The myth

There is a myth about the origin of the Chinakkathoor temple which goes back to the Ramayana period. Rama and Lakshmana were wandering in search of Sita when they reached Vilwadri (the Vilwa Mountain). They told lord Ayyappa and Bhagavathy who were accompanying them to find a place to take rest. When they did not return even after a long time, Rama and Lakshmana went looking for them and found them taking rest at the top of the hill. The myth has it that an angry Rama pushed lord Ayyappa down to the south and gave a good beating to Bhagavathy. (The shrine of lord Ayyappa at Vilwadri temple is situated in a lower part from the rest of the structure now- like a pit and the deity is called kundile ayyappan or Ayyappa in the pit!)

      

Beaten up by Rama, Bhagavathy ran away from there crying “ayyayyo” and stopped running when she reached Chinakkathoor, Palappuram and took position there, facing the north.

      

The temple faces to the south today. There is a myth regarding this as well.

      

In the year of 1757, Samoothiri and his army were on their way to attack Paliathachan. When the king and his retinue reached Palappuram, he noticed that the palanquin bearers have stopped moving. When enquired about this, he was informed that there resided the most benevolent Bhagavathy who is sure to hear the prayers of the devotees.

      

Samoothiri got down from the palanquin, walked to the north and thus asked: “who is it?”, and the Bhagavathy turned to south to face him and replied: “It is Kali.”

      

Samoothiri duly paid obeisance to Bhagavathy. Since his obstructions were removed, Samoothiri was ready to carry on with his journey. Before leaving the place, he ordered his men to celebrate the annual festival of the temple with all the pomp and glory. He entrusted the landlords to carry out the proceedings of the festival with 16 wooden horses. Kuthirakali - a ritual game of these wooden horses- is performed as part of the festival (pooram) even now.

      

It is believed that the Bhagavathy in the lower shrine is self-manifested or created by its own accord (swayambu). It is also said that Chinakkathoor temple used to be a place of worship for the people from the lower caste. There is yet another myth which suggests this. Once upon a time, a cheruma girl was cutting grass for her cattle. When she tried to sharpen her knife on a rock, it began to bleed. She was frightened and called up her elders. The older members of the community gathered and felt the presence of Bhagavathy there. They decided to worship Bhagavathy there and tried digging at the sides of the stone to know its depth. But even after digging for a long time, they couldn’t reach the root of the stone. From then onwards, that place came to be known as Chinakkathoor, to mean chinakkiyedutha ooru (the place which was dug out).

Melekavu Bhagavathy
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