In the lap of the Tunga

In the lap of the Tunga

One of the important pilgrim centres in the State is Sringeri. Nestling in the backdrop of Western Ghats, with River Tunga adding to the charm amidst lush surroundings, it’s a must see place for those who are interested in spirituality and nature’s bounty.

 Thousands of pilgrims find peace of mind in this little town after visiting the temple and the Sri Sringeri Mutt. It is an all-the-year-round pilgrim centre though during rainy season (June to August), it experiences heavy and continuous rains. Yet, it has its own charm and is an experience worth the efforts.

 Standing on the Setu (bridge over the river), walking along the river bank or sitting on the stone steps leading to the river and watching the river flow by is itself an interesting experience. It could be a gentle stream or swollen with flood water during Monsoon months threatening to overflow the banks. 

The cynosure of all eyes is the famous Sharada Temple, with Sri Sharadamba, the presiding deity. She is the embodiment of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning. She sits on the Sriyantra holding the rosary, vessel and book in three hands with the fourth hand held in benediction.

 There are two smaller utsavamurthis made of silver and bronze. These are taken in a procession around the sanctum in a silver chariot before the temple is closed every night. The temple is associated with the Sri Sringeri Mutt.

Vidya Shankara Temple is built over the mortal remains of sage Vidyathirtha in the 14th Century. It is built in granite stone and from a certain angle it looks like a chariot about to take off on its celestial journey. There are 104 sculptured images executed in Hoysala style. On the floor is a large stone on which a circle is drawn with lines corresponding to the shadow of the pillar as it falls during each month, which is an astronomical marvel.

 The Shivalinga, known as Vidya Shankara, is installed over the Samadhi and is worshipped daily. A trained and approved guide would be useful who could give details of the architecture of the temple of Vidya Shankara. 

Guru Nivas, just across the river is a haven of peace and tranquility, punctuated by Vedic chanting. A path leads from the bridge to the mutt premises where the Jagadguru (pontiff) lives and gives darshan to his disciples every day when in town. There is a dress code for men if they want to meet the Jagadguru and receive prasad from him, who is an eminent scholar and well versed in Sanskrit. The path is through a nice garden, Narasimha Vana, with areca, coconut and fruit trees and ornamental plants.

There are Samadhis of past Jagadgurus near the Guru Nivas. The Sri Sadvidya Sanjeevini Sanskrit Maha Pathashala Kendra, located behind the Guru Nivas, is a wood-and-tiles structure which has good acoustics. This residential school trains students in the Vedas and shastras. 

The Sringeri Mutt’s tourist reception centre offers many rooms in their guest house and dormitory accommodation in the dharmashala. There are hotels and lodges in the town. Sringeri is well connected by road with many cities in the State. KSRTC buses ply from various towns, including Bangalore, a distance of about 330 km. Aradhana, Navaratri, Deepavali, Maha Shivaratri, Rama Navami and Saraswati Puja are some of the important festivals that are celebrated at the temple. 

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