The Oldest Temple Of Maa Saraswati Is In Sringeri
The Shardamba Temple at Sringeri was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. The temple is very beautiful, and Goddess Saraswati is worshipped here. Sringeri is situated on the banks of the Tunga River, which is one of the well-known pilgrimage centres of Hindus as well as for those who worship Adi Shankaracharya. You can visit the temple at any time of the year. The weather here is always pleasant.
The History Behind The Establishment Of The Temple
When Shri Shankaracharya was roaming the country with his disciples, he should reach Shringa Giri. Here was the ashram of Maharishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyashringa. Upon reaching there, Shankaracharya saw that a cobra was spreading its wings and protecting a pregnant frog from the scorching sun. He was very impressed by this scene. After which he and Goddess Saraswati, present with him as the young woman Bharti, decided to stay here. And thought of establishing Sringeri as Sharada Peeth. Sringeri is one of the five monasteries located in different parts of India. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya spent 12 years here. And at the same time established four other temples around the monastery –
Kalabhairava, Durga, Anjaneya And Kali Temples
First, there was a sandalwood statue of Goddess Saraswati inside the temple, and later a gold statue was installed here. After some time, Shri Bharti Krishna Tirath and Shri Vidyaranya renovated the temple using tiles to double its beauty. On the occasion of Navaratri and Dussehra, different types of beauty are seen here. In Navratri, which is celebrated for 11 days, there is a special kind of worship on the day of Mahanavami. There is special worship in Sri Sharada temple on Chaitra Shukla Purnima, Krishna Pratipath Mahabhishekam and Sri Shardambal on Vaishakhi, Deepapotsav on Kartik Purnima day, Magha Shukla Panchami, Jagadguru on Lalit Panchami. Sri Shardamba Ranotsav is celebrated in Magh Tritiya.
Temple Of Sringeri
The small Shringeri Nagar has more than 40 temples. It was not possible to see 40 temples in one visit. So we saw some temples whose details I want to give here:
Shardamba Temple Of Sringeri
Arriving here, we entered the Shardamba temple from a high Raj Gopuram or Gopura. This Raj Gopuram, built-in 2014, is a new link in the history of this ancient temple. Being the tallest structure of Sringeri Nagar, it is clearly visible from the city and surrounding areas. In a true sense, it proves the horizon of this small town of Sringeri and the Shardamba temple complex.
Sharda Devi is the presiding goddess of Sringeri. It is said that when Adishankar came back after spending some time in Kashmir, he brought Sharda Devi with Shringeri from there. The original Sharada Peeth of Kashmir is now in Pakistan Occupied Territory.
Within the temple, Sarada Devi is mounted on a circle with a garland in her hand. The original statue of Sharada Devi was built in Chandan wood. Why not be! Sandalwood is available in abundance in this area. The present statue built in Swarna was installed by Saint Vidyaranya in the 14th century.
12th of Sant Vidyaranya Sringeri Math. Shankaracharya was. He played an important role in the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire. The statue of Sharda Devi is embellished with so much clothing, jewellery and flowers that it becomes difficult to understand the subtle workmanship of the statue. The difficulty increases the crowd there, which does not allow you to stand in front of Shardamba for more than a few moments.
Sharadamba represents the Goddess Saraswati here. As a writer, I always wish him all the best so that my writing is very effective. Here the goddess is also considered an avatar of Udaya Bharati, the wife of Mandan Mishra. This is the same Goddess Bharti, whose scripture with Adi Shankaracharyaji is very famous.
I was informed that till about 100 years ago, the entire temple was made of wood. Probably sandalwood was used. But in one fire, the entire temple was consumed. Now the temple which is present here has been renovated after this fire by the Dravidian system.
Every Friday, on the days of Navratri and some other special days, the goddess is placed in a palanquin, and her procession is taken out. You can see a large palanquin made of gold and silver on the temple premises.
Parents begin their child’s learning practice with the blessings of Mother Sharda. If the time is appropriate, you can see many babies in the temple premises with their slate strip and parents.
Vidyashankar Temple is the most attractive temple of Sringeri, from the point of view of archaeological science. As soon as we entered the Shardamba temple complex, our eyesight remained on the Vidyashankar temple. Standing on a high platform, this carved temple is characterized by its semicircular shape, which attracts our attention spontaneously. We were drawn to this temple with enchantment. For many moments, standing in front of it, staring at its shape and praising it.
