Bestowed with Blessings and Beauty
Get a glimpse of this land bequeathed with the beauty of celestial charisma and the footsteps of sages. Fabled as the birthplace of Sri Adi Sankara, Kaladi, earlier known as “Salsalam, is sanctified with a number of ancient temples which preserves many epics in its richest forms.
Sri Adi Sankara occupies a unique place among the great philosophers of India as the one who preached the monistic or “Advaita” philosophy. It is in memory of Sankaracharya that the two major shrines – one for Dakshinamoorthy and the other for the Goddess Sharada, were erected in Kaladi. The Sringeri Math and Sri Ramakrishna Ashram add to the sanctity of the place. Kaladi is no disappointment for nature-lovers – places sprinkled with natural wonders could be found in plenty.
Blessed as the birth place of Adi Sankaracharya (the only son of Sivasarman Namboodhiri and Aryadevi), Sringeri Math is believed to be erected in the year 1910. One can get the rare glimpse of the place where Adi Sankaracharya was born – the spot is marked with a black pole placed in the left side of the entrance. This math is a huge, partly open structure anchored on the northern bank of the river Periyar. On Sankara Jayanthi, the birthday of Adi Sankaracharya, a Vedic discourse and debate is conducted which is made livelier with the participation of vedic scholars from all over the world.
Ramakrishna Advaita Ashram
Ramakrishan Advaita Ashram, a true spiritual destination, is a branch of Sree Ramakrishna Ashram. Renowned as a universal temple of devotion, especially dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, its doors are wide open to people from all walks of faith. For those who are spiritually inclined, the senior monk here preaches steps to pave a new life away from the sins of this worldly living. Ayurvedic treatments are also conducted by the experts in the field and medicines are distributed free for the poor. The hostel run by the ashram serves as a shelter for tribal boys.
Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambham
Tallest of the buildings in Kaladi, the 8 storey Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambham exudes the blessed life of Sri Adi Sankara through the relief paintings in its captivating interiors. Built by Kanchi Kamakoti Math, this building set in the heart of Kaladi welcomes you irrespective of caste and religion. A memorial for Sri Adi Sankara, Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambham showcases several statues of Ganapati, Adi Sankara and other gods giving you a special spiritual upshot. Paduka Mandapam here in this building is remarkable, with its two silver knobs in place of ‘padukas’ - wooden sandals of Sri Adi Sankara. Working hours of Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambham is from 7 am to 7 pm.
Situated midst of the forests, this Devi temple is dedicated to Vana Durga (meaning the forest goddess). The people here have immense faith on this deity and believe that they must preserve the forests to keep the goddess happy.
Proclaimed as an international pilgrim center, Malayattooor is blessed with the footsteps of St.Thomas, one of the most prominent apostles of Jesus Christ. It is believed that he climbed the Kurisumudy (1269 ft above sea, the apex of Malayattooor) to converse with his lord. After his martyrdom in Mylappoor, this place became popular and every year during the time of holy week devotees flock in thousands from far and near. ‘Anakuthiya Palli’, the church that was attacked by an elephant, is still preserved and the footsteps of St.Thomas is the main attraction here.
Sri Krishna temple
The temple is devoted to the Kula Deva (ancestral deity) of Sri Sankara. This temple is so close to Sringeri Math and the idol of Sree Krishna here is famous as Thrikaladiappan. As the only establishment from the times of Adi Sankara, this temple is now preserved under Kaladi Devasthanam.
Situated north of Kaladi, this temple has a connection with the family of Adi Sankara as his father was the priest here. Durga Devi is the main deity here and there are references of this temple in Soundarya Lahari written by none other than Adi Sankaracharya.
Mattoor Thiru Vella Man Thulli temple
Mattoor Thiru Vella Man Thulli temple is just 2 km away from Kaladi and the deity here is Lord Shiva installed by the blessed father of Sankara - Siva Sarman Namboodhiri. It is believed that the idol, foreseen in a dream of Siva Sarman, was offered by Lord Shiva who directed him to follow a deer and said that he will find an idol at the point where the deer disappears. The instance in the dream happened the next day, and hence came the Mattoor Thiru Vella Man Thulli temple.
Nayathodu Sankara Narayana Temple
Worshipping two Gods with the same idol! A perfect epitome of Advaitha philosophy - at Nayathodu Sankara Narayana Temple, first offerings are given to Lord Shiva and then to Lord Krishna, a ritual that is continued from the times of Adi Sankara.
