The Sringeri Sharada Peetham or Sringeri Temple is located on the banks of River Tunga in the Chikkamagalur district of Karnataka. It is the first of the four Ammaya Peetham established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD. Further, the word Ammaya Peetham means “Throne of the Veda”.
Sri Adi Shankaracharya established four Peethams or Centers in the four corners of the country to safeguard and propagate the Vedas. The head of the Mutt is Jagadguru meaning “Teacher of the world”. Although, the sringeri temple is there since the 8th century, but the history is available only for the period after the 14th century.
The Sringeri Temple Complex is huge and consists of many temples as mentioned below:
Sri Sharadamba Temple – The Temple consists of granite stones. The Mahamandapam also has huge stone pillars and have carvings of deities like Durga, Raja Rajeshwari, Dwarapalakas and Devis according to the Shilpa Sastras. The door of the temple has Gold covering and is unique because it has 8 panels with figures of Ashtalakshmi inscribed on them.
Sri Torana Ganapati Temple – The unique shrine is a simple silver door with an idol of Ganapati on the top. It is also customary for devotees to first have darshan of Torana Ganapati and then proceed to visit Sri Sharadamba.
Sri Vidyashankara Temple – The Temple exists since 1338 AD and shows Chalukyan and Dravidian style of architecture. The Garbhagrah is on the west side with Vidya Ganapati and Durga as the main deities. Also, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva govern the other three sides.
Sri Janardhana Temple – The Temple exists since the 9th century. The Temple is for Lord Vishnu as Janardhana. The idol of Lord Janardhana has Sridevi and Bhudevi on both sides. Priests cover the idol with Sandal paste throughout the year.
Sri Adi Shankaracharya Temple – The idol of Sri Adi Shankaracharya is present in a pose of a Yogasana with four disciples and a Shiva Linga in front.
Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple – A small Temple dedicated to Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Sita is present on the right of the Sri Sharadamba Temple.
Besides these Temples, Sri Adi Shankaracharya established four guardian deities in the four directions to protect the town. They are Kalabhairava in the East, Anjaneya in the West, Durga in the South, and Kalikamba in North.
- What is the history of Sringeri Temple?
- What is the significance of Sringeri Temple?
- What is Sringeri Mutt?
- What are the timings of Sringeri Temple?
- What are the festivals celebrated at Sringeri Temple?
- What are the poojas and sevas performed at Sringeri Temple?
- How to reach Sringeri Temple?
- Where to stay near Sringeri Temple?
- Where to eat near Sringeri Temple?
- What are some temples near Sringeri Temple?
What is the history of Sringeri Temple?
According to the history of the Sringeri Temple, Sri Sharadamba is the presiding deity of the town of Sringeri. The original sringeri temple was small and a sandalwood idol of Goddess Sharada was there abovve a Sri Chakra. Moreover, Adi Shankaracharya carved the Sri Chakra.
Subsequently, Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya expanded and renovated the temple. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present golden idol.
Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati raised the present structure in granite with polished granite walls around the sanctum and Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati consecrated the new temple in May 1916.
According to the history of the sringeri temple, the 32nd Acharya of the Peetham, Jagadguru Sri Vriddha Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji had a vision of the Ganapati when he was contemplating on resolving and issue in the mutt affairs. He offered prayers to the image of Lord Ganapati carved on the Torana of the door nearby. Hence, this resolved the problem immediately. Since then, the Ganapati became famous as Torana Ganapati.
According to sources, the Muslim invasion under Malik Kafur, destroyed the original idol made of sandalwood. During the Vijayanagara period, a gold statue of Sharadamba in a sitting position was there.
In the 14th century, the Vijayanagara empire gave royal patronage. The King granted the Peetham the rights over the secular administration of the land.
What is the legend of Mandanmisra?
As per the story, a noted scholar named Mandanmisra was famous for his debating skills and no one could win the debate with him. Seeing this, Goddess Saraswati descended on Earth as Upaya Bharathi and organized a debate between Shankaracharya and Mandanmisra.
