Kalady is the place where Adi Sankaracharya was born. Read to know about Kaladi near Cochin/Kochi city of Kerala.
Location: Near Kochi
Highlights: it is the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya
How to Reach: You can reach Kalady in Kerala by rail, road or airways. Nedumbassery Airport is about 6 km from here and Angamali railway station is situated 10 km away.
Kaladi village, located near Cochin city of Kerala, is a famous pilgrim center cum tourist spot. It was once an insignificant little village, but it gained importance after Adi Sankaracharya, the great Indian philosopher of the 8th century AD, was born there. He was the only son of Sivaguru and Aryamba, a Kerala Brahmin couple. It is said he was only 16 when completed the study of the Vedas. Adi Sankaracharya evolved the philosophy of Advaita, one of the two principals of the Vedantic school asserting the sole existence of Brahma.
At Kalady, there are two shrines dedicated to the memory of the Adi Sankaracharya. While one shrine is dedicated to him as Dakshinamoorthi, the other shrine is dedicated to Goddess Sharada and is looked after by the Sringeri Mutt. The Sringeri Mutt is believed to be situated exactly at the same place where Adi Shankaracharya house once stood. To the left of the entrance of the temple is a black pole, which was meant to mark the exact spot where Adi Sankaracharya was born.
Sharing the same premises is another spot called Brindavan, where Shankaracharya's mother Aryamba was cremated. Shri Krishna temple located nearby used to be the family temple of Adi Shankaracharya. Infact, around this venue there are many sites associated with the life of the Shankaracharya. For instance, there is the famous bathing ghat called the Crocodile Ghat outside the temple. It is said the Crocodile Ghat is the place where the young Shankaracharya once got caught by a crocodile.
His mother was against his taking the Sanyasa and so he utilized this opportunity to coax her to give him permission to take up Sanyasa or renouncement. When she said yes to Sanyasa, the crocodile let him go easily. About 45 m away from this Mutt is the nine-storey Sri Adi Shankaracharya Keerthi Sthamba Mandapa, which bears illustrations narrating the entire life story of the great Adi Shankaracharya.
The village of Kalady, meaning 'Feet', was earlier known as "Sasalam." There is a touching story explaining how Kalady got the new name. The story goes somewhat like this. One day, Aryadevi, the widowed mother of little Shankaracharya fainted while walking the 3 km stretch for her daily bath in the Poorna River. Feeling helpless, Shankaracharya asked his favorite deity Lord Krishna for assistance.
The Lord blessed him saying, "The River will flow where your little feet marks." Young Shankaracharya marked his little feet on the ground and the Kerala's mighty Periyar River took its new course from where his feet were marked. From that time onwards, the place came to be known as 'Kalady. Thus, the term 'Kalady' signifies the love of an innocent child for his beloved mother and the blessings of Lord Krishna.