3 Ancient Ghats
Kaladi Kadavu (Aaraattu Kadavu)
Kaladi Kadavu or Aarattu Kadavu is famous as the place where Adi Sankara did the “Aarattu” (holy ritual) of his ancestral deity. Even nowadays during the festival at Sree Krishna Temple, this Aarattu is done ceremonially attracting large people. It is also believed that this is the exact location where River Periyar took a diversion from its usual course.
Muthala Kadavu (Crocodile Ghat)
This is a place that served as a turning point in the life of Adi Sankara, Muthala Kadavu got its name from an instance in which a crocodile caught little Sankara when he was bathing in the river Periyar. Legend goes that the crocodile let go little Shankara when his mother, who was against he accepting sanyasa, agreed to the decision of her son to take the holy path.
Ghat of Post Funeral Rites of Mother Aryadevi
A ghat situated right in the Sringeri Math is the place where Adi Sankara performed Apara Kriyas (rituals after death) for his beloved mother Aryadevi. Aryadevi Samadhi Mandapam is also near this ghat.
What adds to the beauty is that all the above mentioned ghats lie west to east in chronological order.
Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Treatment Centre, Kaladi
This centre is just the right place to rejuvenate your mind and body. The center offers traditional but scientific and authentic treatment with a holistic approach. Redefining the concept of health care, the centre gives greater emphasis on providing both physical and mental care for its patients.
Kodanad Elephant Training Center
The Elephant Training Center in Kodanad is a place worth mentioning in Kaladi. Considered to be one of the largest elephant capturing places in the South India, the training center specializes in training stranded baby elephants.
Sree Sankara School of Dance organizes spectacular demonstrations of classical dances on prior request (Monday, Tuesday & Friday) by paying Rs 500 per person (prices subjected to change). However there is no entry fee if you just want to see the classes (Wednesday & Friday) going on, you can also contribute donations for the future projects and programs of the school. The students here specialize in Mohiniyattom, Bharathanatyam and Kuchupudi - the finest of the classical art forms.
Sankara Jayanti - A 5 day celebration which falls in April/May is remarkable with its spiritual rites.
Navarathri festival - The 9 day long Navarathri festival during September to October draws large spectators to Kaladi.
Festival of “Thrikaladi Appan” - Annual festival of the Lord of Kaladi, Thrikaladi Appan (Lord Krishna), falls on Thiruvonam day of the Malayalam month of Makaram. The festival is distinctive with the Arattu of Lord Krishna. It is believed that the first Arattu was done by Sree Sankara himself.
One can buy photos and spiritual booklets from Ramakrishna Advaitha Ashram’s book center and Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthambham. Kaladi is also famous for herbal products, so don’t forget to include this in your list.
Local private buses ply to almost all parts of Kaladi. Buses are available at a frequency of 10 minutes at peak times and up to 30 minutes during off peak hours. Buses and taxis are also accessible from the nearby town, Angamaly. Another better option is to use the auto-rickshaw services which are very cheap to get around.
The town has a handful of hotels serving both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and will never empty your wallets. Kappa (tapioca) and Erachi (meat), the lip-smacking foodstuff served in “Thattukadas”(starts only at night), is a not to miss Kerala dish. Toddy shops and licensed bars can also be found in this cozy town.
Advaita- Inspiring the generations to lead a life of piousness, humanity, spirituality and service to mankind, the concept of Advaitha has its earliest references in the Vedic literature. However, the ideology was firmly established on a logical foundation by the masterly commentaries of Adi Sankaracharya.
Cochin International Airport Limited, Nedumbassery, which is at 8 km from Kaladi is the nearest and most accessible airport.
Located near Main Central Road (MC Road), the place is accessible from the bus stations at Angamaly and Perumbavur (8 km). Angamaly KSRTC Bus station is just 5 km from this place. In the central part of the Kaladi town, there is a private bus stand from where buses to nearly every spot in Kaladi are available. If you are coming from the upper region of Kerala, it is advisable to take a diversion at Angamaly (MC road and NH 47 merges here) to enter the MC Road.
Nearest Railway station is at Angamaly - at a distance of 8 km away from Kaladi. Most of the trains have a stop here but it is better to get down at Aluva railway station, if you are in an Express or Super Fast train.