Shankaracharya Temple

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Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya temple
Under snow
Religion
AffiliationHinduism
DeityShiva
Location
LocationKothi Bagh / Durganag, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Country India
Shankaracharya Temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya Temple is located in India
Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya Temple (India)
Geographic coordinates34°4′44″N 74°50′37″E / 34.07889°N 74.84361°E / 34.07889; 74.84361Coordinates: 34°4′44″N 74°50′37″E / 34.07889°N 74.84361°E / 34.07889; 74.84361
Elevation1,852.16 m (6,077 ft)

Shankaracharya Temple or Jyeshteshwara Temple is a Hindu temple situated on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the valley floor and overlooks the city of Srinagar.

On festivals such as Herath, as Maha Shivratri is known as in the region, the temple is visited by Kashmiri Hindus.[1] The temple is also considered as a Buddhist icon, and with the hill which has had multiple names over the centuries, is connected to the Persian and Muslim faith as well.[2]

The temple and adjacent land is a monument of national importance, centrally protected under the Archaeological Survey of India.[3][4] Dharmarth Trust has managed the temple since the 19th century, along with others in the region.[5] Karan Singh is the sole chairperson trustee.[5]

History[edit]

Figures present for scale
Photographed by John Burke 1868

The structure is considered as the oldest temple in Kashmir, historically and traditionally.[6][7] It is situated on a hill that is a well preserved Panjal trap formed by Permian era volcanic activity.[8] There is no consensus with regard to an exact date of construction.[9]

The earliest historical reference to the hill comes from Kalhana. He called the mountain 'Gopadri' or 'Gopa Hill'. Kalhana says that King Gopaditya granted the land at the foot of the hill to the Brahmins that had come from the "Aryadesa". The land grant, an agraharam, was called 'Gopa Agraharas'. This area at the base is now called Gupkar. Kalhana mentions another village in the vicinity of the hill where King Gopaditya housed some of the Brahmins to a village[a] next door in present-day Dalgate. Kalhana also mentions that King Gopaditya built the temple on the top of the hill as a shrine to Jyesthesvara (Shiva Jyestharuda) around 371 BCE.[10]

While the associated history dates to 371 BCE, K. Warikoo, a professor at a centre of JNU's School of International Studies, places the present re-constructed structure of temple to the 6th century CE.[11] In 1899 James Fergusson placed the temple construction to the 17th to 18th century. Fergusson disputes claims that structures on the basis of which he makes this claim are from repairs.[12] Aurel Stein while agreeing that the superstructures are from a more recent date, places the base and the stairs as much older.[13] Historical figures associated with the monument include Jaloka, one of the sons of Ashoka (Gonandiya), according to the Rajatarangini.[6][14]

Front profile.
(Graffiti on monuments is commonplace throughout India[15][16][17][18])

Kashmiri Hindus strongly believe the temple was visited by Adi Shankara (8th century CE[19]) and has ever since been associated with him; this is how the temple and hill got the name Shankaracharya.[11] It is here that the literary work Soundarya Lahari was composed.[11] It was composed by Adi Shankara after accepting the major faith in the region at the time, that of Shakti, and that the union of Shiva and Shakti, as in Shaktism, transpired into the symbolism of the Sri Yantra.[11][20][21]

Hill
Shankaracharya Hill, Sandhimana-parvata, Koh-e-Suleman, Takht-i-Sulaiman (Takht Hill), Gopadri (Gopa Hill)
Highest point
Elevation1,880 m (6,170 ft)
Prominence295 m (968 ft)
Coordinates34°04′48″N 74°50′35″E / 34.080°N 74.843°E / 34.080; 74.843
Dimensions
Area1.4 km2 (0.54 sq mi)
Geography
LocationUT of Jammu and Kashmir
Country India
Parent rangeZabarwan Range[22]
Geology
Age of rockPermian[8]
Type of rockIgneous[8]

Names associated with the hill include Sandhimana-parvata, Koh-e-Suleman, Takht-i-Sulaiman or simply Takht Hill, Gopadri or Gopa Hill.[7][10][23] The Dogra King Gulab Singh (1792-1857 CE) constructed the steps to the hill from Durga Naag temple[b] side.[citation needed] Steps existed before as well, leading further, to the Jhelum. Nur Jahan used the stones of the steps in the construction of Pathar Mosque.[25][26]

