Kalady, a small village located on the banks of Periyar River is a legendary place in Kerala. This is the birthplace of a great saint Sri Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara). Adi Shankara was a great theologian who found the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta (a school of Hindu Philosophy) to reach spiritual realization.
Legends of Kalady
Legend says that, while Shankara and his widow mother were once walking towards Periyar river (then Purna river) for a bath, his mother Aryamba loses conscious and little Shankara, out of fear, prays to Lord Krishna. Moved by the tears of the boy, Lord Krishna gives a boon to little Shankara. ' This river shall flow everywhere your little feet makes an impression' and the Purna river is said to have taken a new course everywhere Shankara has left his footprints.
Kalady, in Malayalam means "Footprint". Hence, the region where Shankara marked became popular as Kalady.
Photo Courtesy: Srevalsan Nambudiri
There are a lot of places to visit in Kalady and we have gone ahead and listed a few important attractions. Kalady was rediscovered in the late 19th century and many temples have been built from then.
A temple dedicated to Sri Adi Shankara was built on the northern banks of Periyar River. The samadhi of his mother Aryamba is also situated near the shrine and there are a lot of devotees visiting the temple to seek blessings.
Adi Shankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam
It is an eight-storeyed memorial tower built by Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. The memorial consists of Padukas (wooden sandals of the teacher) and several paintings narrating the life of Adi Shankara; a must visit if you would like to understand more on the life history of a great saint.
Sri Krishna Temple
One of the attractions in Kalady is the Sri Krishna temple. Lord Krishna was the ancestral deity of Sri Shankaracharya. Legend says, the idol of Lord Krishna has been installed by Sri Shankaracharya himself.
Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram
Ramakrishna Adavaita Ashram is a branch of Ramakrishna Math. It's a beautiful structure with a large prayer hall and a shrine dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Photo Courtesy: Challiyan
There are various other places to visit in Kalady. Namely, Kalady Kadavu (the place where river changed its course), Muthala Kadavu (Crocodile Ghat), Sree Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram, Mathoor Thiru Vellaman Siva Temple, Aryadevi Samadhi Mandapam and so on.
Every year Shankara Jayanthi is celebrated in the month of April or May. Let us remember one of the great pillars of Hindu philosophy, Adi Shankara and his legendary life.