This sacred place, on the banks of the holy river ‘Tungabadra’ is famous for the ‘Mutt’, one of the four, founded by ‘Jagathguru Sri Adisankara’, the Hindu religious leader who propounded the philosophy of ‘Advaita’. This Mutt is known as the ‘Sringeri Saradha Peetam’ and obviously there is also an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Saradha or Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of Arts and Learning. This temple is also believed to have been established by Sri Adisankara. The other Mutts or Monasteries are situated at Joshimath, Puri and Dwaraka.
This Mutt at Sringeri has enjoyed the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers. Tipu Sultan’s liberal donation to the mutt deserves special mention. The religious leader Adisankara, after traversing the length and breadth of India on foot, performing noble deeds all the way along, settled at Kancheepuram of Tamil Nadu where there is a Sankara Mutt as well. All these mutts follow the hierarchical system of appointing the successive leaders, as established by Sri Adi Sankara. Apart from religious activities which are performed with profound alacrity, these Mutts also carry on service to the humanity.
Sringeri also has another ancient temple. The presiding deity of this one is Lord Chenna Kesava Perumal, one of the variations of Lord Vishnu. The temple structure, an excellent monument of captivating architecture remains incomplete even after 80 long years of work. A beautiful Jain monument ‘Paraswanatha Basti’ can also be seen here.
Another temple on the beautiful banks of the sacred Tungabadra, built in the 14th century is the Vidyasankara Temple. The architecture of this temple is astounding. There are 12 pillars called the ‘Rasikambas’ or Zodiac Pillars which have been so ingeniously positioned that the Sun’s rays fall on the specific pillar or ‘Rasikamba’ during each solar month. These pillars get us an idea of the extraordinary knowledge the people of yore possessed in astronomy.
Good accommodation facilities are available at Sringeri. There are ‘Traveller Bungalow’ and private hotels. The Sringeri Mutt also has a Guest House and a choultry to shelter the pilgrims. It can be reached by bus from Chikkamangalooru, Hassan, Shivamogga and Birur. It is about 334km from Bengalooru.