Annadana traditions from Kailasa to Kathirgamam
Just as the Indian subcontinent may be said to extend from Mount Kailasa in the far North to Kathirgamam in the far South (also called Dakshina Kailasa as it is situtated upon the same meridian as Mount Kailasa), so also the principle of annadanam is respected and practiced across the subcontinent.
A popular saying among Kailasa pilgrims Baba Amarnatha barfani bhukhe ko anna pyase ko pani exhorts listeners to ‘offer food to the hungry and water to the thirsty in the name of Lord Siva’.
Adi Sankaracharya in his stotram praising Annapurna, the personification of plentiful food, says: “Annapurne sadapurne sankarpranvallabhe gyanvairagya siddhyartham bhiksham dehi ca parvathi.”
Annapurna Devi, goddess of plenty, you who are lord shiva’s eternal consort, give us alms together with wisdom.
Because of this universal tradition of annadanam, since millennia it has been possible even common for sadhus, pilgrims, saints and others to travel from one end of the subcontinent to the other spreading the wisdom of their respective sampradayas to the far corners of the subcontinent.