Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu - Lokanarkavu - Cheravannur (Kozhikode - Kerala)

Well, it was my yet another project on textiles at Manikkoth Weavers’ Society, Kozhikode, Kerala…….

On day 1, I asked an autowala in Vadagara, where we had been put up, to take me to Manikkoth. And he did…

I was aware that the place would be a small village in the midst of a puzzling maze of tiny, muddy, narrow roads. The auto did go through such twists and turns. I expected to reach the place in 45 minutes to an hour as I was informed that the place is 15 to 20 kms from Vadagara. But I reached the place in hardly 15 minutes.

But, unfortunately…, or fortunately, I was in the wrong place. It was Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu, and not Manikkoth Weavers’ Society. I was desperate to reach the right place in right time. I explained the autowala ‘Neivu Thozhil’ and ‘Vastram’, in my bad, nascent level Malayalam, to mean ‘Weaving’ and ‘Fabric’. Very amused, with a huge question mark, flying atop his head, he tried to explain ‘Kavu’ and ‘Val Chanda’, i.e temple and a duel with sword and to top it all, he sported quite a bit of acting to enact the scene of Thacholi Meppayil Othenan……

Though inspiring, it was not my time for a darshan and exploration… I continued on my way to the Weavers’ Society. Anyway, I came back to the awe inspiring Thacholi Manikkoth Kavu.

 

Thacholi Manikkoth Kavu is a very solitude, peaceful place. The sunrays shy to peep in here with the thick banyan trees fighting them out. The landscape is too beautiful to be described in words… It could be vaguely related to the terrace farming like stepped landscape. The scenario is quite away from the noisy horns and engine. Nothing but the hustle and bustle of the leaves and the chirping birds and the occasional ring of the bells in the temple, give work to the ears.

This is the location where Thacholi Othenen fought a duel to save his village and proved to be a guardian god of the village. This sounds similar to the Pabuji Ka Phad of Rajasthan. The many banyan trees in the temple might have witnessed many crucial battles fought on the premises of the temple, or should I say, the Holy Burial.? It was under the shade of one such banyan tree that Mathiloor Gurukkal took the decision to challenge Othenan to a fight. It eventually resulted in the death of both the challenger and the challenged.

The temple has two separate roofs. One under which the Samadhi (Burial) is present, where regular pujas take place. According to the time that could be devoted by the devotee, that elaborate puja is done. The Samadhi had been constructed similar to any other temple in Kerala. It has umpteen numbers of diyas on its outer wall. The puja beguns only after lighting all the diyas. The place where the devotee stands is covered by sand from sea shore. The Prasadam given here is dried grapes soaked in honey.

Under the second roof are the legendary sword, his chair, and also the cot of Kunhiraman (Othenan's brother). But this building opens only once a year, at the end of February. Any autowala would first take you to this building. You would have to get into the nearby lane and trek down to take a darshan of the Samadhi or for a puja. I was not lucky enough to take a darshan of the legendary sword. A plan to visit during the end of February would help if the idea is to take a look into the historical marvel. But however, if the idea is to escape the hectic city schedule, choose any other time of the year.

 

The priest at Thacholi Manikkothu, informed me of the another must see - The Lokanarkavu. Lokanarkavu Temple has an important place in the folklore of the land. It is said that Thacholi Othenan sought the blessings of Lokanarkavu Bhagavathy before each of the 64 duels he had fought. Lokanarkavu is a short form of `Lokamalayarkavu,' which means `lokam' (world) made of mala (mountain), aaru (river) and kavu (grove).

The temple premise is huge. Similar to the rules of most other Kerala temples, here too the dress code bans chudidhars, trousers, jeans, skirts or frocks or any other modern garments. I was lucky enough that day to wear Pavada – Dhavani, the traditional dress of Tamil Nadu. This big temple boasts the presence of three presiding deities - Siva, Vishnu and Bhagavathy. The large premises include a big pond that also figures in the Othenan legend. The mossy, broken steps that lead to the pond was where Othenan met his lady, Kunki.

The place is a fantastic one for art historians. It has wonderful wood carvings. Every edge of the roof has an intricate wood carving of Yaali, a Mythological figure.

The major significance for art historians are the Kerala Murals on Walls and Ceiling of the temple, which have escaped the sight of the devotees, who come here only for prayer and the paintings are not taken care of. For our future generations to get a glimpse of these paintings renovation is a basic necessity. Paintings on walls exist now only in one of the shrines. Paintings in the other shrines have been white washed. Paintings on the ceilings are intact almost in all the mandapams and shrines. The design style of the wall paintings is typically Kerala Murals. Designs of the ceiling paintings are similar to the ikat designs of Patan Patola Textiles (Very Geometric).

 

If you are still more in a mood to trek, Cheravannur village is your piece of cake. Cool to the sight, the place is filled with greenery on either side. Houses are located at an altitude from the road. Trekking through the narrow, muddy, steep lanes, is nothing less than an adventurous trekking in any proper hilly region.


TO GET THERE:

By train: Vadagara Railway Station

[Buses and trains to Vadagara available from Calicut / Kozhikode Railway Station]

By bus: Vadagara Bus Stand

To stay: Many hotels and lodges in Vadagara at all price points

 

Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu: From Vadagara Bus stand:

Distance         : 2 to 3 km

By auto           : Rs. 25 to 30

By bus            : Buses to Maniyur, Perambra, pass through Manikkoth Kavu

Lokanarkavu: From Vadagara Bus stand:

Distance         : 5 to 6 km     

By auto           : Rs. 50 to 60

By bus            : Buses to Maniyur, Perambra, pass through Manikkoth Kavu

Cheruvannur: From Vadagara Bus stand:

Distance         : 15 to 16 km

By bus            : Buses to Perambra pass through this place. The Cheravennur bus stop looks pretty crowded. As you escape it and walk further, you get to see the absolute lush greenery.


Dedicated to Asmita and Monica 

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

6 comments:

  1. amazing... thanks for the info put up here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for including the information about the dress code! Was helpful! It's the little details that sometimes matter the most! All the best for your travels! Walk on! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for including the information about the dress code! Was helpful! It's the little details that sometimes matter the most! All the best for your travels! Walk on! :)

    ReplyDelete

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