Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Shankaracharya temple (c.220, BC dedicated to God Shiva), Srinagar, Kashmir

Shankaracharya temple, Srinagar, kashmir/www.google.com
Shankaracharya temple, Srinagar, kashmir. /en.wikipedia.org
 ''The gold put in the furnace loses its impurities and regains its original true nature. In the same way, through meditation, the mind gets rid of the impurities like delusion and attachment and attains the Reality, which is its true eternal state''...........Sri Adi Shankara

Atop the  1000-feet tall Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India  is located a famous
Shiva temple called  the  ''Shankaracharya Temple''. It also goes by the name of  Jyeshteshwara Temple; it is  above the valley floor, overlooking the city of Srinagar. and the famous Dal lake. There is a  memorial to the Adi Shankaracharya inside the temple and devotees come to this temple during the Amarnath Yatra.

What is so special about this temple in a place dominated by Muslims now? The great Hindu philosopher and Advaidha exponent Sri Adi Sankara from Kalady, Kerala, as part of his long padayatra  across came to this place and visited this Shiva temple. Since then, it has been called Sri  Shankaracharya temple.  This being an ancient temple  dating back  to 200 BC,  it is regarded as a sacred place by the  Buddhists.  Though this holy place of worship is an ancient one, the present structure, it is believed, was built way back in the 9th century AD, presumably before the arrival of Islam in this part of Kashmir.
Shankaracharya temple en.wikipedia.org

Memorial to Sri Sankaracharya, Sri sankaracharya temple, Srinagar,en.wikipedia.org
Above image: Temple of Jyeshteswara - Shankaracharya, built c.220 BC. The temple overlooks Dal Lake, Srinagar
Photos taken in 1868 CE by John Burke (photographer)............


 Some historians  are of the view that Buddhism was a major religion in this part  and the present temple was a Buddhist temple.  It was Sri Adi Shankaracharya who, on his visit here, converted into a Hindu temple dedicated to Sri Shiva. This being a hypothesis, the origin of this temple is a contentious issue. However,  Pandit Anand Koul (1924) was of the view that the temple was originally built by a local Hindu king "Sandiman" who, ruled this part  from 2629 to 2564 BC. The temple underwent some repair and modification under the ruler  King Gopaditya (426–365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697–734 A.D.). Early Muslim rulers like Sikandar,  Zain-ul-Abidin and Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-ud-din, (1841–46),never touche the temple and the two latter rulers did carry out some repair work. 
Shankaracharya temple, Kashmir www.google.com
 According to Kalhana, the earliest historical reference to the hill (then called Gopadri),  that King Gopaditya granted the land at the foot of the hill to the Brahmins who had come from the "Araya versh." This land grant  that  was referred to as  ''Gopa Agraharas''is now known as  Gupkar. Bhuksiravatika (Buch’vore today) is yet another village granted to the Brahmins by the ruler Gopaditya.  Kalhana also mentions that Jyesthesvara (Shiva Jyestharuda) shrine was  built on the top of the hill around  371 BC by the same ruler.
 

Prior to 1800 accessing the hill top temple was a tedious one and it was the Dogra King Gulab Singh (1846-1857 AD)  who built the steps to the hill from Durga Naag temple side. The Maharajah of Mysore on his visit here  in 1925 had  the electrical installations made at the temple. In 196, Shankaracharaya of Dwarkapeetham had the  statue of Adi Shankaracharaya installed in the temple. In 1974 the Government of J&K constructed the road that goes to the TV antenna near the top of the hill.

 Shivaism  was a dominant sect in this part of Kashmir and the Himalayan ranges  and  Sri Kailashagiri  provided ample opportunities. The serene atmosphere and quiet ambiance provided spiritual exhilaration. It is to be noted that the  great spiritual works of Adi Shankaracharya, ''Soundarya Lahari'' was composed  atop the Gopadari Hill. The union of Sri Shiva and Devi Shakti, as in Shaktism, gave rise to the Shakti-Shri Chakra, the symbol of Devi (Goddess), as Sri Yantra, as mentioned in 'Shankara Digvijay' - Life history of Shankaracharya.

www.google.com
www.google.com/
Built on a solid rock the  Jyoteshware temple has a 20-foot tall octagonal base supporting a square building on top. The terrace around the square temple is accessed  by a stone staircase enclosed between two walls. Access to the interior is thru the doorway across the stairway;  the interior part is small and dark  and  circular in plan. The ceiling is supported by four octagonal columns, which surround a Basin containing a Lingam encircled by a snake.

The devotees have to climb 243 steps  to reach the temple.  Entrance to the hill is  being guarded by army personnel  due to threats from  fanatics instigated by the rogue nation Pakistan controlled by the army. The temple remains open till 8 pm and cars are  not allowed after 5 pm.  



 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankaracharya_Temple
Kashur Encyclopedia Volume one Published by Jammu & Kashmir Academy Of Art Culture and Languages, Srinagar 1986 Page 302
Sankara Digvijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya