The pilgrim centre of Kalady is famous as the birthplace of Indian philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya, who was born in the 8th century. Kalady is home to two shrines, one dedicated to Dakshinamurthy and other to Goddess Sharda. Kalady is lined with several temples, the most important of which are Sri Krishna Temple, Manickamangalam Temple and Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Mandapam. To soak in the spiritual fervour of the surroundings, devotees can visit the various ghats around the area that are drenched with peace and tranquility. Tourists can also visit the popular Crocodile Ghat, where it is said that a crocodile once caught young Shankaracharya.

Legend has it that one day, the widowed mother of Shankaracharya fainted on her way to a bath in River Poorna. The little boy prayed to Lord Krishna for help and the lord blessed him and said that the river would flow where his feet left prints. Thus, the river changed its course and started flowing here, and the area came to be known as �Kalady�, meaning feet.