Shankaracharya Temple

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Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya temple
Shankaracharya temple
Shankaracharya Temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Shankaracharya Temple
Shankaracharya Temple
Location in Jammu and Kashmir
Name
Other names Jyesteshwara temple, Pas-Pahar
Devanagari शंकराचार्य मंदिर
Geography
Coordinates 34°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
Country India
State Jammu and Kashmir
District Srinagar
Location Srinagar
Elevation 1,852.16 m (6,077 ft)
Culture
Primary deity Shiva
Architecture
Number of temples 1

The Shankaracharya Temple (Kashmiri: शंकराचार्य मंदिर (Devanagari), شنکراچاریہ مندر (Nastaleeq)), also known as the Jyesteshwara temple or Pas-Pahar by Buddhists. Shankracharya Temple, is situated on the top of the Shankaracharya hill, also called Takht-e-Suleiman and Gopadari Hill.[1] in the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is on the summit of the same name at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the plain and overlooks the city of Srinagar.

History and development[edit]

The temple in the 19th century

The temple dates back to 200 BC,[2] although the present structure probably dates back to the 9th century AD. It was visited by Adi Shankara and has ever since been associated with him; this is how the temple got the name Shankaracharya. It is also regarded as sacred by Buddhists. The Shiv ling was placed inside during the Sikh period in nineteenth century and it became an active Hindu temple when regular services were conducted.[3] Some historians report that the temple was actually a buddhist temple during buddhist era which was then changed into Hindu site of worship by Adi Shankaracharya. Persians and Jews call it Bagh-i- sulaiman or the Garden of King Solomon. Persian inscriptions are also found inside the temple.

According to Pandit Anand Koul (1924) the temple was originally built by the Hindu king "Sandiman" who, according to Koul, reigned in Kashmir from 2629 to 2564 BC.[4] It was repaired by King Gopaditya (426–365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697–734 A.D.). Sikandar, the Iconoclast did not, for some reason, destroy it. Zain-ul-Abidin repaired its roof which had tumbled down by earthquake. Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-ud-din, a Sikh Governor (1841–46), also repaired its dome. It was repaired by King Gopaditya (426–365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697–734).[5] The earliest historical reference to the hill comes from Kalhana. He called the mountain Gopadri. Kalhana also says that King Gopaditya granted the land at the foot of the hill to the Brahmins that had come from the “Araya versh.” The land grant was called “GOPA AGRAHARAS”. This area is now called Gupkar. Kalhana also mentions another village in the vicinity of the hill. It so happens that the King Gopaditya housed some of the Brahmins who had eaten Garlic to a village next door. Kalhana names this village as Bhuksiravatika. That would be Buch’vore today. Kalhana also mentions that King Gopaditya built the temple on the top of the hill as a shrine to Jyesthesvara (Shiva Jyestharuda) around 371 BC.[6] Abul Fazal also mentions that King Gopaditya built the temple. Although many experts believe that the current temple was probably built later but most of them agree that the base of the structure does seem to be very old. It is said that Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-726 AD) of Karakote dynasty did repairs to the temple. According to Srivara Budsah (Zain-ul-Abideen 1420-1470 AD) did major repairs to the temple. He also put the Kalash (spire) and the roof of the structure which had fallen due to an earthquake.The third time the temple was repaired was by the Muslim Governor, Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din (1842 to 1845) during the Sikh rule of Kashmir. some call it Takhti Suleiman also. Probably Jews believe the lost tribe of Israel lived in Kashmir. They refer to the culture and design of temple as the evidence. There is no doubt that there are lot of similarities between Israelites and Kashmiris.[citation needed]

Lost history of Jesus is well known here, from the famous stories which have claimed the same. The name Takhate-Suleiman however seems to have persisted during the Mughal, Afghan, Sikh and Dogra periods. In fact if you look at any publication during these periods they all refer to the hill by that name. The name Shankaracharaya for the temple first appears when Governor Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din made the repairs in the mid-19th century. It had apparently not been used as a temple for centuries. At that time the temple was consecrated as a Shankaracharaya temple and a Shiv Lingam was placed in the temple. It is only during the Sikh period that people started to have prayer services at the temple and the Shravan Poornima started being celebrated at the temple.

