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.
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.
[ + ] Sringeri Sharada Peetham
Sringeri is home to a number of historic temples. Of these, Sri Sharadamba temple and Sri Vidyashankara temple are very prominent.
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.
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 surise view from the hall during solstices.
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 matha is incharge of the Yajur Veda (the Krishna (Black) Yajurveda is more prevalent in South India, over which the matha 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.
Places of Interest Near Sringeri
There are a number of prominent Hindu centers of pilgrimage near Shringeri. 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.
Temples in Sringeri
Shringeri Sharadamba Temple is located in Shringeri town, in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. Sringeri Sharada Peetham – Sringeri Math is located in Sringeri town in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. Vidyashankara Temple is located in the holy town of Sringeri, in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka.