Sunday, 26 April 2020

The House Where Adi Shankara Chanted Kanakadhara Stotram - Swarnath Mana - Punnorcode - Ernakulam

Historical importance Swarnath Mana at the exact place where the divine manifestation of Mahalakshmi in response to Adi Shankara's soulful prayers of Kanakadharastavam (the first Hymn of Adi Shankara) took place. The event occurred at the place now popularly known as SWARNATHU MANA (also PUNNORKODE MANA) suggesting clearly the presence of Gold in the episode. Swarnathu Mana is in Punnorkode, Pazhamthottam situated 16 KM from Aluva and 23 KM from Kaladi. The Kanakadharastavam, the first hymn spontaneously poured forth from the young compassionate Adi Sankara is an adorable appeal and prayer to Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity) to direct a glance of benediction on a noble lady who was languishing in abject poverty.

Swarnath Mana Entrance
Swarnath Mana Entrance
A beautiful sprawling home set amid acres of lush greens stands as a proud symbol of Kerala’s heritage. The Manas of Kerala are those architectural wonders that epitomised an era and a way of life, often feudal, dating back to several centuries. They were the traditional residences of Nairs and Namboothiris; often housing entire generations of families. The ancestral home of the Ponnorkkottu family, who migrated from Northern and Central parts of Kerala almost 1,000 years back, the Nalukettu, stands proud having successfully faced the onslaught of time. We have all heard of the popular Nalukettu (four-halled with a central courtyard) or the Ettukettu (eight-halled with 2 central courtyards) and the rare Pathinarukettu (16-halled with 4 central courtyards). Swarnathu Mana belongs to the rarest of the rare — Panthrandukettu (12-halled with 4 courtyards).

Ancestral Home - Swarnathu Mana
Ancestral Home - Swarnathu Mana
Swarnathu Mana is opened for poojas in the mornings and there are occasional cultural programmes still held there — a throwback to an era when the Mana used to resound with dance and song performances. The doors of the Mana have intricate brass locks and one steps into a massive Nalukettu surrounded by well-defined red oxide-coated rooms, each serving a specific function. The woodwork is the core of the building and is used in walls, ceilings, attics and cellars.

Ancestral Home - Swarnathu Mana
Ancestral Home - Swarnath Mana
Ceiling Art Work
Wooden Art Work In Ceilings
Closer View Of Wooden Art Work
Closer View Of Wooden Art Work
The entire house, 10,000 sq feet of it, is like a huge maze with one room leading to another and every single room being interconnected in some way. There are 3 large ponds in the Mana with one used earlier exclusively to bathe elephants. There is also a temple dedicated to goddess Bhuvaneshwari, where, in the olden days, a pooram used to be held. Adjacent to the main house there is also a Pathaayappura (granary) and Maalikas to accommodate guests.

As was the practice in olden days of Gurukulam all pupils in turn have to seek food from householders (Biksha from Grahastas) and share whatever they receive with the fellow students and Acharya( teacher). It was Sankara’s turn on a Dwadasi day to seek alms. Sankara of 5 years age was going door to door for alms (Biksha) and happened to see a cottage where a lady with a pious countenance was seen. Sankara addressed the lady “O blessed mother, please give alms.” (Maatha Bavathy Biksham Dehi). The lady was poor, and though was attracted by the splendour and effulgence of Sankara, earnestly desired to give something to Sankara but felt helpless and grieved as she had nothing. Despite knowing very well that she did not possess anything worthy for her guest, the poor lady did not want young Sankara to leave empty handed, and noticing her ordeal and pitiable situation, Sankara stood there calmly.

Central open-to-air Courtyard
Central open-to-air Courtyard
She searched to locate something to be given and saw a few dry gooseberries (Amla) which she had collected for Parana (that which is taken to end a fast) (Previous day being Ekadashi she had not eaten anything and had observed fast (Upavas). She did not even know whether this gooseberry could be given and would be accepted by Sankara. She sought his permission before giving. Sankara was deeply moved by the noble gesture and gracious heart with a charitable attitude of parting with the only thing she had and respectfully received the alms. The entire situation of the lady in distressing poverty triggered the compassionate all inclusive personality of Sankara to soulfully appeal to Goddess of wealth and the resultant hymn was KANAKADHARASTAVAM. The golden gooseberry rain fell in the garden of that old lady and the house got to be known as Swarnathu mana.

Notice At Swarnath Mana
Notice At Swarnath Mana
Kalady is the birth place of Sri Aadhi Sankarar, who lived during 8th century BC. There lived a couple belonging to Namboodhiri (a Brahmin sect) family by name Sivaguru and Aryaamba. Sivaguru was a well learned man who excelled in Vedas and Saastras. They lead a happy life but with constant worry that they didn’t have children. The couple went and prayed Vadakkunnathar (Lord Shiva) at Thrissur for 48 days with fullest devotion. Lord Shiva, who was delighted with their prayers, appeared in Sivaguru’s dream and asked whether he would prefer many ordinary children who will live long or just one intellectual son who will be short lived. Sivaguru humbly left the choice to Lord Shiva Himself, saying that God knows what the devotee deserves. Lord Shiva was pleased with the attitude of Sivaguru and the Lord Himself chose to be born to the couple. Aryaamba gave birth to a beautiful male child on Aarudhra star and the couple named him Sankaran.

Location:

Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by 16 acres of verdant greenery and resounding with old-world charm is Swarnathu Mana. It is located in Pazhamthottam village and accessed by travelling 16 km from Kochi, via Pallikkara. Swarnath Mana is an ancient Kovilakam which is situated 20km away from Ernakulam, in Pazhamthottam village near Pattimattam. Swarnath Mana is also known by the name ‘Punnorkodu Mana’. This Mana has plenty of trees, lush green plants and creepers growing in its premises. This beautiful house has ‘nalu-kettu’ and ‘Pandrendu-Kettu with each structure constructed in traditional style of Kerala. As you move around in this Mana, you will feel nostalgic thinking about the lives of people those days. people come from near and far places to see and get to know more about the Mana.

Address & Contact Details:

Swarnath Mana (Birth Place Of Kanakadhara Stotram),
Pazhamthottam-Njaralloor Rd,
Punnorcode,
Ernakulam District,
Pin Code : 683 565.
Kerala.

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