After all how much honey can the bees gather from a sea of blue flowers!?
Though the town doesn’t wear it on its sleeves Angamaly on the way to Munnar is the gateway to few of the most prominent spiritual centers of Kerala. St Thomas, one of the apostles sent by Jesus to send the Good Word all around the world is believed to have visited and set up a shrine in Malayattoor, while Kalady is known as the birthplace of the great sage Adi Shankaracharya. Both have always been in the forefront in attracting pilgrims round the year.
One of the most prominent Christian pilgrim centres in India, the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is on the way to Kalady from Angamaly. Though devotees come to the church all the round the year, it is on the Sunday after Easter, the place gets filled to its seams with pilgrims.
It is believed that St Thomas after he landed at Kodungallur in C.E. 52 had challenges in the form of hostile natives. He sought refuge in a hill at Malayattoor. Desperate, he prayed to God for a sign and his prayer was answered with the miraculous appearance of a golden cross on the crest of the hill. Later, after St Thomas left the place, a few hunters who climbed the hill were shocked to find the glittering crucifix atop and when they struck it with their weapons blood gushed out from it. They rushed down and shared their otherworldly experience with others. A church was eventually built on the hill.
Today devotees from all over India undertake the pilgrimage to the hill of the Holy Cross (Kurissumudi) every year to commemorate the journey of St Thomas to spread the Holy word. The footprint you find at the top of the hill is believed to have left by the legendary saint. The hilltop church is located 15 km away from the town of Kalady.
Kalady Adi Shankaracharya
Kalady is also the birthplace of Jagathguru Adi Shankaracharya, perhaps the most prominent Hindu sage of India. The beautiful village on the banks of Purna river with its rustic charm welcomes devotees from far and wide ever since it was brought to light at the end of the 19th century by the efforts of the then Shankaracharya of Sringeri mutt and thereafter with the consecration of a temple for Adi Shankaran.
Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam at Kalady is a great monument to the proponent of Adwaita philosophy. The walls of the staircase of the eight-storied building is adorned with relief paintings depicting the eventful life of Shankaracharya. Travellers also make it a point to visit the Ramakrishna Advaitha ashrama built in 1936 and the Sringeri Mutt complex in Kalady.
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