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Friday, January 5, 2018

Travel into Kerala - Gods Own Country

31-12-2017: A sudden decision to visit Kerala -commonly referred to in India as Gods Own Country. Kerala is a small state on the southernmost tip of India abutting the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean & the Arabian sea & sharing border with the States of Tamilnadu & Karnataka. Kerala is a land of Oceans,beaches, backwaters,canals,house boats,wildlife sanctuaries,waterfalls,rubber,spices & coconut plantations,temples,elephants, traditional dance forms like Kathakali & combat forms like Kalaripayatu.
We left Coimbatore (Tamilnadu) at 5.45 am sharp and reached Walayar, the Kerala border at 6.15 am & Manapally Kavu temple at 6.45.This is a Devi kshetram and we normally visit during the holy month of Margazhi ie.16 December - 14 January. After praying to Manapally Bhagavathy & Lord Ayyappa we drove on towards Kalady. Enroute we stopped at Vadakkancherry for breakfast of Dosa,Puri,Vadas & coffee at Hotel Aryas.
We reached Kalady at 10.am. Kalady is the birthplace of the revered Hindu Philosopher & Saint Adi Shankara (8th Century AD) where the Shringeri Math has built a beautiful temple dedicated to Goddess Saradambal with sanctums to Adi Sankara as well as the elephant God Vinayaka or Ganesha. There is also an old temple dedicated to Lord Krishna as well as a Veda Patshala (school) where students enroll to learn Vedas ( the holy scripture of Hinduism) and lead a life of austerity and prayers.
The Shringeri peetham now boasts of a new Guest House for devotees to stay and a Mandapam (large Hall) with facilities for catering. Marriages, Upanayanam, Sastiapthapoorthy & Sathabhishekam celebrations are held here.
We met an old Sanskrit Scholar (Retired Principal, Sanskrit College, Chennai) who was delighted to meet us. He now lives in Kalady and teaches Vedas to students who are interested - tuition fees, boarding & lodging free. He is associated with an old age home whose administrators "Sri Sankara Santhi Nilayam" have provided free space for conducting classes. The main objective is propagation of  The Vedas so that the holy scriptures their learnings and values are not lost to the world.We visited this Vedic Center for learning and we were treated to some delicious pongal/chutney & piping hot coffee.
Next we went to Aluva where my 95 year old uncle lives. His daughter (my cousin sister) Ranjana who lives in the USA has come down on her annual vacation. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in their house and a fantastic power packed three hours session replete with jokes anecdotes and sharing memories of growing up years in Perumbavoor. .
Thereon we visited two more temples - Pandackal Bhagawati Kshetram as well as Thottuva Dhanawantari kshetram and offered prayers. (Kshetram means holy place). Pandackal is a long lost family deity which was re-discovered  through "prashnam" and renovated by family members in recent times.
Manapally Bhagavathy Kavu
Kalady Adi Shankara Janmabhoomi Kshetram
The new building constructed at Kalady Kshetram
The Krishna Temple
The pathway leading to the holy Poorna River
The Poorna River - Various views
The fig tree above & closeup view of the fruits below

Another of the new building constructed
Chance meeting with Seshadrinathar - Vedic Scholar at Kalady
Selfie at Aluva - visiting my uncle & relatives
My Uncle with his daughter & her husband who are on annual vacation from the USA

4 comments:

  1. I've often heard about Kerala and its many points of interest.
    I'm quite impressed by the effort to propagare Vedas (holy scripture of Hinduism)which manifests itself in offering free classes, boarding and lodging to those interested.

    Beautiful photos with your uncle and his daughter in Aluva!

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  2. I never got the chance to visit Kerala when I lived in India but my friends had great reviews about the destination.

    Beautiful pictures you have here.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Lara. Nice to note that you lived in India for a while. Did you come as a student or as a professional ?

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