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Sringeri is a Taluk located in Chikmagalur district in the Indian state of Karnataka, is the site of the first matha 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 Tunga. 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

Legend 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. Sri Shankara Temple at Sringeri
Zodiac Pillars (Rashistambhas)
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 said3,4 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.
Zodiac Pillars
Devi Sharada Temple Devi Sharada Temple: The Goddess is seated on Sri Chakra Peetam holding a Japa Mala in Her upper right hand with a parrot perched on top of the hand. The lower right hand shows Chin Mudra. While the upper left hand holds the Amirtha Kalasam, the lower left hand has a book. The sandalwood image of the Goddess, installed by Adi Sankara, was replaced by a golden idol about 700 years ago by Sri Vidyaranya. 

On the southern Prakara, the processional deity of Devi Sharada is placed on Vyagyana Simhasana. 

Shakti Ganapati with 10 hands and Shakti on his left thigh is enshrined on the western Prakara. Bhuvaneshwari, a Panchaloha image, has a shrine to the west of Devi Sharada`s sanctum. In the front mandap, the beautiful images of Rajarajeshwari and Mahishasuramardhini are eye catching. the 35 foot tall Deepa Sthamba is seen outside the Devi shrine. 

A small shrine dedicated to Sri Janardhana with Sieve and Booed is located here. There are other temples here too, such as, the Brindavana of Sri Sureshwaracharya, a disciple of Adi Sankara and the first Peetathipathi of Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetam. 

On Fridays and during Navaratri the image of Devi Sharada is taken round the temple in a silver ratha. Pilgrims throng to witness this and offer worship.
Adi Sankara Temple: The shrine of Sri Adi Sankara is to the left of the Sharada shrine. The image of Sri Sankara is seen on a 2 foot high Peetam in Yogasana posture with a Lingam in front of him. The images of his 4 disciples are near the Peetam. 

In the front hall religious discourses are held regularly. These are attended by a large number of devotees. The graceful presence of the Swamiji elevates the divine and spiritual atmosphere.
Adi Shankaracharya
Vidya Shankar Temple Vidya Shankar Temple: This Sri Chakra-shaped shrine is a jewel on the crown of Sringeri. A sculptured treasure house, it reflects a blend of Vijayanagara, Hoysala and Dravidian temple architecture. The shrine was constructed by Bharathi Krishna Theertha, a disciple of Sri Vidya Sankara Theertha, some 700 years ago. The outer wall of this temple is a specimen of great craftsmanship. In the sanctum there is a Lingam dedicated to Sri Vidya Sankara, who entered Samadhi at this particular place. He had ordained his disciples to open the Samadhi only at the end of 12 years when they would find an image of Chaturmurthi Vidyeswara similar to the one in Simhagiri shrine. However, they opened the Samadhi before the completion of this period only to find the Lingam. 

There are 12 pillars representing the 12 Rasis, their Devatas and symbols. It is amazing to note that every month, the Sun`s rays fall on a particular pillar representing that month. An idol of Saniswara is kept in oil.
Narasimhavanam: A new bridge constructed across Tunga river leads the devotees to the abode of Sri Mahasannidhanam. Pujas are performed for Lord Chandramouleeswara. Streams of devotees gather here daily to have darshan of the Swamiji. The present Peetathipathi is Sri Bharathi Theertha Swamiji. There are also Brindavanams of the previous Peetathipathis in a marble mandap. Narasimhavanam
Lord Malahanikareswara Malahanikareswara Temple: There is a small hillock with sage Vibandaka`s ashram on it. The shrine on the hill is dedicated to Lord Malahanikareswara.
Rishyasringapuram : This village on the banks of Nandini, a tributary of Tungabhadra, is known for a shrine dedicated to Sringeswara. It is a much respected Swayambu Lingam. Sage Rishyasringa is believed to have attained mukti here. It is 10 kilometers away from Sringeri. Sage Rishyasringa
Sirimane Falls Sirimane Falls: This enchanting falls as its name suggests is nature bounty. It is 5kms distance from Kigga, near Sringeri, Western Ghats. Best season for visiting would be just after the rainy season.

PLACES OF INTEREST NEAR SRINGERI

There are a number of prominent Hindu centers of pilgrimage near Sringeri. Some of the major ones include,

  • Horanadu Annapoorneshari Temple,
  • Hariharapura, Kigga (Rishyashringa Temple),
  • Agumbe (Venugopalaswami Temple and Sunset Spot) ,
  • Kalasa ( Kalaseshwara Temple),
  • Balehonnur - Rambapuri Matha,
  • Koppa (Veerebhdra Swamy and Chittemakki Mallikarjuna Swamy temple).
  • Udupi famous for Krishna Matha is three hour journey by road.
  • Kolluru Sri Mookambika Temple

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Since Sringeri is a typical Malnad region the best time to visit Sringeri is between October to March. The nearest airport to Sringeri is Mangalore International Airport. To reach this holy city the pilgrims or tourists can make use of the nearest railhead, Shimoga. From here buses, vans and cars are available to reach Sringeri. There are buses connecting Sringeri to Mangalore, Bangalore, Belur, Mysore, Hassan and Kollur. 

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