The Maharaja of Mysore came to Kashmir in 1925 and made the electrical search light installations at the temple, five around it and one on the top.[9] The Maharaja left an endowment to fund the cost of electricity.[9] In 1961 Shankaracharaya of Dwarkapeetham put the statue of Adi Shankaracharaya in the temple.[27] Sri Aurobindo visited the temple area in 1903.[28] Vinoba Bhave visited it in August 1959.[29]

A 3.5 miles (5.6 km) road to the temple was constructed by Border Roads Organisation in 1969.[30] While this was road construction was primarily to aid the setting up of a communications tower, and part of the road would be closed to the public, the road would also be used for those going to the temple.[30] There are around 240 steps to reach the presiding deity.[31][2] The Dharmarth Trust has built two small shelters here for sadhus.[7] The hill has a large range of flora.[22] There is very limited human activity on the hill other than religious tourism.[32] From the top of the hill, Justine Hardy, a British writer, counted over 1350 boats on the Dal Lake.[33] Jhelum is visible.[34] The wide panorama covers major landmarks such as Dal Lake, Jhelum, and Hari Parbat.

Architecture and design[edit]

H. H. Cole's sketches of the temple (1869) annotated with Cunningham's dimensions (1848). The temple's width with enclosing wall is 60ft.

The temple rests on a solid rock. A 20 ft (6.1 m) tall octagonal base supports a square building on top. Each side of the octagon is 15 ft (4.6 m) feet.[clarification needed] The front, back and flanks are plain while the other four sides have minimal design but noticeable angles.[23] The center is made up of a circle 21.5 ft (6.6 m) in diameter with an entrance 3.5 ft (1.1 m) wide. The walls are 8 ft (2.4 m).[23]

The terrace around the square temple is reached by a stone staircase enclosed between two walls. A doorway on the opposite side of the staircase leads to the interior, which is a small and dark chamber, circular in plan. The ceiling is supported by four octagonal columns, which surround a Basin containing a Lingam encircled by a snake.

Current status[edit]

The memorial to the Adi Shankaracharya inside the temple

The temple is used for regular worship and pilgrims visit the temple during the Amarnath Yatra.[35] During the yatra, on the lunar phase of the new moon, the associated tradition of bringing Shiva's holy mace to the temple is carried out.[36][37] The temple is part of the governments' tourist circuits.[38] On occasions such as Maha Shivaratri, Herath, the temple is lit up.[5][39][40] To ensure adequate preparations during festivals, as is the procedure with other religious and cultural centers in the city such as Hazratbal Shrine, the district administration reviews arrangements.[41][42] The temple was one of hundred Archaeological Survey of India monuments lit up in 2021 to mark the administration of one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in India.[43]

In popular culture[edit]

View of the temple

In 1948 Sheikh Abdullah wrote a letter to the Madras weekly Swatantra. Abdullah directed his message to south India at a time when India had sent someone from the south to defend its case in the United Nations,[44] He wrote that Shankaracharya, someone from the south, came to Kashmir where his dialogue with a Kashmiri Hindu lady, in which he was outwitted, led to the development of Shaivism.[44] Abdullah wrote that "a memorial to the great Shankaracharya in Kashmir stands prominent on the top of the Shankaracharya Hill in Srinagar" and that the temple contained an idol of Shiva.[44]

The 2000 Bollywood films Mission Kashmir[c] and Pukar[d] feature the temple.[45][46] The temple also briefly features in the 1974 the song Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.[e][47][48]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Kalhana names this village as Bhuksiravatika (later Buch'vore, Buchwara)
  2. ^ Durga Nag temple, maintained by the J&K Shri Durga Nag Trust (JKSDNT), or simply the Durga Nag Trust.[24]
  3. ^ In Mission Kashmir, starring Hritik Roshan, a plan is hatched to attack the temple along with another sacred site.[45]
  4. ^ In Pukar, which stars Anil Kapoor, opens with a militarised Shankracharya hill and a looming threat of an attack on the temple.[46]
  5. ^ The 1974 song Jai Jai Shiv Shankar features actors Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz along with others including Sanjeev Kumar.[47] The song is from the film Aap Ki Kasam and is sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar.[47][48] The actors are visiting the temple on Maha Shivaratri and are dancing supposedly under the influence of bhang which is traditionally associated with the festival.[47][48] The Shiv Temple, Gulmarg is also featured in the song.[49][50] The song has had an enduring legacy.[51][52][53]

In 2012, government figures placed 438 temples in the valley.[54][55] According to the chairperson of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, there are 1,842 sites associated with Hinduism in Kashmir including big and small temples, springs, caves and trees.[56]

