Chinmaya International Foundation
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Adi Sankara Nilayam is the sacred birth home of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, the great philosopher, saint and exponent of Advaita Vedanta. This home of Aryamba, his holy mother, is located in Veliyanad, Edakkattuvayal Village, in the Ernakulam District of Kerala. Known historically as ‘Melpazhur Mana’, this place has been fittingly renamed by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda as ‘Adi Sankara Nilayam’. ‘Nilayam’ means abode, residence or living place and thus Adi Sankara Nilayam connotes the abode of Sri Sankara and his vision and mission. This sprawling Mana (a large house) stands in a 12-acre plot of land amidst luxuriant sun-kissed greenery, a water pond and a temple complex with the shrines of Ayyappa, Rama, Krishna, Vettakkorumagan (Kirata Shiva, the family deity of Melpazhur Mana), Nagayakshi and Bhagavati.
Built in the splendid old Kerala style of architecture, this ancient family home is an admirable blend of structural strength, practical utility and artistic workmanship. The exquisite wooden paneling and engravings, which have weathered centuries of wear and tear, bear eloquent testimony to the keen craftsmanship of ancient days. The eastern wing of the home houses the sacred room where Sri Adi Sankaracharya was born. All year round a lamp stays lit in this sacred birth room, before the beautiful vigraha (idol) of Sri Adi Sankaracharya.
The akhanda-jyoti or eternal lamp, diffusing an aura of divinity, indicates the eternal presence of Sri Sankara in this sacred place, ever nurturing Advaita Vedanta and enabling all seekers to walk the path to the supreme Reality. We invite you to meditate here in silence and recharge yourself. It is an experience that should not be missed.
Tradition holds that Sri Sankara’s vidyarambham (ceremony marking the beginning of studies) as well as the upanayanam (the thread ceremony that marks a young boy’s entry into studentship or Brahmacharya) were conducted here. The life story of Sri Adi Sankara has been charmingly presented in the Mana in a series of traditional Kerala art-form murals. The endeavour is to keep our hearts ever inspired by Sri Sankaracharya’s glorious life and ennobling teachings.