Kalady is a small town in Ernakulum district of Kerala. The town is more famous for being the birthplace of Sri Adi Shankaracharya; exponent of Advaita Vedanta. He is believed to have lived in the 8th century. The saint had left an indelible niche in history and Hindu theology. Kalady town over the years has developed and embraced several cultures and religions. Growth and expansion brought in several outstanding changes to the small town. The town as it is now has a plethora of vibrant activities therein.
The culturally and historically rich town is dotted with a few popular places of worship and amusement. River Periyar running through the heart of town has blessed it multifold.
Adi Shankara Keerthi Stambha
When you arrive at Kalady town; what strikes you first is the towering Keerthi Stambha by the side of the highway. Without any fuss, you can enter the complex. Due to the pandemic situation, there is no fee now. But you can drop an amount in the offering box instead. Leaving your foot wares outside, you can climb the winding steps to the top. As you climb up, the relief artwork on the wall will tell you the life story of Sri Adi Shankara. Several large statues of Ganapati, Adi Shankara, Sri Krishna and others are also housed in this octagon-shaped memorial. In case of a large crowd at the premises, it is better to wait for your turn as the space inside the structure is narrow owing to its shape. Also, fewer people means more freedom to observe and climb up.
An open space on top to take a glance at the town below would have been wonderful. But the purpose of Stambha being different such a view is not possible. However, through the meshed windows, you can take a peek at the beautiful view down below. In about 30-45 minutes you can climb up and down. It is open from 7.00 AM till 7.00 PM.
From the Keerthi Stambha complex, you are just a stone’s throw away from the Kalady junction. Mostly a bustling town and notorious for traffic jams by evening. Therefore, watch your timings of arrival there. In the town, you have hotels, restaurants, a church, a mosque, a bus stop and all kinds of shops to go to.
There are several institutions under the patronage of Adi Shankara Trust in Kalady. Sree Shankara College, Sree Shankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology are some of them.
Adi Shankara Temple & Shri Krishna Temple
Both the temples are situated in the Sringeri Mutt Complex by the side of River Periyar. Entering the complex from the bustling town; takes you to a totally different atmosphere. The riverside area is dotted with greenery and antique-looking buildings. Both temples were built in the early 20th century to honour Goddess Sharadamba and Sri Shankara.
Adi Shankara Janam Bhumi Kshetra is dedicated to Adi Shankara himself. And therefore it stands to tell the stories around his life and teachings. The Mural paintings outside the walls arrest your attention and tell tales of the Seer. Special prayers are held here on auspicious days marked in Adi Shankara’s life.
Shri Krishna Temple is one of the oldest temples in the area. Believed to be the place where Adi Shankara and his mother used to pray.
The spot is hardly a kilometre away from Kalady town. Timings 6.00am–1.00pm & 4.00– 8.00pm. However, they tend to close for lunch break earlier.
Shankara Jayanti and Navaratri draw a large number of devotees and tourists to this place.
An integral part of the life story of Adi Shankara. A beautiful spot by the side of above mentioned temples. It is believed that one day while bathing in the river, young Adi Shankara was caught by a crocodile. Only until his mother gave permission for him to be an ascetic did the croc let him go.
St. Thomas Mount, Malayattoor
A prominent international pilgrimage destination; St. Thomas Mount in Malayattoor is 10 KM away from Kalady. It is believed that one of the Apostles of Jesus, St Thomas visited the hill on his missionary journey across South India. On top of the hill is St Thomas Archdiocesan Shrine built in 900 CE. Since it is in a dilapidated condition, a new church is built by the side of it. Thousands of pilgrims throng to the mountain during the festival season around Easter. The climb up can take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your health condition.
The Kanjoor Church
Just 5 KM away from Kalady town is St Mary’s Forane Church, Kanjoor. Built in the year AD 1001; it is one of the ancient Catholic churches in Kerala. Several beliefs and tales are associated with the sustenance of the church. The historical church has been attracting visitors and faithful for centuries. Valuable antique collections like manuscripts, books, paintings can be seen here. The Elephant lamp, the granite cross made out of a single stone, the majestic grandiose main door are among other major attractions at the church. Feast of patron saint Sebastian in January is celebrated magnificently; attended by thousands from far and wide.
Best Time to Visit Kalady
Thousands of pilgrims visit the town during the festival of Shankara Jayanti and Navaratri. And on feast days at St. Thomas Mount and Kanjoor Church. Otherwise, it is best to reach during December or January; to save yourself from the exorbitant humidity.
How to Reach Kalady
Proximity to the International Airport makes Kalady easily accessible from anywhere. The nearest international airport and railway stations can be reached in less than 30 minutes’ drive. The highway cutting across Kalady is connected to all the major cities in the country.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers