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Shringeri

Sringeri (), also written as Sringeri, ngeri and ngagiri is a hill town and taluk headquarters located in Chikmagalur district in the Indian state of Karnataka, is the site of the first ma ha established by Adi Shankaracharya, Hindu theologian and exponent of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, in the 8th century C.E. It is located on the banks of the river Tung .

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Origin of the name

The name Sringeri is derived from Rishyashringa-giri, a nearby hill that is believed to have contained the hermitage of Rishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyashringa. Rishyashringa appears in an episode in the Bala-Kanda of the Ramayana where a story, narrated by Vasishtha, relates how he brought rains to the drought-stricken kingdom of Romapada.[1]

Legend

According to legend, Adi Shankaracharya is said to have selected the site as the place to stay and teach his disciples, because when he was walking by the Tunga river, he saw a cobra with a raised hood, providing shelter from the hot sun, to a frog about to spawn. Impressed with the place where natural enemies had gone beyond their instincts, he stayed here for twelve years. Adi Shankaracharya also established mathas in the northern (at Jyotirmath, near Badrinath), eastern (at Puri) and western (at Dwaraka) quarters of India.

Geography

Sringeri is located at .[2] It has an average elevation of 672 metres (2204 ft).

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[3] Sringeri had a population of 4253. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Sringeri has an average literacy rate of 83%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 86%, and female literacy is 79%. In Sringeri, 8% of the population is under 6 years of age.Kannada is the predominant language spoken in this Town .Tulu, Konkani, Telugu and Malayalam are the other languages spoken in this Town.

Places of interest

Sringeri is home to a number of historic temples. Of these, Sri Sharadamba temple and Sri Vidyashankara temple are very prominent.

Sharadamba Temple

Sharadamba temple The Sharada temple, dedicated to the Goddess of learning and wisdom, has grown from a simple shrine dating to the time of Adi Shankaracharya. In the fourteenth century, Vidyaranya is said to have replaced the old sandalwood image with a stone and gold image. The temple structure itself continued to be made of wood till the early 20th century. After an unexpected fire that damaged the structure, the current structure was built in the traditional south Indian style of temple architecture.[4]

Vidyashankara Temple

Vidyasankara temple The Vidyashankara temple was built in commemoration of the pontiff Vidyashankara, around 1357-58 C.E.. It was built by Vidyaranya, patron-saint of Harihara and Bukka, the brothers who founded the Vijayanagara empire. The niches in the temple have a number of sculptures from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythologies. Inscriptions in the temple record contributions made by several Vijayanagara emperors but the temple was probably built on an earlier Hoysala site as it combines Hoysala and Vijayanagara architectural features. The temple architecture is also an exhibition of the astronomical expertise of medieval south Indian temple builders. The main temple hall features 12 pillars designated for the 12 signs of the zodiac. Windows and doors along the temple walls are arranged such that equinoxes sunrise views reach the deity. The northern and southern gates enable the sunrise view from the hall during solstices.[5][6][7]

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Sringeri Sharada Peeta

Sri Vidya Teertha Setu across the Tunga river

Loads of fishes in Tunga River

The matha at Sringeri is known as Sringeri Sharada Peetham. It is one of the four Hindu Advaita maths established by Adi Shankaracharya. It is also referred to as Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada peetam. Following the tradition initiated by Adi Shankaracharya, the ma ha is incharge of the Yajur Veda (the Krishna (Black) Yajurveda is more prevalent in South India, over which the ma ha has authority in the Smarta tradition).The head of the matha is called Jagadguru (teacher of the world) and also carries the Shankaracharya name as a title. The present Sringeri Shankaracharya is Shri Bharati Tirtha. Tunga river at Sringeri Sri Shankara Temple at Sringeri

Zodiac Pillars

The twelve pillars in the Vidyashankar temple are popularly known as Rashistambhas (zodiacal pillars). Symbols of the twelve divisions of the zodiac are engraved on these pillars. The temple is an architectural marvel. Among the many delicate carvings, lions that are engraved in biped positions on the pillars may be mentioned. There are stone balls inside the growling faces of the lions and they can be moved inside their mouths. It is said that the design of the pillars involved certain astronomical concepts. For example, the first rays of the rising sun fall on specific pillars with the zodiacal symbol on the pillar corresponding to the position of the sun.

Places of interest near Sringeri

There are a number of prominent Hindu centres of pilgrimage near Sringeri. Some of the major ones include Horanadu Annapoorneshari Temple, Basrikatte Janardana Swami Temple, Hariharapura, Kigga (Rishyashringa Temple), Agumbe (Venugopalaswami Temple & Sunset Spot), Kalasa ( Kalaseshwara Temple), Balehonnur - Rambapuri Matha, Koppa (Veerabhadra Swamy & Chittemakki Mallikarjuna Swamy temple). Udupi, famous for Krishna matha, is a 3-hour journey by road.

Where to Stay

  • Sringeri has guest houses run by the temple administration. Visit Sringeri Mutt web site for details. There are many private lodges also.

Best time to visit

References

External links

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