The Sarkara Devi Temple acquired the present fame and popularity with the introduction of Kaliyoot by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the Travancore sovereign, in 1748.
Facts and legends related to Kaliyoot
Kaliyoot was originally a practice that existed in the north Malabar. The credit of bringing this ritual to southern parts of Kerala belongs to King Marthanda Varma (1729–1758). Legend has it that king Marthanda Varma tried several times to annexe the kingdom of Kayamkulam. Though he was defeated and disappointed all these times he was so determined that he decided to try again. With this obstinate vision he made another arrangement for war. On his way to Kayamkulam the king chose the big ground near the Sarkara temple to take rest.
Soon he was surrounded by local people and their leaders. It was from them the king happened to hear about the powers of the Sarkara Devi. He promised that he would offer her a Kaliyoot if she blesses him to win the war. He became victorious in that war and kept his promise.
The Kaliyoot festival falls in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February/March). The object of the festival is to offer the first harvest to the Goddess. The rituals and ceremonies related to the festival extend up to nine days. It also involves a dramatic presentation of the story related to the genesis of Kali and the confrontation between Kali and the demon Darika, which represents good and evil respectively.