The condition was that if Shankaracharya loses the debate, he would marry and have a family and if Mandanmisra loses, he will take up Asceticism. Upaya Bharathi handed each of them a garland and said that whichever garland dries up first, that person will lose the debate.
The debate lasted for 17 days and eventually Mandanmisra ‘s garland dried first and he lost the debate. Upaya Bharathi challenged Shankaracharya on a debate on marital life. After a time gap of one month, Shankaracharya won the debate. He begged Upaya Bharathi to follow him to a place he goes to frequently. She obliged on the condition that he will not turn back and look at her otherwise she will stop.
Mandanmisra was a disciple of Shankaracharya and he started the journey with Upaya Bharathi. On reaching the village of Sringeri, an unusual sight on the banks of River Tunga surprised him. A cobra was spreading out its hood over a frog in labor pains, to give it a shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. The sound of the anklets stopped and he turned back to look. Shankaracharya immediately installed the Sri Chakra on a rock there and installed Devi with the name Sharada.
The Goddess appeared before him and said that this would become famous as the Sharada Peetham and that she would stay at the Peetam to grace the devotees. Mandanamisra, now Sureshwara became the first pontiff of Sringeri Sharada Peetam.
What is the significance of Sringeri Temple?
The significance of Sringeri Temple is that Sri Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD founded Sringeri Sharada Peetham which is the southern Advaita Vedanta Matt. He had previously established three other Matts – Jyotirmath in the North, Puri in the East and Dwarka in the West.
Sri Adi Shankaracharya installed the idol of Goddess Sharadamba on the banks of the Tunga river.
According to beliefs, Lord Shiva gifted the crystal Chandramouleeshwara Linga to Sri Adi Shankaracharya. One can still visit the Linga and the Chandramouleeshwara Pooja takes place for the Linga every night at 8:30 PM.
Devotees believe that Goddess Sharadambika is the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati, who came to Earth as Upaya Bharathi. It is a common faith that by worshiping her, one can receive blessings of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu along with Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
In the eastern half of the structure of Sri Vidyashankara Temple, a mandap with twelve pillars is present. Each of them is adorned with twelve signs of the Zodiac in order. These pillars are arranged in such a way that the rays of the sun fall on each of them in order of the 12 solar months.
A large Sudarshana Chakra can be seen in the Janardhana Temple in the complex. It is believed that offering prayers to the Chakra can ward off the feelings of enmity towards other human beings. It is also believed to protect devotees from all evil and harm.
The ritual of Aksharabhyasa is sacred and fulfilling. The parents of kids in the age of 2-5 are given a slate and chalk or alternatively, a plate of rice on which they pray to Goddess Saraswati and the Guru to impart good knowledge and education to their children.
What is Sringeri Mutt?
Near Sringeri Temple, there is a famous monastery known as Sringeri Mutt which was established by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century. Gurus of the mutt follow Advaita Vedanta philosophy. The gurus believe that the Brahman is the ultimate cosmic spirit and all gods in scriptures are just manifestations of Brahman.
They believe in the innermost self of the human being – Aham Brahma Asmi, which means “I am the Universal spirit”.
The gurus at the mutt teach that an individual must imbibe the good habits of the guru in addition to revering and listening to the guru’s teachings.
The mutt has produced so many scholars. The swamis of this matha consider themselves as the descendants of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
The mutt runs a few colleges and a hospital. It also maintains some temples and Vedic schools across India. The Sringeri Temple is maintained by the mutt. The mutt also strives hard to preserve the natural beauty of Sringeri.
What are the timings of Sringeri Temple?
Here are the timings of Sringeri Temple:
|Morning Darshan||6 AM||2 PM|
|Evening Darshan||4 PM||9:15 PM|
|All the other Temples inside the Sharada Matha Complex||8:30 AM||7 PM|
|Sri Vidyashankara Temple and Sri Torana Ganapati Temple||7 AM||8:30 PM|
|Sri Malahaneekareswara Temple||8:30 AM||7 PM|
Sringeri Temple Dress code
It is advised to wear decent cotton clothes during summers (March to Mid-June). The rains start from June onwards when it is recommended to wear full sleeves and jackets. Blankets and Bedsheets must be carried in winters as it gets quite cold here in winters.
