Lokanarkavu Temple or Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple is situated at Memunda, about 5 km from Vadakara (or Badagara) in Kozhikode district of Kerala. Also known as Lokamalayar Kavu Temple, Lokanarkavu is derived from the Malayalam word Lokamalayarkavu which means Lokam (world) made of Mala (mountain), Aaru (river) and Kavu (grove). The presiding deity of Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple is Goddess Durga who is named as Lokanarkavilamma (Lokanarkavil Amma). This 1500-year old Goddess Durga temple has two shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The three-rock cut caves in the temple premises are beautifully engraved with carvings and murals. Lokanarkavu Temple is associated with the heroes and heroines of the Vadakkanpattu (a collection of Malayalam Ballads of medieval origin). Thacholi Othenon, the legendary martial hero of Kerala, is said to have worshipped this temple daily.
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.
Location : Lokanarkavu Temple, Memunda, Vatakara, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
Gods : Durga
Landmark : Nearest Airport : The nearest airport to reach Lokanarkavu Temple is Karipur International Airport (Calicut International Airport), located at Karipur in the Malappuram district, Kerala. The airport is around 87 km from Memunda. Nearest Railway Station : Vadakara Railway Station (also spelt Badagara Railway Station), managed by the Southern Railways, 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. Nearest Bus Station : 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.
Two annual festivals are celebrated here during the Malayalam months of Vrischikam (November - December) and Meenam (March - April).
This main festival of the temple, which lasts for 41 days, is held during the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (mid November to mid December). It is locally known as Mandalavilakku Festival or Mandala Utsavam. The unique feature of the festival is that it is only here 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. Another attraction is that all the lamps on the walls of the Lokanarkavu Bhaghawathi Temple are lit on the occasion.
Meenam Festival at Lokanarkavu Temple is celebrated for eight days with Kodiyettam (flag hoisting) on the Rohini day and the Arattu (holy bath) on the Pooram 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 night, is a fascinating event. Poorappattu includes theme from the life history of the Goddess. The idol of the goddess is taken for Arattu on the Pooram day.