History of Vidyashankar Temple
17th In the century when there was Vijayanagara Empire in Hampi, the Vidyashankar Temple was built for Guru Vidyashankar. However, this temple also has a glimpse of the Hoysala dynasty or Chalukya Vastu of the pre-Vijayanagara Empire. It is a rectangular temple set on a high platform, with both its parts gnarled, i.e. round. Many statues are engraved on the outer reefs of the temple. These idols belong to the Gods of all four sects as defined by Adi Shankara. These four cults are Shiva, Vishnu, Shanmukh, Devi, Ganesh and Surya. In the corners of the temple is a series of stone knaves, which are a living example of the Vijayanagar Devalaya architecture. I saw a similar series in the 100 pillar chamber of Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. If you have read that memoir of mine, you will surely remember it.
Within the Saradamba temple complex, there is a row of some small stone temples in the backside of the Vidyashankar temple. These temples are so small that only one statue can be contained within each temple. Due to the closure of all those temples, I could not know which of the gods they are temples, are they ever opened and are they still worshipped regularly?
The most famous festival in the Vidyashankar temple is celebrated on the Shukla Paksha of Kartik month. That is after 15 days from Diwali.
Adi Shankaracharya Temple And Shardamba Temple Complex
A little behind the Saradamba temple is a small but beautiful temple dedicated to Adi Shankara. Adorable paintings based on his biography have been made on the outer reefs of the temple. On either side of the stairs leading to the sanctum sanctorum are placed two elephant crafts made in the rock.
Biography Of Adi Shankara
On one side of this temple is a huge chamber where you will see many babies sitting in a queue waiting for their first writing.
There is a huge sacrificial fire near it, which has many attractive wooden pillars and a platform. What would be the scene when a yagna is being performed here, or a musical drama is being staged on the stage? It must have been so exciting to sit here and watch it all!
There is a shop of books just outside the premises from where you can buy literature based on Advaita Vedanta and Adi Shankara.
It is an ancient temple situated on a hill called Mallappa Betta. We reached the temple by road, which leads to the entrance of the temple. If you are interested in climbing on foot, there are also stairs leading to the temple to get this thrill. Most of the locals do not know this temple by its full name. Therefore, to know about this temple, you should ask them about the temple of Betta.
Near the entrance of the Malahanikareshwar temple are the chhatris of saints, i.e. samadhis. There is an immense Shivling in the middle of this ancient temple. It is believed that this Shivling removes all filth in our life. Other temples in this complex include a temple dedicated to Bhavani. You will also see a pillared temple here, which is the pillar Ganpati temple. This is similar to the Anjaneya temple that I saw outside Ekambareswar Temple in Kanchipuram.
This temple situated at an altitude truly leads you to many heights, whether it is the spiritual height or intellectual height. Surprisingly there was no rush of people here. No one was present here except us.
Temples Of 4 Directions Established
It was customary to mark the boundaries of any sacred area by building a temple in its four directions in ancient times. Adi Shankaracharya also established four small temples in the four directions of Sringeri. These small temples are still on the four hills.
While visiting the Kere Anjaneya Temple – Durgamba Temple in the west, we stopped here and saw this temple. Anjaneya means this is the temple of Hanumanji.
Formerly Kaal Bhairav Temple
This temple is closest to Sringeri Sharada Peetham. You go here by swinging bridge. From here, you will get a panoramic view of the Shringeri temple complex located on the banks of the Tunga River.
Durgamba Temple To The South
Located in the direction of Mangaluru, this temple is located at the most distance from Sringeri.
Kalikamba Temple In The North
I arrived here at lunchtime. As you must have understood, this temple was closed. The temple is situated on the verge of a hill within the city of Sringeri.
Sringeri Sharada Peetham Or Sringeri Math
Sringeri Sharda Peetham was founded by Adi Shankara. According to popular historians and Sharda Peeth, it was established in the 9th century. This means Shankaracharya is a living tradition that has been in existence for more than 1200 years. Let me remind you, the history of the other two monasteries, Dwarka and Kanchipuram, founded by Adi Shankara, is believed to be of the 9th century BCE, which proves this tradition to be more than 2500 years old. According to the genealogy, the history of the Shankaracharyas of these peeths has been recorded. The present Shankaracharya of Sharda Peetham in Sringeri is the 37th in its lineage. Sankara comes to number, while Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram is on the 70th number in the lineage there.
Logic says, perhaps the Sringeri Sharda Peetham was founded later. The irony is that Sringeri Sharada Peetham is considered to be the first Peeth established by Adi Shankara. Suresvaracharya was the first priest of Sharada Peetham. He is also identified as Mandan Mishra, who debated with Adi Shankaracharyaji.