What are the festivals celebrated at Sringeri Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Sringeri Temple are:
The Full Moon day in the month of Ashadha in Hindu calendar is Guru Purnima. The holy day is especially for Guru or the Teacher. On this day, devotees offer Poojas to the Brahma Vidyacharyas – who passed down Brahman knowledge to continuous successive generations of Acharya. The Vyasa Pooja also takes place on this day because devotees believe the Sage Ved Vyasa to be a person with the highest level of intellect. He also coded the Vedas into four divisions and composed the Brahmasutras.
Traditionally, the Chaturmasya Vrata takes place for a period of two months, usually from July – August. The Sannyasins observe the Vrata and stay at one place to disperse spiritual knowledge to their disciples. Moreover, during the Vrata period, the Jagadguru observes the following Vratas – Shravana Somvara Vrata, Vara Mahalakshmi Vrata, Gokulashtami Vrata, Vamana Jayanti, Ananta Padmanabha Vrata and Uma Maheshwar Vrata.
The Navaratri Utsav is a festival of great fervor and zest in The Sringeri Temple complex. On the day before Navaratri, a Maha Abhishekam takes place for Goddess Sharadamba. After the Rudrabhishekam and 108 Abhishekam the priest also makes an offering of several Alankaras to the Goddess. They are Jagatprasutika Alankaram ( the day before Navaratri), Brahmi, Maheshwari, Koumari, Vaishnavi, Indrani, Veena Sharada, Mohini, Rajarajeshwari, Chamunda, and Gajalakshmi. Several Parayanas (Readings) also take place such as of the Vedas and the Gita. Cultural music programs are also there at the Sringeri Temple Complex.
This festival lasts for seven days at the Sringeri Temple during the Kartik Shukla Paksha (November). Devotees perform several Poojas and Aradhanas on the special days of Shashti, Saptami and Ashtami of the month.
Besides the above main festivals mentioned, other festivals celebrated on a grand scale at the Sringeri Temple are Makara Sankranthi, Maha Shivaratri, Ugadi, Ram Navami, Narasimha Jayanti, Janmashtami, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Jagadguru Jayanti, Deepavali, and Kartik Somavara Pooja.
What are the poojas and sevas performed at Sringeri Temple?
Poojas and sevas performed at Sringeri Temple are:
- Chandramouleeshwara Pooja – The Trikala Nitya Pooja of the holy Linga of Sri Chandramouleeshwara and of Sri Chakra takes place every night at the Sringeri Temple.
- Sri Adi Shankaracharya Ashtottara Shatanamavali – This is the list of 108 names of Sri Adi Shankaracharya that the previous generations passed down.
- Gita Gyana Yagna – Sri Sharada Peetham started The Gita Gyana Yagna scheme in which any individual who can recite the 700 Shlokas of the Gita will receive Rupees 21,000 and a certificate. One can also split the attempt into 3 days.
- Ashtottara Seva – The devotees can perform the Ashtottara ceremony in all the Temples of the complex to their respective presiding deities. Ashtottara means reciting of the 108 names of Gods such as Ganesha, Vishnu, Durga, and Shiva.
Other important poojas are:
- Dindi Deeparadana (Suvasini Pooja) – Devotees can perform this pooja at the Sringeri Temple. The Suvasini Pooja takes place by worshiping a married woman as a representation of Goddess Durga. One offers the woman meals, fruits, clothes, and Dakshina.
- Udayastamana Pooja – This is a unique type of Pooja that takes place for one full day, starting from dawn till dusk. Moreover, there is a total of 18 Poojas for the devotees throughout the day.
- Rudrabhishekam – This Pooja is performed to please Lord Shiva and to get his blessings. The Pooja also relieves one of his or her sins and brings prosperity to the family. It can take place at the Sri Shankaracharya Temple, Sri Vidyashankara Temple and Sri Balasubramanya Temple.
