Historic snippets

Centuries ago, the site of ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ Is believed to have been an islet bordered by ocean in the west. Soon after the installation of the Devi’s idol the sea is believed to have retreated. Because of its islet form, the region was then called ‘Thuruthnadu’. ‘Thuruthu’ meaning islet and ‘Nadu’ meaning region. But with time, ‘Thuruthunadu’ came to be known as ‘Thiruthiyadu’.

By children are introduced to the written letter with the prayer

‘Hari shri Ganapathaye Namaha’ – ‘Avighuamasthu Shri Gurubhyo Namaha’

Writing the letter 'Aaaaa' on the tip of the child’s tongue, many seek the blessing of ‘Vidhya Devi’ (The goddess of knowledge). It is indeed a spectacle to see hundreds of children gathered at the temple on the day of ‘Vidhyarambham’ to be initiated into learning.

It is during the full moon phase in the month of ‘Ashwini’ that the ‘Navarathri’ festival is celebrated all over India.

In Bengal the 10 day festival is celebrated as ‘Durga pooja’, while in Karnataka it is celebrated as ‘Dussera’. In kerala it is celebrated as ‘Saraswathi pooja’. The 10th day of the celeberation is marked as Lord Rama’s victory over the demon king ‘Ravana’. This festival is also known as ‘Ayudha Pooja’, meaning the worship of weapons. The 10 day long ‘Saraswathi Pooja’ is celebrated in grant manner every year.

One of the most popular offerings to the goddess at ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ is the ‘Swayamvara Pushpanjali’, offered by young girls of marriageable age.

Young girls, from far & wide, make the offering hoping to win a suitor and thousands will bear testimony to the goddess’s benevolence.

Ancient sculptures have it that the saffron powder, ‘Sindhoor’, on the forehead of the ‘Apsaras’, Urvasi and Menaka and the shimmer of the rubies on the Deva’s crown are caused by the red colour on Devi’s feet. It is believed that when they pay respect to Devi by lying prostrate; touching the Devi’s feet, their forehead or crown touch & take the ‘sindhoor’ from her feet. The ‘sindhoor’ on the forehead of married women symbolizes that they have said their prayers and paid respect to Devi.

Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ is unique because of the fact that it is the only temple in Kerala which has two forms of Devi as the deities.

The idol of lord shiva at ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ symbolizes ‘Anthimahakaalan’ dancing at dusk, while Nataraja symbolizes the rhythmic Thandava danced by Lord Shiva, ‘Anthimahakaalan’ is the sensuous dance performed by him along with goddess ‘Parvathi’.

One’s visit to ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ is not considered complete, unless he or she visits the ‘Kizhakkekavu’ (the kavu on the east). This is so because it is believed that ‘Kali’ the goddess who protects us is believed to be the deity at the ‘Kizhakkekavu’.

One of the wonders of ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ was the banayan tree on the eastern side of the main entrance to the temple. On the Banyan tree’s trunk, about six feet above the ground, a palm tree grew, tall and healthy. Together, they used to look like a mother carrying her child on her hip. For years, they remained a great sight for one and all. A wonder indeed!

Period of Zamorins

Legend has it that the east-while ruler of “Kozhikode”, the Samoothiri, gifted six of his generals to the temple “Arikkodikkavu”, which is presently the renowned “Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram”. The Samoothiri also gave them an Idol of ‘Bavani Devi’, gifted to him by traders from Gujarath.

He instructed his generals to place the idol adjacent to the ‘Baghavathi’ idol in the ‘Arikkodikkavu’ Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorium) and worship the same. The ‘Bhavani Devi’s’ Idol was believed to have been consumed by the sea along with the rest of ‘Dhawaraka’ at the end of lord Krishna’s Era. The traders got the idol by chance.

During Tippu Sultan's ‘Padayottam’ the priests of ‘Arikkodikavu’, to safeguard the Idol, are believed to have pulled out the Idol and hidden it in the temple’s tank.

It was a practice during the British rule to try the accused.

‘Arikkodi kavu’ which was known so until 1965, was renamed as ‘Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram’ with reverence to the suggestion of the renowned historian, writer & researcher, Sri Kizhekkedeth Vasudevan Nair.