Madayi Kavu Bhagawathi
This temple is one of the most important Bhadra Kali Temples of Malabar . It is situated near Payyannur railway station of Kannur district. The Goddess is also called “Thiruvar kadu Bhagawathi”. People mainly worship her to get the effects of black magic removed. Unlike other Bhagawathi temples , Meat is offered as Naivedyam at this temple.Marco Polo the Italian traveler has mentioned about this temple in his memoirs. Historians believe that this temple is very ancient and at least one thousand years old. There is a belief that this Goddess was created by Lord Shiva to kill an asura called Dharuka and after killing the asura along with the Saptha Mathrukas , this Goddess wanted to stay in that place . Shiva granted her wish and even today she is considered as a daughter of Lord Shiva. Another story tells that this Goddess was initially consecrated in Thaliparamba Raja Rajeswara temple . But since the Goddess wanted Meat to be offered to her during worship, a separate temple was built in Madayi and the idol shifted there
The idol of the goddess is made of Concentrated Jaggery (Kadu Sarkara) and so the Abhisheka(Ritual bath) is given to a metal idol , sanctified in the temple. The Goddess has an extremely fierce look with four hands and face resembling the fire at deluge. The priests worshipping the metal idol are the Namboodiri Brahmins. The priests of the Statute of Madayi Bhagawathi are called Moosads or Moothad or Pidara . They are Brahmins who are non vegetarian by nature. They offer Thanthric worship to the Goddess. It seems one upon a time the priests were not Brahmins but over years when people were not able to bear the fierce nature of the Goddess , the Brahmin worship was introduced. Nowadays The goddess is offered Ash Gourd instead of meat and fish and Tender coconut water instead of toddy.
As soon as you enter the temple you would see a Shiva temple , There over a Peeta covered with silk , a sword called Nandakam representing the Bhagawathi is kept.. The main temple of Bhagawathi which is a few yards south of the Shiva temple faces the west. Towards the left of her temple the idols of the Saptha Mathrukas( The seven mothers) who accompanied her in the war with Dharuka can be seen. In the front in a an enclosure the metal idol is consecrated .
Though initially there were four annual festivals in the temple, as of now the major festivals which are celebrated are Pooram in the month of Meenam(March-April) and kalasam in the month of Medam. The pooram festival is celebrated for seven days and the Kalasam festival only lasts for a few hours. It is believed that all annual festivals of Northern Kerala end for the year with the celebration of Kalasam at this temple.
The Kalasa Uthsavam was so being called as Perum Kaliyattam(Big play of Kali) or Kalioyattam is observed in the festival . The main rituals are in the afternoon when eight people who dress up as the forms of Goddesses like Kalariyil Bhagawathi, Chuzhali Bhagawathi , Someswari, Padi Kutthi along with the main form of goddess “Veera Chamundi’. These Goddess forms go round the Kalasa(Sacred pot) and offer worship three times to it . Then there is a sport called Kalasa Thallu( The physical fight of the Kalasa , done with bare hands.)
Another important ritual in this temple is a fishing in a near by river which is called “Kavu Pidi”( catch of the temple). The first of month of Edavam (May-june) and the previous day of the Kalasam are considered more propitious for Kavu Pidi. People believe that fishes caught are the Prasada ( ritual gifts) of the Goddess and buy them at huge cost..
The article in Wikipedia about the temple says in conclusion“The temple was spared from destruction by Tipu Sultan (whose followers destroyed the nearby Vadukunnu Temple). The Madayi Kavu temple was saved from destruction by a Nair warrior, Vengayil Chathukutty Nayanar, who received the title of Nayanar from the temple authorities for his bravery (Sthanaperu). Till this day members of the Vengayil Nayanar family are held in high esteem at the temple.”