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 Kalady (Kerala)

Introduction: Kalady is a village located east of the Periyar river, in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, South India. Notably, it is the birthplace of Sri Adi Sankara, and thus is a popular destination for pilgrims.

Legend holds that one day, the widowed mother of Little Sankara, Aryadevi, fainted after walking three kilometers for her daily bath in the Periyar river. Feeling helpless, Little Sankara prayed to Lord Krishna. The tears of the child moved Krishna, who blessed him thus: "the river will flow where your little feet marks. The Periyaar river took its new course in the place marked by the little boy's feet. That place came to be called Kalady. Thus 'Kalady' signifies the love of an innocent child for his beloved mother and the blessings of Lord Krishna.

Kalady Quick facts

  • Kalady Near Getaways

    • Malayattoor church, a famous centre for Christian pilgrims (8 km from Kalady)
    • Kallil Temple (22 km from Kalady)

  • Distance from Kalady to
    Click on link For a list of distances from Kalady to various cities .

  • How to reach Kalady by Road

    Buses and taxis are available from Angamaly to Kalady. The Main Central Road starts at Angamali and connects Kalady with important towns in Kerala, including Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Kozhikode.

  • How to reach Kalady by Rail

    Angamaly (10 km away), or Aluva (22 km away), are the nearest railway stations.

  • How to reach Kalady by Air

    Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery is the nearest airport, 10 km away from Kalady.

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    Kalady Festivals and culture

  • Kalady Festivals

    • Sankara Jayanti is celebrated for five days in April or May every year. The celebration includes several religious rites
    • Navaratri is celebrated for nine days during September or October with music, the chariot festival, rathostavam, and other festivities
    • The annual festival of the Lord of Kalady — Lord Krishna Thrikalady Appan — falls on January 6th. One distinct activity, the Aaraatu of Lord Krishna (the river bath), has been taking place for centuries in the holy ghat where Kalady was born

  • Kalady Religious Places

    Shankara Temple: Adi Shankara was born in Kalady as the only son of Sivaguru and Aryamba, a Namboothiri couple. Shankara's shrine at Kalady, run by the Sringeri Mutt, is a large, partly open structure situated on the northern bank of the river Periyar, or Purna. There are two major shrines in the temple; one is dedicated to Sri Sankaracharya and the other to Goddess Saradamba, the main deity of Sringeri. The samadhi of Sri Sankara's mother, Aryamba, is also located here. A small shrine to Vinayaka, or Ganapati, is the scene of evening prayers, chanted to the rhythmic ringing of cymbals. The worship in these temples is done by Tamil or Kannada Smartha Brahmins, and not by Nampoothiris.

    Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram: The Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram has a spacious prayer hall and a shrine modeled on the Sri Ramakrishna temple at Belur Math. The Ashram also runs a school (Brahmanandodayam), a charitable dispensary, and a library.

    Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam: Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam is an eight-story memorial built by Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. The entrance to the memorial, guarded by two elephant statues, leads to the Paduka Mandapam. Two silver knobs represent the padukas, or wooden sandals of the Teacher. The walls of the memorial feature framed relief paintings that tell the story of Adi Sankaracharya. Several large statues of Ganapati, Adi Sankara, and others are also housed in this memorial. Adi Sankara's shrines in Kalady are open to all pilgrims, irrespective of religion and caste. Visitors can review the life of Sankara Acharya as they climb to the top.

    Sri Krishna Temple: To the west of the Sringeri Mutt temple complex is a temple dedicated to Sri Krishna. This temple is known as the ancestral deity of Sree Sankara Acharya. It is mentioned as the Kula deva (ancestral deity) in verse 243 of Prabodha Sudhakaram of Sree Sankara Acharya. The temple is under Kalady Devasthanam, in trusteeship of two Namboothiri families who had close associations with the life of Sankara. It is also the only surviving structure from the time of Sankara. The worship in this temple is also conducted by Namboothiris, unlike in Shankara.