According to legends, at one time, Adi Shankaracharya was walking on the banks of the Tung River. He saw that a snake was spreading its wings on it to save a frog who was suffering from childbirth from the scorching sun. He considered that the place where the two innate enemies are thus protecting each other is definitely sacred, and this should be the workplace of a holy work like learning. In this way, the first of the four benches established by Adi Shankaracharya, Sringeri Sharada Peetham was established.
Feed The Fish
Through the bridge connecting the two banks of the Tung River, we walked towards the Sringeri monastery. Walking on this bridge, we get a panoramic view of the ghats of the Tung River. Pilgrims were feeding the fishes at the ghats. It is a wonderful sight. The clean water of the Tung River and the rocks that obstruct its flow are also clearly visible from here. On the right, the river water on the Western Ghats was filled with black fishes, while the water on the left was fish-free. Why are you not? Fish likewise go to the same shore where they get food. All fish eat and drink happily in the water. On the other hand, those selling puffed rice also feed their livelihood by filling the stomachs of the fish by the devotees.
After crossing the bridge, we proceeded some more. There were many buildings among the greenery of the forests, including the administrative building of Sharda Math. Aham Brahma Smi – This Mahavakya, which Adi Shankaracharya had provided to this Sringeri Sharada Math, is written on these buildings. श्रृ Among the Vedas, Sringeri is the Yajurveda near Sharda Peetham. At one place, we saw young students sitting in front of their guru’s picture and chanting the Vedas.
There are many buildings of Sringeri Sharada Peetham which mostly consist of samadhis of former Shankaracharyas. Guru Niwas is a huge chamber where Shankaracharya gives darshan to his devotees. We were lucky who came to this room as soon as we reached there. We bowed to him and came out of there. After that, he went ahead with the goal of looking at other parts of Sringeri.
Elephants Of Sringeri Math
As we were returning from the Sarada Math towards the bridge of the Tung River, we saw elephants from the temple coming towards the bridge. He was entertaining the devotees with the melodious sound of bells hanging on his neck, with his drunken moves. Listening to this melodious sound, when we came out of the middle of two elephants walking at a gentle pace, our Rome was thrilled. All the elephants stood in the Saradamba temple complex. There, bananas offered by the devotees started accepting and blessing them.
Sringeri Sharda Peetham has a library of Sanskrit manuscripts. I could not see this library in my journey. I hope to see it on my next visit.
Parshwanath Jain Basadi
Parshwanath Jain Basadi, also known as Parshwanath Basadi, is located on the main road leading to the Shardamba Temple. It is about 200 meters from Gopuram. Like the shops around you, it can confuse you because the temple gates are also painted blue. So remember, you can also consider it a shop and move on. Entering through the gate, we saw a typical Jain temple. Just like we saw in Moodbidri. There were pillars with pillars on either side of the entrance.
Parshwanath Jain Basadi is a Stone Devsthan built in 1150 AD. Thus it is the oldest living structure of Sringeri. Entering inside the temple, we reached a mandapa with many pillars. Statues of several Jain saints excavated here are displayed. The sanctum sanctorum was closed. Nevertheless, all the idols were clearly visible inside us. The main statue made of black stone is 23rd. Tirthankar belongs to Parshwanath. We saw a strange scene in this temple. Within this temple was a silver statue of Padmavati in a palanquin.
Outside the sanctum sanctorum are several metal statues of Jain saints. Walking around the temple, I saw many extraordinary stone sculptures, including a statue of a serpent. According to the priest there, only four Jain families now reside in Sringeri.
Created during our Sringeri Yatra is presented to you. Look at this unique Vidyashankar temple and other temples with your own eyes.
Other places of interest near Sringeri
1. Annapoorneshwari Temple of Hornady
2. Kavi Kuvempu Museum of Kuppali
3. Uluwe Bird Sanctuary on the route to Tirthahalli
4. Sirimane Falls – 12 km from Sringeri near village Kigga. lies on
5. Hanumanagundi waterfall – about 37 km from Sringeri. It is situated at this distance
6. Udupi – about 40 km from Sringeri. M Distant city
How To Reach Sringeri?
About 105 km from Mangaluru, in Chikkamagaluru district of Sringeri, Karnataka. Is situated at this distance. Many buses of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) run from Sringeri to Bangalore or Mangaluru.
The Vidyashankar Temple and Shardamba Temple of Sringeri are open from 6 am to 2 pm and from 7 pm to 4 pm.
Photographing is allowed outside the temples but not inside the temples.
Being an ancient pilgrimage centre, Sringeri has a variety of guest house facilities.