- Panchamrutha Abhishekam – It is a ritual in which the idols of the God bathe in five items (Panch amrit)- Milk, Curd, Honey, Sugar, and Ghee. The ritual can take place at all the Temples in the complex including the Sringeri Temple.
Sringeri Temple Aksharabhyasam
Couples with children between 2.5 – 5 years can perform Aksharabhyasam as a start to their education at the Sringeri Temple. The timings are from 8 am to 1 pm and the cost is Rs.250. This ritual is special because the presiding deity Sri Sharadamba is Goddess of intelligence and knowledge.
How to reach Sringeri Temple?
Here’s how to reach Sringeri Temple:
- Air – The Mangalore airport is the nearest airport to Sringeri Temple.
- Train – Shimoga and Kadur are the nearest railway stations.
- Road – The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses are available from all major towns and cities in Karnataka like Bengaluru, Mangalore, Udupi, Mysore, Shimoga, and Dharmasthala.
Bangalore to Sringeri: How to Reach
Here’s how to reach Sringeri from Bangalore:
- Air – Fly from Bangalore International Airport to the Bajpe International Airport at Mangalore. There are regular buses available from Mangalore.
- Train – Take a train from Bangalore to Mangalore or Shimoga.
- Road – The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular buses from Bangalore Bus Station.
Where to stay near Sringeri Temple?
The devotees can stay comfortably in any one of the seven Guest Houses constructed by the Sri Sharada Peetham. Normal rooms and dormitories are also available for use at nominal rates. First come, first serve basis is there for the booking of the rooms.
Further, for booking of rooms, pilgrims need to contact the Information office located near the Temple main entrance.
A large number of small guest houses and hotels are also available for private accommodation.
Where to eat near Sringeri Temple?
Under the leadership of Sri Sharada Peetham, a dining hall by the name of “Sri Bharathi Theertha Prasada” is near the Sharada Temple. The serving of food takes place in the afternoon between 12:15 PM to 2:30 PM and at night between 7:15 PM to 8:30 PM.
A few private restaurants are also available near the Temple Complex. The cuisine offered is mainly South Indian.
What are some temples near Sringeri Temple?
Some of the temples near Sringeri temple are:
Sri Malahanikareshwara Temple
The Temple is on top of a hillock. The devotees have to climb 156 steps reach the Temple. The Temple is for the Linga of Malahanikeshwara who is the destroyer of impurities in the soul of a person.
The Rishyasringa Temple at Kigga
The town of Kigga is 9 km away from Sringeri. The presiding deity of the significant temple is Rishyasringa and his wife Santa. According to beliefs, she caused rainfall in the drought-stricken kingdom of Romapada. Also, King Dasaratha (Lord Rama’s father) invited Rishyasringa to be the presiding priest at the sacrifice he conducted to obtain sons. Moreover, the Shiva Linga in the Temple has horns.
The place is famous for its two temples – The Mahalingeshwara Temple and the Anegudde Vinayaka Temple. The place is also famous as Kumbhashi as this is the place where Kumbhasura died. It is also one of the seven places in a collective region “Parashurama Srishti”, the creation of Saint Parashurama.
The Temple dedicated to Goddess Annapoorneshwari is located in the beautiful town called Horanadu. The idol depicts the Goddess Annapoorneshwari standing on a pedestal with Shanku, Chakra, Sri Chakra and Devi Gayathri in her four hands.
The town is home to the Kalasheshwara Temple. Bhadra River surrounds the temple on 3 sides. Also, the Temple is for Lord Shiva. According to legends, Sage Agasthya made Kalasa as his home but wanted to witness the wedding of Shiva and Parvathi. Hence, Lord Shiva obliged and gave a boon to Agasthya using which he was able to watch the wedding from Kalasa.
Kollur Mookambika Temple
The famous and revered Sri Mookambikai Temple is in Kollur. The presiding deity is Goddess Mookambikai also famous as Devi and in front of her idol, is a Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. Also, the unique feature of the Linga is that it consists two unequal parts – The Smaller right part represents Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the larger Left part represents Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.