    Manickamangalam Karthyayani Temple: One kilometre north of Kalady is the Manickamangalam temple, dedicated to Bhagavathi or the goddess Durga. The father of Sree Sankara Shiva Sharman Namboodiri was the priest in this temple.
    According to legend, one day he could not go by himself, so he sent Sankara with a measure of milk as an offering to Devi. Little Sankara noticed that even after the offering, the measure of milk before Devi remained unchanged. He was sad and started to cry, so Devi took pity on the boy and drank the milk. References to the deity can be found in Soundarya Lahari.

    Mattoor Thiru Vellaman Thulli Siva Temple: Vellamanthulli temple is two kilometres west of Kalady. It is believed that Siva Sarman Namboodiri, father of Sree Sankara, installed the deity here. According to legend, as some people became older, they could not walk the distance to worship in the nearest temple. however, they still wanted to have darshan of the Lord. Shiva appeared in a dream, and he suggested that Sarman Nambudiri follow a dancing white deer that would appear before his house the next day. Shiva promised the deer would lead him to an idol and disappear, saying he could worship the idol, and not walk the long distance to the temple. This Siva temple was named Thiru Vella Man Thulli, or "dancing white deer."

    Nayathodu Sankara Narayana Temple: Nayathodu Sankara Narayana Temple, 3 km west of Kalady, is an example of Advaitam in worship by Sankara Acharya. According to legend, once he prayed to Shiva in the temple, Vishnu also came to reside in same idol. To this day, after offerings are made to Shiva, everything is removed and offerings are made to the same idol for Vishnu.

    Manjapra Karppilli Kavu Siva Temple: Sivasarman Nambudiri, the father of Sree Sankara, was the priest of Karpillykavu Shiva temple, just 8 km south at Manjapra.

    Thekke Madhom: Thekke Madhom is just adjacent to Sri Krishna Temple. It was founded by Sree Sankara Acharya at Trichur. To pay respect to Sree Sankara Acharya, this Mutt was given special Archana rights at Sri Krishna Temple, the temple of the ancestral deity of Sankara, in 825 CE. To facilitate this leasehold property (Kana Pattam), lands were provided by Kalady Devaswom. This Mutt was given kingship rights in Kalady in 1730, thus marking the area of Sankara Sanketham. This was the only Mutt of Sree Sankara tradition for centuries that respected Kalady and sanctified it. In modern times, the area is leased by the Sree Sringeri Mutt, which also runs a Vedic school there.

    Aryadevi Samadhi Mandapam: Aryadevi Samadhi Mandapam is dedicated to Aryadevi, the mother of Sree Sankara Acharya, as the place of her cremation. Sree Sankara performed the cremation of his mother after her death. He was assisted by two of the ten Namboothiri families of Kalady. One family, Kappilly Mana, honoured the location with daily lamps for centuries. The Travancore Highness acquired the whole area from Kappilly Mana in the 19th or 20th century, and handed it over to the Sree Sringeri Mutt, which now maintains the property.

    Kalady Kadavu (Aaraattu Kadavu): The Kalady Kadavu is the place where the river took its turn, and where Kalady was born. It was also the place where Sankara had first performed Aaraattu (a river bath of an idol) for his ancestral deity before installing it at its current location. For centuries, during the festival at Sree Krishna Temple, the Aarattu has been carried out at this ghat.

    Crocodile Ghat: The "Muthala Kadavu," or Crocodile Ghat, is where Sankara's life turned to Sanyasam (Ascetic life). His mother, Aryadevi, did not agree with his desire to become a Sanyasin. Legend says that one day, Sankara was touched by a dog and, as per custom followed by the community, Sankara had to take bath. Accompanied by mother, Sankara went to river Poorna to bathe. While in the water, a crocodile caught hold of his leg. The drowning Sankara told his mother that the crocodile would leave him alone if she would allow him to take up Sanyasa. Helpless, his mother agreed, and the crocodile freed Sankara.

    Ghat of the Post-Funeral Rites of Mother Aryadevi: Here is the ghat where Sree Sankara Acharya performed the Ápara Kriyas (the rituals after death and cremation as per Nambudiri rituals) for his mother, Aryadevi. Today, the ghat is within the temple complex of Sree Sringeri Mutt.

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