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Friday, March 2, 2018

Shringeri - The Fountainhead of Hinduism

15 February 2018: From Horanadu we departed for Shringeri and reached our destination around 2.45 noon. We were greeted by the colossal & colorful multi tiered Rajagopuram through which we entered the premises of the Sringeri Peedham or Mutt. It is in Sringeri in South India that Adi Sankara established the first of the four Amnaya Peedams or Throne of the Vedas around 1200 years ago. The other three Mutts were established in Puri (East), Dwarka (West) & Badrinath (North). 
Adi Shankara was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.
He was searching for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When he came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya (Religious Teacher) chose this very location to establish His first Mutt.
Adi Sankara appointed his prime disciple, Sri Sureshwaracharya as the first Acharya of the Peetham. Since then, the Peetham has been blessed with an unbroken Guru Parampara, a garland of spiritual masters and Jivanmuktas representing Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The succeeding Acharyas have led a life of such austere penance that it has led disciples to adore in them the radiance of Sri Adi Shankara Himself.
The present Acharya or religious head of this Peetham is Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Teertha Swamy and he is the 36th successive religious head in an unbroken line of acharyas. Jagadguru is an erudite scholar, well versed in Upanishads,Vedas & Sanskrit,is fluent in several languages including English and is highly philanthropic & munificent. He has also ordained his successor in waiting - the young and learned Sri Vidushekara Bharathi.
Our accommodation is inside the premises of the Peedham - rooms are basic with sparse furniture & most appropriate for pilgrims & devotees visiting here to meet the acharyas.We were informed that the Acharyas would be giving audience to devotees at 6.00 pm in a special auditorium in the Narasimha Vana. Accordingly we got ready, dressed appropriately,grabbed a quick cuppa outside, ambled back and walked leisurely viewing and soaking in the magnificence of Sringeri - The Saradambal Temple & The Vidya Sankara Temple.
As you enter cross the bridge and enter Narasimha Vana you are filled with a sense tranquility & serenity and you heart is filled with a sense of joy and jubilance. The Vana or forest is flush with greenery - coconut palms, areca plantations, banana plantations & a wide array of beautiful plants and shrubs. We proceed to the expansive auditorium and are seated cross legged on the floor and patiently and reverently await arrival of the acharyas. At 6.00 pm sharp they arrive - both the Jagadguru and his successor in waiting. We stand up respectfully and offer our pranams to them.The queue moves along and the acharyas take time to talk to each and every devotee. Devotees offer him fruits,coconuts & flowers as is customary.The atmosphere is relaxed and your heart is filled with a sense of calm and peace. We were also fortunate to view the biggest Veena in the world on display in the auditorium - The Maha Sarvabhuma Veena.
We returned to the auditorium once again  in the night to watch Chandramouleeswara Puja - a puja that is done by Jagadguru himself every night (Puja = worship of the God).The ritual lasts around one hour and concludes with Depparathanai.(an offering of fire lamps to the God). It was an awesome experience.
We left  Sringeri next morning around 9.30 am after a satisfying and inspiring overnight stay. For more information on Sringeri please log onto: http://www.sringeri.net/
The Tall Towering Rajagopuram
Sankara Krupa - where we stayed
A beautiful building to our right as we enter the portals of Sringeri through the Rajagopuram
Bharathi Tirtha Guest House - Newly constructed with modern amenities (outside the Rajagopuram)
The Vidya Sankara Temple - built during 1357-58 is a unique mix of Hoysala and Vijayanagar Architecture
Serene & Tranquil sanctuary
Clicked on the Bridge across the Tunga - proceeding to meet the Acharyas
The Tungabhadra River which flows through Sringeri
The bridge connecting the Sringeri Temples with Narasimha Vana
The Rajagopuram at dusk
The Saradambal Temple
The Vidya Sankara Temple at dusk
The River bank and bathing ghat
The bridge as viewed from the river bank
The massive dining hall - free food is offered to all devotees
Next morning - a view of the deserted Sringeri Township. Clicked as we ventured out for our morning cuppa
Morning picture at Vidya Sankara
Selfie at Vidya Sankara Temple
Pictures clicked at Narasimha Vana
Selfie at Adi Sankara Temple
The Mahasarvabhuma Veena - the biggest veena in the world
The Bathing ghat as seen from the bridge

7 comments:

  1. Reading your posts and contemplating your pictures, I can understand my compatriots thar are so deeply in love with India and what it has to offer in almost every walk of life.

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    1. Thank you & nice to hear that. India is amongst the oldest civilizations in the world going back to 3000-5000 BC. It boasted of world class universities around 400 BC.

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  2. Are all the brilliant colors in the buildings naturally in the stone?

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    1. The Vidya Sankara Temple is natural stone. The rest are modern structures and are painted in different colours.

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