodiyettam’ (flag hoisting) on the ‘Rohini’ day. The traditional dance performance of ‘Theyyambadi Kurup’ is the special attraction on the fifth and the sixth days. On the seventh day is the ‘Nadu Valam Vekka’ and ‘Pallivetta’ (holy hunt). On the ‘Pooram’ day is the ‘Poorappattu’ and ‘Poorakkali’ (a traditional dance ritual performed by men). ‘Poorakali’, conducted during the night, is a fascinating event. ‘Poorappattu’ includes the theme from the life history of the Goddess. The idol of the goddess is taken for ‘Arattu’ on the ‘Pooram’ day.
Poojas and Rituals
Earlier rulers of Kerala used to worship goddesses by following Thamasa Pooja or Shakteya Pooja. According to this pooja, either man or animal was sacrificed to the goddess. As time passed, this tradition was followed by generation to generation. It was followed by the local people as well as the kings of Kerala. Later, this tradition was replaced with chopping plantain or performing Poojas by making use of tender coconut and cereals, owing to the Aryanisation of temples.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
By Air: The nearest airport to reach Lokanarkavu Temple is Karipur International Airport (Calicut International Airport). The airport is around 87 km from Memunda.
By Train: Vadakara Railway Station (or Badagara Railway Station), managed by the Southern Railways. It is the nearest railway station to reach Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple. Situated on the Kozhikode – Mangalore railway line, some of the major trains passing through Vadakara Railway Station include Kannur Express, Parasuram Express, Mangalore Mail, Malabar Express, Chennai Mail, Maveli Express, West Coast Express, Netravathi Express, and Ernakulam Express.
By Road: Lokanarkavu Temple is situated at Memunda about 6 km from Vadakara. National Highway 17 passes through Vadakara, and the place is around 48 km north of Kozhikode. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and several private bus owners operate frequent bus services to Memunda.
Where to stay
- Hotel Paramount Tower: Hotel Paramount Tower is a luxury hotel in Calicut. It provides Wi-Fi services on its premises. The Kozhikode Beach is at 3 km from the hotel. This Calicut hotel houses 53 spacious rooms spanned across 8 floors. The rooms in this hotel are well equipped with attached bathroom, chargeable Internet connection, TV with satellite channels, minibar, and designer toiletries. There are in-house multi-cuisine restaurant and rooftop Barbeque restaurant in this hotel. The hotel facilitates currency exchange, laundry, travel desk, medical, and room services. Contact: Kozhikode, Calicut, Kerala – 673 001
- Queens Hotel: Queens Hotel in Calicut offers a total of 21 rooms which comprise of several amenities like cable television, separate sitting area, air-conditioner and an attached bathroom with supply of hot and cold water. One can easily reach from the Kozhikode railway station as it is at a distance of 1 KM from the hotel. Contact: Calicut, Kerala – 673 002
- Hotel Nalanda: Hotel Nalanda consists of 10 rooms spread over 3 floors. In-room amenities include a television, welcome amenities, makeup mirror, bottled/drinking water, attached bathroom with a hot and cold running water supply and a wardrobe. This hotel in Kozhikode is 3 km from Kozhikode Bus Stand and 30 km from Calicut International Airport. Contact: Calicut, Kerala – 673 001
- Apex Inn: Apex Inn provides 24-hour front desk assistance to its guests. This property in Calicut provides services like laundry, medical assistance and room service to its guests. Apex Inn has a power backup generator in case of emergency. One can easily reach here from the Calicut International Airport. Contact: Calicut, Kerala – 673 032
- Park Residency: Park Residency is the most happening place in town with a host of modern features like a multi-cuisine restaurant and a conference hall. There is 24/7 assistance that is provided and each room of this hotel is well equipped. Contact: Ramanattukara, Calicut, Kerala – 673 633
- The Gateway Hotel Beach Road: The Gateway Hotel Beach Road (A Taj Hotel) offers royal comforts & peace to business & leisure travellers. This hotel accommodates its guests in stylishly furnished rooms. Guests can enjoy modern facilities like fully equipped health club, rejuvenating swimming-pool, gift shop, high-speed internet access, rental cell phones, currency exchange, multi-cuisine restaurant & many such hi-end comforts are been set. Contact: P T Usha Road, Calicut, Kerala – 673 002
Where to eat
There are several food joints and restaurants nearby that serve delicious food. It is a blend of ingredients with culinary art. Here are some of the best places that serve the most luscious food in a comforting atmosphere to the tourists.
Sree Valayanad Devi Temple: The Valayanad Devi temple was built in the 14th century by the Zamorins. The temple, which faces north, has four gopurams(towers). The Devi temple at Valayanad has its own distinct identity and is different in several respects from other Devi temples in India. The poojas in this temple are performed in accordance with the practice of Guruji worship. Goddess from Kashmir known as Chandika is known as the presiding deity of this temple. The Goddess is also called Mahartham and Kalasarppini. The annual festival commences every year on the day of Karthika of Makaram and continues for seven days. There are five Moosad families residing around the Shri Valayanad Kavu.
Azhakodi Devi Temple: The samoothiri entrusted six of his generals to the temple Arikkodikkavu which is presently renowned as Azhakodi Devi mahashekthram. An idol of ‘Bhavani Devi’ was given by the samoothiri which was gifted to him by the traders of Gujarat. The generals were instructed to place the idol adjacent to the ‘Bhagavathi Idol’ in the ‘Arikkodikkavu’ sreekovil and worship the same.
Tali Mahakshetram: The Tali Siva temple was one of the two Brahmanical royal temples patronized by the Zamorin. And to this day remains one of the most important spiritual and cultural centres in Kozhikode. The temple’s date of origin is uncertain but was most likely built during the foundation of the city itself in the 12th century or before. The temple is surrounded by gigantic walls of ‘elephant belly’ (aana palla) type with a broad base and narrower neck at the top. One of the two tanks attached to the temple can be seen to the right.
Thalikkunu Shiva Temple: Thalikkunu Shiva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated in Mankave, Kozhikode, Kerala, India. The most important is the Maha Shivaratri which is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Maagha. As said Lord Shiva is the main Deity. Lord Ganapati and Ayyappa is worshipped inside the Ullambalam and Nagaraja are worshiped outside beside a big Banyan Tree.
Sree Kanteswara Temple: It is installed by the great spiritual leader Sree Narayana Guru. Sree Kanteshwara Temple is located in the southwest corner of the Kozhikode stadium at a distance of 1.5 km from the railway station. Devoted to Lord Shiva, this temple also known as Puthiyambalam has a Shiva Lingam in the Dhakshinamoorthi Sankalpa as the main deity. Besides these, many other offerings and rituals like Shodashabhishekam, Udayasthamana Pooja etc. Lord Subramanian, Sree Ganapathi, Sree Dharma Shastha, Maha Vishnu, Bhagavathi and Navagraha are the upadevathas (other deities) here. It is believed that centuries earlier a temple named Nalliswara Kshetram