The myth is about a fierce and ferocious demon(Asura) by name darika.He caused intense suffering to the gods and rishis. The gods could not do anything to counter his attacks.They were completely terror- stricken. Finally they approached lord Mahadeva(siva) and requested him to help them. The lord opened his burning third eye. Out came a goddess, more fierce and ferocious than the demons.With weapons in all her hands,she challenged darika in battle and killed him. The goddess was known as Bhadrakali because she came out of the fiery eye of lord shiva, she was considered as her daughter.
After killing dharika , goddess Bhadrakali did not know where she should settle. She approached her father,lord shiva, and requested him to help her in finding a holy abode.The god entrusted the qork to sage parasurama, his faithfull disciple Parasurama took a holy conch and threw it with all his might into the sea. The sea retreated cout came a rocky hill. The thus- reclamated place came to be called ‘Maduayi’ or ‘Madayi’ (a place which became a raised place or hill) and the temple came to be known as Maddayikavu. Because the conch thrown by parasurama moved through the air waving and rolling and the whole surroundings trambled when it fell into the sea, the temple build there also came to be called as Thiruvakattu kavu(a temple shonby the holy waving)
There is also another myth connected with the construction of the temple of madayi.
The Mooshika royal dynasty is considered to be one of the oldest aristocracies. This dynasty had its first capital at Ezhimala, about 10 kms north of payangadi. It was this dynasty which latyer came to be known as Kolathiri royal dynasty. King satasoma, the eleventh king of the Mushika dynasty built the famous RajaRasjeshwara temple at taliparamba. There was also a shrine for goddess Bhadrakali in the temple premises.
Time passed. The goddess was not happy with the food which she got as offerings in the temple. She wanted meat and liquor which were prohibited in the temple. Conch night, she appeared before the then mushika king in a dream and told him that she wanted meat and liquor. She told him that she herself would find a new place for her. The next day, the Velichapadu( divine oracle) of the temple ran in spiritual frenzy into the holy temple kitchen where offerings to the gods were cooked, took a burning firewood and threw it with all might. The firewood fell miles away from Taliparamba in Payangadi. The place where the firewood fell came to be known s Eripuram(village of burning fire). The temple built there came to be known as Thiruvirakukattu kavu (a temple shown by the holy firewood). In course of time, both the names. Thirivirakattu kavu and Thiruvirakukattukavu got joined in the abridged name Thiruvarkattukavu
The real reason for the shifting of the temple from taliparamba to Madayi, according to historical facts , is the shift that existed between the Namboodiri Community of Perinchellur(Taliparamba) and the kings. It was actually a conflict for power between priesthood and kingship. The aristrocratic namboodiris of Taliparamba wanted to assert their authority over the kings. The kings reisted. The namboodiris who were the official priests of the kings refused to perform their religious duties. Finally, the king had to bring 237 brahmin families from Karnataka. They were known as Tulu Brahmins. The royal dynasty had to shift the sanctum sanctorum of goddess bhadrakali from Taliparamba. A temple was constructed at Madayi and the idol consecrated. This took place in 344AD. This is revealed by the inscription on a copper plate which was recovered from the old palace of the king. The antiquity of the temple is established by this copper plate inscription.
Main Shrine and Subshrine
The main shrine of goddess bhadrakali faces opposite the main entrance and hence is not visible from outside. The goddess sits in the opposite direction to the entrance with eyes looking to the black of the temple. The shrine that you see when you enter the temple is that of lord shiva. . When you, circumambulate the temple, you ahve to first worship at the temple protector, lord shiva and the sapthamathukaal or the seven mother goddess(Brahmani,Vaishnavi, Mahaswami, Indrani,Kaumari,Varahi,and Chamundi).Finally,you come to the shrine of goddess bhadrakali.
The Shiva shrine faces East, while the Bhadrakali shrine faces towards the West. The priests at the temple even though Brahmins are not Namboothiris, they are Pidarar Brahmins, belong to a particular sect associated with Kali worship, and are not barred from consumption of meat. A particular aspect of the Madayi Kavu(Thiruvarkadu Bhagavathi Temple) is Kozhi Kalasham, which is the sacrifice of poultry for the goddess which is held in high regard.
The Nandakam is the sword of the goddess. Whenever the goddess is taken out in procession ,a pidaran(member of the community who performs pujas in the Madayi kavu temple) carries the sword also. When special poojas are performed, the sword is placed in the Mandapam.
In kerala, the is consecrated by a vedic scholar known as Tantri. Usually he hails from a namboodiri family. There are many famous Tantric families in kerala. The tantric is supposed to be the father of deity since he performs the kalasapooja and gives life and chaithanya to the deity. He is in short, the priest of priests. The tantriv rites in Madayikavu temple are performed by a famous Namboodiri family or illam called Kattumadam.
Priests or Pujaris
Since meat and liquor are the famous food and drink of Bhadrakali, the priests are not Namboodiris.They belong to the Pidaran Community and are called pidarans. They wear the sacred threadbut are not vegetarians. They are Saktheya Brahmins and hence perform the saktheya pooja( pooja in which meat and liquor are offered to the goddess).
The main festival of the temple is the pooram festival. It starts from karthika in the month of Meenam and ends on Pooram day. The festival continues for 9 days.The Bali Bimba (a small idol) fully ornamented , is taken everyday early in the morning to the nearly fort. Poojas are conducted. A temple art known as Poorakkali is also performed. The festival ends on pooram day. After the holy immersion ceremony in the nearly Vadakunnu lake, the idol is taken back to the temple. ii) On Thulam, Vrishchika, Sankrandy and Makaram 13, a special rite known as Kalathilari is performed .Rice is put in a square drawn on the holy Mandapam before the sacred sword, nandakam, of the goddess . A prayer intended for the welfare and prosperity of the land and the people is sung by a person known as Theyyampadi. After pooja, the rice is strewn on the heads of devotees standing nearly. .