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This article is about the village in Kerala, India. For the legendary discoverer of coffee, see Kaldi. For the Sri Lankan city, see Kalladi (Batticaloa).
Adi Shankara with disciples, drawing by Raja Ravivarma,1904
Adi Shankara with disciples, drawing by Raja Ravivarma,1904
Coordinates: 10°09′58″N 76°26′20″E / 10.1661°N 76.4389°E / 10.1661; 76.4389Coordinates: 10°09′58″N 76°26′20″E / 10.1661°N 76.4389°E / 10.1661; 76.4389
Country  India
State Kerala
District Ernakulam
City UA Kochi
 • Total 0.633 km2 (0.244 sq mi)
 • Total 20,407
 • Density 32,000/km2 (83,000/sq mi)
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Kalady or Kaladi[1] is a census town located east of the Periyar river, in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, India near to Cochin International Airport at a distance of 6 Km . Notably, it is the birthplace of Adi Shankara and a popular destination for pilgrims. Kalady started featuring in the spiritual map of India only after its rediscovery in the late 19th century by the then Shankaracharya of Sringeri and the subsequent consecration of a temple for Sri Adi Shankara in 1910. The Centenary of Kalady was celebrated in May 2010 and the story of Kalady and its re-discovery a hundred years ago has been documented in a film by the Sringeri Sharada Peetham.[2]


In the local language, Malayalam, Kalady means "footprint." The village was previously called Sasalam.[3][4] Almost all traditional and hagographical evidences prove that Kalady is the birth place of Adi Sankara. It is situated on the banks of river Periyar. The place is believed to have been found by a chieftian named Rajasekara, whose dream was influenced by Hindu god Shiva. He also built a temple for Shiva at this place and made a settlement for Brahmins. There are two temples in the place - one for Saradamba and other for Sankara as Dakshinamurthi. Sringeri Mutt and Kanchi Mutt have their branches here. A 45 m (148 ft) tall Adi Sankara Kirti Stamba Mandapa was built by Kanchi Mutt under the aegis of its pontiff Chandrasekarendra Saraswati. A Sanskrit University is run by Sringeri Mutt in the place. [5]

Legendary beginnings[edit]

Legend holds that one day, the widowed mother of Little Sankara, Aryamba, fainted after walking three kilometers for her daily bath in the Periyar then known as Purna 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 (കാലടി വരയുന്നിട്ത്തു നദി ഗതി ആവും). The Purna river took its new course in the place marked by the little boy's feet. That place came to be called Kalady.

The Purna river began flowing through Little Sankara's home garden. Sankara then installed Lord Krishna into the present temple, and marked the occasion by reciting his famous Ätchutha Ashtakam.

Thus 'Kalady' signifies the love of an innocent child for his beloved mother and the blessings of Lord Krishna[citation needed].

Temples and other religious buildings[edit]

Institutions after 1900 AD[edit]

Shankara Temple[edit]

Adi Shankara was born in Brahmin family (refer Shankara vijaya) as the only son of Sivaguru and Aryamba. 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 Namboothiris.

Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram[edit]

Sree Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram, Kalady

The Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram[6] is a branch centre of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math. It is located very near the accepted birthplace of Sri Shankara. It 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.Swami Agamananda founded this ashram.

Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam[edit]

Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambha 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.The famous Sankara Stupa has 8 sides.

Institutions and places having legendary association with Acharya[edit]

Sri Krishna Temple[edit]

Sree Krishna Temple, Kalady

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.[7]

Manickamangalam Karthyayani Temple[edit]

NSS School Manickamangalam

One kilometre north of Kalady is the Manickamangalam temple, dedicated to Bhagavathi or the goddess Durga. The father of Sree Sankara, Sivaguru 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[edit]

Vellamanthulli temple is two kilometres west of Kalady.

According to legend, as Aryamba, the mother of Sree Sankara got older, she could not walk to Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur to worship. She still wanted to have darshan of the Lord. Shiva appeared in a dream, and he suggested that Aryambha follow a dancing white deer that would appear before her house the next day. Shiva promised the deer would lead her to an idol and disappear, saying she 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[edit]

Nayathodu Sankara Narayana Temple, 3 km west of Kalady, is an example of Advaitam in worship by Sankara Acharya. According to legend, once Sree Sankara prayed Vishnu in this Shiva 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[edit]

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

Thekke Madam[edit]

Thekke Madam 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[edit]

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.It was noticing the daily lamp Sree Nadukaveri Sreenivasa Sastrikal- special envoy of Sree Sringeri Mutt identified and accepted Kalady as birth Place of Sankara Acharya in 1905 .The Travancore Highness acquired the whole area from Kappilly Mana in the AD 1905, and handed it over to the Sree Sringeri Mutt, which now maintains the Mandap.

Ancient Ghats[edit]

The three ghats below are adjacent, and span west to east in chronological order .

Kalady Kadavu (Aaraattu Kadavu)[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Panoramic view of the Ghat

Ghat of the Post-Funeral Rites of Mother Aryadevi[edit]

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.


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 6 January. 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.


The following institutions of learning are located in this region:


Kalady is well connected to all other parts of Kerala .Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery is the nearest airport, 5 km away from Kalady. Angamaly (8 km away), or Aluva (16 km away), are the nearest railway stations. Buses and taxis are available from Angamaly to Kalady. The Main Central Road starts at Angamali and connects Kalady with important cities in Kerala, including Thrissur, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Kozhikode.

Places near Kalady[edit]


  1. ^ Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan. 2000. pp. 379–. ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5. 
  2. ^ "http://www.kaladyfilm.com - A DVD titled "Kalady - The Triumph of Faith over Time"".  External link in |title= (help)
  3. ^ Kalady Devaswom official web site www.thrikkaladyappan.org
  4. ^ Sivarahasyam (Epic) on birth of Sankara Acharya
  5. ^ Harshananda, Swami (2012). Hindu Pilgrim centres (2nd ed.). Bangalore, India: Ramakrishna Math. p. 52-3. ISBN 81-7907-053-0. 
  6. ^ http://ramakrishna-kaladysite.org/
  7. ^ http://www.thrikkaladyappan.org

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Kalady travel guide from Wikivoyage