Interesting Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Amman temple, Kerala

Chinakkathur temple a few days before the
Palappuram, a small town, located 4 km from Ottapalam, between Palakkad and the Shoranur Highway in Kerala, South India 
has a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Badrakali and the annual
Kuthira (Horses) used in the Chinakkattur
temple festival known as Chinakkathur pooram is as famous as Thrissur pooram . The venue of this popular festival is at the 
Chinakkattoorkkavu temple of Goddess Durga held every year 
in the month of February/March. Palappuram is part of old Valluvanadu kingdom.

This  Devi temple has two Grabhagrahas / Srikovils -  Bhadrakali, namely Thazhathe kaavu (lower shrine) and Mele kaavu (upper shrine). The temple has a strange puja tradition. In most of 
 the temples of Kerala,  mainly the Namboodiri Brahmins will perform puja in the Garbagraha, but here pujas are done by the Namboothiri pundits only in the lower shrine, whereas in the upper shrine, priests belonging to Kulangara Nair family are in charge of pujas. The temple opens in the morning from  5 am to 10 am and 5 pm till 8 pm.  Ganapathyhomam, Ushapuja and Uchapuja are the routine puja protocols being followed here as in other temples. Likewise, the temple will be closed for that day after the deeparadhana and athazhapuja.
Ottapalam | Chinakkathoor Pooram 2010 YouTube
It is believed that the Bhagavathy in the lower shrine is self-manifested (swayambu). It is also said that Chinakkathoor temple used to be a place of worship for the people from the lower caste.
Chinakkathur pooram Kudhira
 As for the origin of this temple, the belief has been that once Rama and Lakshmana (of the Ramayana epic) were wandering through jungles in search of Sita who was abducted by Asura Ravana. Upon reaching Vilwadri (the Vilwa Mountain), they requested lord Ayyappa and Bhagavathy who were accompanying them to find a suitable place to take rest. When they failed to come back after a long time, they were in  rage. Further, upon seeing both lord Ayyappa and Bhagavathy Amman taking rest at the top of the hill, they lost their patience.  Infuriated over their irresponsible attitude, Rama pushed Ayyappa down to the south and gave a good beating to Bhagavathy. Hence 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 (meaning Ayyappa in the pit!). After this incident, Bhagavathy Amman ran away from there crying “ayyayyo” and at last settled at  Chinakkathoor, Palappuram, facing the north direction.

 Now the deity faces south and according to another story, in 1757, ruler Samoothiri and his army were on their way to attack Paliathachan. When the king and his army went past Palappuram,  the palanquin bearers could not move it forward. Upon knowing the presence of a benevolent Kali temple, the king Samoothiri got off the palanquin, walked to the north and thus asked: “who is it?”, Upon came the reply from Bhagavathy Amman, now turning toward South, “It is Kali.”

Samoothiri offered prayers at the  Bhagavathy Amman shrine and could carry on his journey. He ordered the people there to celebrate the annual festival of the temple with all the pomp and pageantry. He handed over the local landlords the responsibility of carrying out the proceedings of the festival with 16 wooden horses. Kuthirakali.  This ritual game of these man-made wooden horses is an integral part of the pooram festival and every year it is performed by the well-trained players.This traditional art form is kept alive by the people of Kerala.

Here is yet another myth: Once upon a time, a Cheruma girl, while was cutting grass for her cattle, noticed blood stains when she used the knife to dig the ground. The girl informed the villagers about it and they suspected the presence of divinity there - the mystical power of Bhagavathy Amman . They began to worship Bhagavathy there and, their efforts to get to the roots of the stone ended up in failure. Then onwards, that place came to be known as Chinakkathoor, meaning chinakkiyedutha ooru (the place which was dug out).

Here, the Pooram festival is a major attraction in which lots of caparisoned elephants participate accompanied by melam (drum beating) and colorful paper-made Kuthira (horse) and Kudhira kali