The Dogra King Gulab Singh (1846-1857 AD) constructed the steps to the hill from Durga Naag temple side. The Maharaja of Mysore came to Kashmir in 1925 and he made the electrical installations at the temple.[7]In 1961 Shankaracharaya of Dwarkapeetham put the statue of Adi Shankaracharaya 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.[8]

Jesus in Kashmir[edit]

It is believed that Jesus Christ visited Kashmir, and especially this temple as is inscribed on the steps, leading up to the main shrine. The four Persian language inscriptions, at the stairs have the following words inscribed on them :-

Quote 1. "The mason of this pillar is Bihishti Zargar (artisan under Sandiman), year fifty and four. 2. Khwaja Rukun son of Murjan erected this pillar. 3. At this time Yuz Asaf proclaimed his prophethood. Year fifty and four (=78AD). 4. He is Jesus, prophet of the children of Israel." [9]

Soundarya Lahari[edit]

Kashmir is believed to be the seat of Shaivism, Himalayas and Mount Kailash as the, "The massed laughter of Shiva", and it was from here that the sweet nectar of Shiva devotion spread in India and around the globe, by the spiritual works of saints like Adi Shankaracharya. Soundarya Lahari was composed by Adi Shankara atop the Gopadari Hill, after accepting the fact that the union of Shiva and Shakti, as in Shaktism, transpired into the Shakti-Shri Chakra, the symbol of Devi (Goddess), as Sri Yantra, as mentioned in 'Shankara Digvijay' - Life history of Shankaracharya,[10] and Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.[11]

Architecture and design[edit]

The Jyoteshware temple rests on a solid rock. A 20-foot tall octagonal base supports a square building on top. The terrace around the square temple is reached by a stone staircase enclosed between two walls.[12] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Visitor information[edit]

There are 243 steps leading up to the temple area and another 8-10 steps from there to the temple hall. Entrance to the hill is guarded by army personnel and cars are not permitted after 17:00 hours, although the temple remains open until 20:00 hours. Views of Srinagar are possible from the top of the hill.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shankaracharya lies on top of takht-e-sulaiman or sulaiman hill as reported by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)". Faisal Wani. 
  2. ^ "Explore the Beauty of Kashmir". 
  3. ^ Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh: Tourist Guide. Akashdeep Publishing House. Retrieved March 25, 2007. The Buddhists still regard this temple sacred and call it Pas-Pahar. 
  4. ^ Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh: Tourist Guide. Akashdeep Publishing House. Retrieved March 25, 2007. 
  5. ^ name="Bandhu Desh – Construction & Repair">Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh: Tourist Guide. Akashdeep Publishing House. Retrieved March 25, 2007. Pandit Anand Koul records that it was originally built by Sandiman,(sulimaan) who reigned from 2629 to 2564 BC. It was repaired by King Gopaditya (426-365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697-734 A.D.) Sikandar did not break it. Zain-ul-Abidin repaired its roof which had tumbled down by earthquake. Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-ud-din, a Sikh Governor (1841-46 A.D), also repaired its dome. 
  6. ^ Kalhana's Rajtarangni A Chronicle Of Kings Of Kasmir Volume II by M.A. Stein Published by Motilal Banarsidas Reprint 1979 Page 453
  7. ^ Shankaracharya Temple - Kashmir [1]
  8. ^ Kashur Encylopedia Volume one Published by Jammu & Kashmir Academy Of Art Culture and Languages, Srinagar 1986 Page 302
  9. ^ Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar, Kashmir[2]
  10. ^ Sankara Digvijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya[3]
  11. ^ Adi Shankracharya's Visit to Kashmir[4]
  12. ^ a b "Kashmir. Temple of Jyeshteswara [Shankaracharya], on the Takht-i-Suliman Hill, near Srinagar. Probable date 220 B.C.". British Library. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Amarnath Pilgrims reach Shankaracharya Temple". www.hindustantimes.com. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 

External links[edit]