OtherTravel- India Kerala- Kalady (2015) By admin Posted on April 16, 2015 -Description to be added A typical picture of Adi Sankara, in this case a poster in Malayalam greets us at the entrance to the city of 25,000 Kalady means footprint. Literally this place has the footprints of Adi Sankara (788-820 CE) Periyar river was known as Purna river during Sankara's time Periyar (Purna) river Existence of Periyar river and two other objects helped to identify this place as Adi Sankara's home town Our hotel - Sankara's home and memorial tower are nearby View from hotel room- Sankara Tower(Keerthi Mandapam) is at right along with two churches. The eight storey octagonal tower describes the biography with 2D pictures and 3D art work on the spiraling wall from bottom to top floor. Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam built this in 1978 3D art work describing his life story- Middle aged Father Sivaguru and Mother Aryamba pray for a child Child was born in the year 788 AD (some say the date is in BC). Father dies when he was 3. Mother brings him up. Sankara escapes the grip of a crocodile; Mother gave permission to become an ascetic (Sanyasi). Sankara joins Gurukula (vedic school) Students of Gurukula went for alms during the training; a poor lady offers the only fruit she had; Sankara wrote Kanakathara Stotram for the welfare of the lady even at this young age Purna river changes its course towards the home of Sankara Sankara was considered a child prodigy. He studied under Govindapada who was a student of Goudapada, an eminent philosopher Kanchi+Untouchable+medium Manisha+panchaka+Big+Imagejpg Sankara was a master of Sanskrit; knew old language very well and wrote commentaries on Upanishads, Brahmasutra and Bhagavat Gita among others Sankara was a thinker and a teacher Sankara was very good at debates; he won a debate with Mandana Misra who argued in favor of rituals. He also had debates with Buddhists and non Hindu religious leaders of the time and asserted Advaita philosophy Sankara established four centers of learning and trained his disciples to lead these centers and spread Advaita philosophy.Several other centers spread all over the country and now all over the world. This makes him the original superstar and Guru of all Gurus in the world of Advaita A miracle even for a non believer: Sankara travelled from Kanyakumari to Himalayas; also Dwaraka (west) to Puri (east) on foot in the 8th century. The country literally has his foot prints all over! Top of the page (Ahobilam to Gaya) Bottom of the page (Tiruchendur to Vrindavan) Sankara returns to Kalady at the time of his mother's death. This was a promise he made to his mother when he left Kalady long time back! Sankara at the bed side of dying mother His presence gave her peace of mind. Her soul rested in peace. Sankara wrote Matru Panchakam, a fine tribute to all mothers on this occasion. Later Sankara visited many temples including Tiruchendur Chidambaram Nepal ...and Kedarnath; He attained Mukthi here in 820AD. He was just 32. Sankara revived Hinduism by consolidating scriptures, absorbing the best of Buddhism into Hindu practices and assuring people that family life is as good as ascetic life Sankara master minded an organized Monistic order which survives to this day and it is ever expanding in all parts of the world. He was considered a Guru in his life time and Guru of all Gurus 1200 years later Next morning-Sunrise on Periyar river- we're ready to see the home of Adi Sankara. Reflection of clouds on the river Sun is over the horizon Sun is ready to shine on Sankara's birth place Sringeri Mutt gets the credit for identification of the site from two other Kalady in Kerala We are at the birth place Adi Sankara established the first Mutt in Sringeri (Karnataka), in the South. The 33rd Saankaracharya of this Mutt discovered the current site as the birth place Janma Bhoomi- The samadhi of Sankara's mother, an oil lamp post (stone pillar) and the Purna river behind the building helped to ascertain the validity of the site in 1900's. Inscription on the SamadhiThanks to Sringeri Mutt website Samadhi of Mother Aryamba at Kalady Thanks to Sringeri Mutt website Ancient Stone Lamp beside the Samadhi that has been lit for over 1000 yearsThanks to Sringeri Mutt website Janmabhoomi also contains a Shrine to Sankara. It was built by Sringeri Mutt in 1900's(photo courtesy-Sringeri Mutt website) Janmabhoomi also contains a shrine to Shri Saradambha which was also built by Sringeri Mutt(photo courtesy-Sringeri Mutt) Sankara spent only few (8?) years here developing his curious mind; remaining time (24?) was spent in traveling every nook and corner of India by foot to clarify and revive Hinduism and Hindu way of life Sri Krishna Temple- Sankara's family deity Two Nambudhiri families continue to take care of the temple Outside - Giant painting of Krishna Giant size Sankara in the front Krishna Temple(Courtesy-Internet) Crocodile Ghat (Courtesy-Internet) is close to Krishna Temple The result of dispassion is knowledge, that of knowledge is withdrawal from sense pleasures. This leads to the experience of the bliss of the Self and which gives peace. By the right knowledge that one is not different from Brahman, one becomes perfectly free from the bondage of life and death.(1904 Ravi Varma painting and Sankara's quote taken from Ramakrishna Mutt publication) Bookstore- major source for Sankara's works, devotional literature and temple souvenirs Now change gear. Malayattoor is 5 miles from Kalady. St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus came here in 62 CE. Built a church and stayed here for sometime before leaving for Mylapore in Chennai. St. Thomas was martyred in 72 CE at St. Thomas Mount, Chennai. His tomb is preserved in Santhome Basilica, Chennai St.Thomas Church in Malayattoor We found out by the hard way that it is not the church St. Thomas built and it is only named after him. The church St. Thomas built is on top of a hill couple of miles away in Kurisumudy! However this is a bigger church in town. It was built first in 900 AD and then rebuilt in 2012 to accommodate the increasing demands of devotees coming from several states to Malayattoor because of St.Thomas connection Interior of the Church Altar Da Vinci's "Last Supper" on the roof Church was built in Hindu temple style with a flag post! St.Thomas, also called doubting Thomas, checking the wound of Jesus Christ after his resurrection Procession being set up with doubting Thomas episode The shrine at the top of the hill (from Internet). It has a golden cross. Holy spring and foot prints of St. Thomas are major attractions. We came to the holiest shrine for St.Thomas Christians in Kurisumudy. It is interesting that an Apostle of Jesus (man who has touched and moved with Jesus) came first to Kerala (Kodungallur, Muziri or Vanji of Silappadhikaram fame) in 52 AD and then to this place in 62 AD. To sing the glory of Kerala further, I attach the picture of this Mosque in Kodungallur (30 miles away, capital of Chera kingdom, known as Muziri or Vanji). from Internet. This was built (629AD) during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad. King Cheraman Perumal met the Prophet himself!. Arabs had a spice trade with Kerala long before Prophet Muhammad's time. Kodungallur also has a Kannaki temple.