May 30, 2010

2500 years old holy place - Kanchi Sankara Mutt, Kanchipuram, India

Kanchipuram, one of the seven holy cities of India, which is considered as city of 1000 temples, has a lot of important beautiful and ancient temples. Apart from these temples, one of the important places in Kanchipuram is Kanchi Sankara Mutt. (In South India, it is written as Kanchi Sankara Mutt, whereas North Indians write this as Kanchi Shankara Math). Even though the Mutt (Mutt means monastery or the holy place where seers live) has a lot of controversies, there is no doubt that this remains as one of the most visited places in Kanchipuram city.

Kanchi Sankara Mutt is located well in the heart of Kanchipuram city. It is believed that this Mutt was established by Adi Shankaracharya, the great reformer of Hinduism religion, in the year 482 BC. It is also believed that he attained samadhi (died) in the year 477 BC in Kanchipuram. However, there are many controversies about the above statements. There are a lot of people who believe that Adi Shankaracharya was born in the 8th century AD, and he attained samadhi in Badrinath. (Interestingly you can find Adi Shankara samadhis in Badrinath as well as in Thrisur.) There are also people who claim that Adi Shankaracharya didn't establish Kanchi mutt; it was a branch of Sringeri mutt in Kumbakonam city which became independent on its own and shifted to Kanchipuram.

Adi Shankaracharya was the one who pacified the goddess Kamakshi by establishing Sri Chakra. His history is very well connected to the temple of the most famous Kamakshi Amman Temple of Kanchipuram city. However, there are people who claim that the Kamakshi Amman temple was originally a Jain or Buddhist temple, and Shankaracharya converted that into Kamakshi temple in the 8th century CE.

I personally believe that Kamakshi Amman temple is very ancient and original. I also believe that Adi Shankaracharya was 2500 years old and not merely 1200 years old. However, I am not sure where he spent his last years in Kanchi.

It was obvious that Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram became very famous in 20th century CE during the period of then Kanch Shankaracharya (Kanchi seer) Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami. He lived for 100 years and there are still millions of devotees for him. You can find the samadhi of Sri Chandrasekarendra Swamiji in Kanchi mutt.

The devotees visit Sankara Mutt to get darshan of two Shankaracharyas (Jeyendra and Vijeyendra), and also to visit the samadhi of Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami. There are also some small shrines and idols in Sankara Mutt.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Sankara Mutt
1) One of the most important places in Kanchipuram city
2) 2500 years old holy place

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

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  1. hi ,
    I recently jumped into this post and never even thought of these things. I always wondered why there are 30 plus Jagadgurus in other mutts and Kanchi mutt has 70. If Shankaracharya was born BC then what about the other four mutts and their histroy? Do you have books and history literature on this. REcently a book The Holy Sankara Mutt was released by Times of india group, I havent read it yet

  2. Can you tell me the importance of madam or mutt's and its concepts. If there is any book pls let me know.. My email id is

  3. Can you tell me the importance of madam or mutt's and its concepts. If there is any book pls let me know.. My email id is