by Suhasini on 30/05/10 at 6:40 am
Kanchi Sankara Mutt (Kanchi Shankara Muth) located in Kanchipuram city in South India is believed to be 2500 years old, and it has a lot of controversial stories.
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 Muth). 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 Jain or Buddhist temple, and Shankaracharya converted that into Kamakshi temple in the 8th century AD.
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 his life.
It was obvious that Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram became very famous in 20th century AD during the period of then Kanch Shankaracharya (Kanchi seer) Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami. He lived for 100 years old and there were millions of devotees for him. You can find the samadhi (holy tomb) of Sri Chandrasekarendra Swamiji in Kanchi mutt. It was unfortunate that the successors Jeyendra Swami and Vijeyendra Swami got into some controversies, were arrested and then released.
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.