Citations
  1. ^ Yaqoob, Mudasir (28 February 2022). "Herath to be celebrated with religious fervour today". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Acharekar, Janhavi (12 September 2018). "Could the salve to Kashmir's wounds lie in its centuries of pluralism?". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 27 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "ASI Protected Monuments". Directorate of Archives, Archaeology & Museums, Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  4. ^ "List of Centrally Protected Monuments / Sites under the jurisdiction of Jammu & Kashmir (U.T.) (Srinagar Circle)" (PDF). Archaeological Survey of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Alt News (7 March 2020). "Fact Check: Was Srinagar's Shankaracharya Temple Lit up for Maha Shivratri After Decades?". The Wire. Retrieved 27 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Cunningham 1848, p. 7.
  7. ^ a b c "Shankaracharya Temple". Radio Chinar. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b c Wadhawan, Sudesh Kumar (2021). "15. Geoheritage and Potential Geotourism in Geoparks - Indian Perspective". In Singh, RB; Wei, Dongying; Anand, Subhash (eds.). Global Geographical Heritage, Geoparks and Geotourism: Geoconservation and Development. Springer Nature. p. 264. ISBN 978-981-15-4956-4.
  9. ^ a b c Koul, Pandit Anand (1935). Archaeological remains in Kashmir (PDF). Foreward by Tej Bahadur Sapru. Lahore: Mercantile Press. pp. 17–22.
  10. ^ a b Stein, Aurel (1900). Kalhana's Rajatarangini, A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir. Vol. 2. Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, Rivington. pp. 453–454 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ a b c d Warikoo, Kulbhushan (2009). Toshkhani, S. S.; Warikoo, K. (eds.). Cultural Heritage of Kashmiri Pandits. Pentagon Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-81-8274-398-4.
  12. ^ Fergusson 1899, p. 282.
  13. ^ Stein, Aurel (1900). Kalhana's Rajatarangini, A Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir. Vol. 1. Archibald Constable and Company, Rivington. p. 1.345 – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ Thapar, Romila (1961). Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas. Oxford University Press. pp. 30, 188.
  15. ^ Mantri, Geetika (4 February 2019). "'Raju was here': Why in the world do Indians vandalise heritage monuments?". The News Minute. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  16. ^ Subramanian, T. S.; Ganesan, K. (17 July 2009). "History vandalised". Frontline. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  17. ^ Shanker, C. R. Gowri (9 September 2016). "Archaeological Survey of India winning battle against wall vandals in Hyderabad". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  18. ^ Kulkarni, Dhaval (7 October 2017). "Now, monumental fines for graffiti". DNA India. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  19. ^ Comans, Michael (2000). The Method of Early Advaita Vedānta: A Study of Gauḍapāda, Śaṅkara, Sureśvara, and Padmapāda. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 163. ISBN 978-81-208-1722-7.
  20. ^ Vidyaranya, Madhava (2013) [1999]. Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya. Translated by Tapasyananda, Swami. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math.
  21. ^ Aima, Onkar. "Adi Shankracharya's Visit to Kashmir". Kashmiri Pandit Network. Kashmir Sentinel. Retrieved 26 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b Kumar, Kewal; Sharma, Yash Pal; Manhas, R.K.; Bhatia, Harpreet (2015). "Ethnomedicinal plants of Shankaracharya Hill, Srinagar, J&K, India". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 170: 255–274. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2015.05.021. PMID 26008867 – via ScienceDirect.
  23. ^ a b c Cunningham 1848, p. 9.
  24. ^ "Some facts about Durganag". Early Times. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

    Hamdani, Syed Imran Ali (14 March 2015). "Durga Nag temple hosts Mahanavami Puja". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

    "Shiv Lingam installed at Durga Nag temple". Business Standard India. PTI. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

    "J&K: Farooq Abdullah prays for peace, wellbeing of humankind at Dugra Nag temple". The Times of India. PTI. 24 October 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)

    "Gold ornaments missing from Kashmir temple". News Nation. PTI. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)



