Sringeri Sharada Peetham – Sringeri Madam
Sringeri or Shrungagiri is a small temple town located in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. It’s the site of Dakshinamnaya Sharada Peetham, established by Adi Shankara in 8th century CE. Thousands of pilgrims visit this site evry year to pay homage and seek blessings from the Acharya of the Sringeri mutt and also to enjoy the serenity of the Tunga river and the ghats.
Legend of this town has its origins in Ramayana which The Cowherd will be covering in a separate post. This post aims at helping you fine tune your itinerary while planning a visit to this holy site.
Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami is the current acharya of the mutt. A realized master, a scholar par excellence, Mahasannidhanam was ordinated on 14th November 1974 and is the 36th acharya of the Sharada Peetham. His successor designate is Sri Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati Swami, who was ordinated in January, 2015 as the successor of Sri Mahasannidhanam.
Sringeri Sharada Temple
Lord Shiva gifted a Chandramouleeshwara Linga to Sri Adi Shankaracharya. This is the linga that the acharyas use for the Chandramouleeshwara Pooja every Friday night at 8:30 PM. Goddess Sharadambika is the incarnation of Goddess Saraswathi, who came to Earth as Ubhaya Bharathi. Ubhaya Bharathi was the wife of the famous Mandana Misra, who upon his defeat with Sri Shankara on a debate, had to take up Sannyasa and became Sri Shankara’s disciple with the yogapatta of Sureshwaracharya. When her husband had to renounce the world to take up ascetism, Ubhaya Bharathi shed her mortal form and regained her cosmic form of Goddess Saraswathi and granted Sri Shankara a boon that she would be present wherever Sri Shankara would invoke her. It’s in Sringeri that Sri Shankara decided to invoke her presence and install Sureshwaracharya as the head of the mutt.
Places to visit in and around Sringeri
- Sri Sarada Temple and other shrines in the compund
- Sringeri Mutt
- Kiga Rishyasringa Temple
- Adi-Shaktyamaka Shri Annapoorneshwari Temple, Horanadu
- Other temples
Accommodation in Sringeri
Although there are many hotels and private accommodation facilities in Sringeri, it is advisable to call up the Mutt and check the availability of Mutt facilities. It usually provides only rooms and no food.
Things to do
- Temple visit – worship goddess Sharada and other deities who are consecrated in smaller shrines in the same premises
- Paduka Pooja – one needs to register either beforehand or on the spot for performing Paduka Puja. On holidays there will be huge rush which will have to be taken into account while planning your journey.
- Bhiksha Vandanam – offering bhiksha (basket full of fruits/nuts/other offerings) to the Acharya, which also needs registration with the Mutt which can be done on the spot as well.
- Meditation – to make the most of the spiritual intensity of the place
- Visit to Adhisthanams – the samadhi of previous acharyas are present in the Mutt premises. This sites are spiritual treasure houses and need to be visited with due piety and gratitude.
- Shopping – the Mutt bookstore is a must-visit.
The Cowherd recommends that you plan your journey based on the schedule of the current acharyas. It will be a spiritual fortune to be able to visit both the acharyas when they are present in Sringeri. You can call up the Mutt to know their latest schedule and camp details.