Thiruvar-in proto-Tamil-Manipravalam is used to address Shiva of the shrine, i.e. The most respectable one. The temple architecture of some shrines in the region shows how the Goddess is perceived in the region. The temples such as Annapoorneshwari temple and Madayikkavu has strong Brahminic influence. The Brahmin women in ancient time, were not allowed to show their faces in the sit-out, they were mostly inside their home and was addressed as Andarjanam by Kerala Brahmins. The Goddess is considered as Brahmin Mother and hence do not face the temple entrance gate, her sanctum is inside the shrine; the sanctum that one can see while entering from the front entrance is of Shiva (also due to the tantric temple architecture Rurujith Vidhanam) and in Annapoorneshwari Temple it is Krishna's shrine in the front entrance. So the temple is known by the name of Shiva rather than the Goddess. Tiruvarkaadu means The forest of the Lord.
There are different folklore about the origin of the temple. One of the legend says, The Bhagavathy, Madayikkavilamma was residing in the Rajarajeshwara Temple. But, as she was non-vegetarian she could not exist in the Shiva temple. She ordered the then King of that region to construct a separate shrine for her.
In another legend, long ago Madayi was troubled by a demon Darika and Madayikavilamma killed him and requested Shiva to enshrine in a temple near him. Lord Shiva ordered his disciple Parashuram to consecrate a shrine for the Shakti. Parashurama created the Madayippara and the Holy shrine on it. The shrine is considered the last resort for the removal of Occult Sorcery(Black Magic and Witchcraft).
During the incursion of Hyder Ali into Malabar, Circa 1780, Madayi Kavu was desecrated with the entrails of slaughtered cattle, following which a local Nair warrior named Vengayil Chathukutty beheaded the miscreant responsible for the act, delivering the severed head to temple authorities. Thereby the Nair family of Vengayil received the title of Nayanar.
Kattumadom Esanan Namboothirippad is the Tantri (Head Priest) of the shrine. Kattumadom is one of the 4 major Mantravada clan of Brahmin families in Kerala. The priests at the temple belong to the Podavar Brahmin community which allows meat and alcohol consumption.