THIS QUIET TOWN on the  banks of the beautiful Periyar river is celebrated as the birthplace of the great philosopher, Shankaracharya. There are two shrines (built in 1910) to honour his memory, on the river bank. One is dedicated to him and the other to the goddess Sharada, and both are maintained by the Sringeri Matha.  Nearby is a spot locally known as Brindavan, where the Shankanacharya’s mother, Asyamba, was cremated. The old Shri Krishna Temple, near the Shanada Temple, has an image of the deity, said to have been installed by Shankaracharya himself. On the road to the Krishna Temple is a 46-m (151-ft) tall, ninetiered octagonal tower, the SM Adi Shankaracharya Kin Stambha Mandapa. Each of its floors commemorates the life and works of Shankaracharya.

ENVIRONS: The Malayatior Church, 8 km (5 miles) east of Kaladi, is said to be where St Thomas erected a cross. The 1,000-year old rock-cut Kalill Temple, 22 km (14 miles) southeast of Kaladi, was originally a Jain temple. It is now dedicated to the mother goddess. Unlike at other temples, a female elephant is used in all ceremonial rituals.

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