  25. ^ Bhatt, Saligram (2008). Kashmiri Scholars Contribution to Knowledge and World Peace: Proceedings of National Seminar by Kashmir Education Culture & Science Society (K.E.C.S.S.), New Delhi. APH Publishing. p. 146. ISBN 978-81-313-0402-0.
  26. ^ Bhat, R L (2014). Hindu Shrines Of Kashmir. Substance Publishers. pp. 140–141.
  27. ^ Kashur Encyclopedia Volume one Published by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Srinagar 1986 Page 302
  28. ^ Heehs, Peter (2008). The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Columbia University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-231-14098-0.
  29. ^ Narayan, Shriman; Vinobā (1970). Vinoba: His Life and Work. Popular Prakashan. p. 274. ISBN 978-81-7154-483-7.
  30. ^ a b "Shankaracharya Road Project". Sainik Samachar. XVII (24): 9–10. 14 June 1970 – via Google Books.
  31. ^ Khare, Harish (11 October 2015). "238 steps to solitude in Shiva's sanctum..." The Tribune. Retrieved 27 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ Kumar, Kewal; Manhas, Rajesh K; Magotra, Rani (August 2011). "The Shankaracharya sacred grove of Srinagar, Kashmir, India". Current Science. 101 (3): 262 – via ResearchGate.
  33. ^ Hardy, Justine (2009). In the valley of mist. Rider. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-84604-146-4.
  34. ^ Dhar, S N (2012). Kashmir in Stories. Jaykay Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-8187221746.
  35. ^ PTI (22 July 2009). "Amarnath Pilgrims reach Shankaracharya Temple". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 23 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  36. ^ "'Chhari Mubarak' taken to Shankaracharya temple". The Hindu. 3 August 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  37. ^ Sharma, SP (8 August 2021). "Chhari Mubarak of Lord Shiva brought to Srinagar's Shankaracharya temple for prayers". The Statesman. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  38. ^ Sofi, Jahangir (25 January 2022). "After a Gap of 28-year, Tourism Dept Kashmir relaunches Heritage Tour Srinagar City Bus Service". Rising Kashmir. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  39. ^ "KPs throng temples on Herath". Tribune India. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  40. ^ "Kashmiri Hindus celebrate 'Mahashivaratri' by decorating Shankaracharya Temple with lights and flowers". Times Now. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  41. ^ "DC Srinagar visits Shankaracharya Temple, inspects arrangements for Maha Shivratri Festival". Brighter Kashmir. 25 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  42. ^ "DC Srinagar visits Dargah Hazratbal to oversee arrangements for Meraj-un-Nabi (SAW), Maha Shivratri festival". Rising Kashmir. 26 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  43. ^ "J-K's Shankaracharya temple, Capitol Complex in Chandigarh among ASI monuments lit up to mark 1 billion vaccine doses". Tribune India. 21 October 2021. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  44. ^ a b c Guha, Ramachandra (13 July 2017). "4. A Valley Bloody and Beautiful". India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-5098-8328-8.
  45. ^ a b Singh, Sujala (9 October 2015). "14. Terror, Spectacle, and the Secular State in Bombay Cinema". In Boehmer, Elleke; Morton, Stephen (eds.). Terror and the Postcolonial: A Concise Companion. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 356, 358. ISBN 978-1-119-14358-1.
  46. ^ a b Bharat, Meenakshi (20 February 2020). Shooting Terror: Terrorism in Hindi Films. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-000-02493-7.
  47. ^ a b c d Rao, Gayatri (24 February 2017). "Jai jai Shiv Shankar – Kishore/Lata – R D Burman – Rajesh/Mumtaz | Aap Ki Kasam (1974)". LemonWire. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  48. ^ a b c Premchand, Manek (30 December 2021). "31". Windows to the Soul: And Other Essays on Music. Notion Press. ISBN 979-8-88503-153-0.
  49. ^ Lone, Idrees (1 June 2021). "Army renovates temple which featured in "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar" Bollywood song with Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz". DNA India. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  50. ^ Lone, Idrees (1 June 2021). Pandey, Nikhil (ed.). "Indian Army renovates Gulmarg's Shiv Temple which featured in Rajesh Khanna-Mumtaz song 'Jai Jai Shiv Shankar'". WION. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  51. ^ "Viral: Madhuri Dixit And Anil Kapoor Recreate Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Moment On Dance Deewane 3". NDTV. 10 July 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  52. ^ Khanna, Twinkle (20 September 2019). "War Song Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Out Tomorrow: Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff to reprise old track with Holi vibes". Pinkvilla. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  53. ^ Basu, Mohar (9 October 2018). "Preity turns to Mumtaz for inspiration for Bhaiaji Superhit song". Mid Day. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  54. ^ Ashiq, Peerzada (4 October 2012). "208 temples damaged in Kashmir in last two decades: Kashmir govt". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  55. ^ Rahul Pandita and Ashish Sharma (11 October 2019). "The Valley of Abandoned Gods". Open The Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  56. ^ Ahmad, Mudasir (5 October 2019). "'How Can Centre Reopen 50,000 Temples in Valley, When There Are Only 4,000 in J&K?'". The Wire. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

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