Oct 29, 2011

Day2: Kaladi - Crocodile Ghat

A view of Periyar river from the Crocodile Ghat

"This is the place where Sankara's leg was bitten by a crocodile about a millennium ago, forcing Aryambal to permit Sankara to adopt sannyasa", explained a display board at the Kalady shrine. Since then, this place is named as the crocodile ghat. The ghat section is located on the banks of Periyar river flowing in front of the main shrine.

"A lamp post made of black stone near a place where Aryambal attained samadhi helped us to locate this spot with precision", explained another board in the shrine. The display boards are an effort by the Sringeri mutt to popularize the legends of the shrine.

I walked up to the sanctum sanctorum of the main deity, Goddess Saradamba, stood in front, closed my eyes and prayed for peace. After accepting the prasad, I reached Aryambal's samadhi, stood in awe looking at the black stone installed ages ago, believed to be by Sankara himself! Standing in front of Aryambal's samadhi, my mind went on contemplating 'enna thavam seidanai' song, written about the motherhood of Krishna.

After paying my due respect, I moved on to Sankara's deity. The age of this holy man is perhaps one of the most debated topics by the scholars from religious schools across India. Googling for "the age of sankara" says the best guess is about 1223 years (as of Oct 2011).

A sense of achievement overwhelmed me when I stood in front of Sankara's deity, for I had come to see the man who existed in flesh and blood centuries ago, whose name is pronounced by everyone's lips at least once praying for a better afterlife. For some inexplicable reason, I moved away from him, without making a prayer.