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Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Timings : 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Shankaracharya Temple, Srinagar Overview

The Shankaracharya Temple is a beautiful and mesmerising temple that is situated on the Gopadari Hills on the south-east of Srinagar at the height of 1,100 feet above the sea level. Built in the dedication of Lord Shiva, the temple is also known as the Jyesteshwara Temple or the Pas-Pahar by Buddhists and overlooks the entire magnificent city of Srinagar. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year, especially for worship and during the Amarnath Yatra. A visit to the Shankaracharya Temple is a must for anyone who wants to experience pure divinity and ecstasy and spend some time in blissful solitude.

The ancient temple is named after the great philosopher Shankaracharya who had visited the valley about ten centuries ago. Shankaracharya used to worship the Shiva Lingam, which is still found in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple. Information boards that are erected in and around the temple tell the visitor that Adi Shankaracharya attained spiritual knowledge at this particular place. It was after this enlightenment that he went out and formed the four Hindu schools of Advaita, or the philosophy of non-dualism.

The hill on which the temple is situated was initially known as Jetha Laraka, and then later on renamed as Gopadari Hill. The structure of the Shankaracharya temple is constructed on a high octagonal platform that is approachable by a flight of steps. The architecture and style of construction of the entire temple are quite charming. In fact, it is built in the traditional style of architecture that prevailed in those times, and this is precisely why the Shankaracharya Temple is a fascinating place for religious devotees as well as architecture students alike.

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History of Shankaracharya Temple

The Shankaracharya Temple dates back to 200 BC, but the present day structure of the temple belongs to the 9th century AD. Many historians and scholars believe that the temple was a Buddhist site of worship during the Buddhist era. The magnificent temple is also known as the Garden of King Solomon, and Persian inscriptions can also be found here inside the main temple. Shankaracharya visited this temple centuries ago, and since then it is associated with him. It is also believed that he was responsible for changing this temple from a Buddhist religious place to a Hindu site of worship.

The Shiv ling that is found inside the temple was placed here in the 19th century during the Sikh period. Other historians, however, are of the belief that the Shankaracharya Temple was originally built by the Hindu king Sandiman, who reigned in Kashmir from 2629 BC to 2564 BC. Repairs were later made by numerous prominent kings over a period of years.

Architecture of Shankaracharya Temple

The Shankaracharya Temple is significant not only because it is built in honour of the Almighty, but also because of its striking design. The temple has been constructed in the traditional architectural styles of those times but has undergone numerous additions and changes ever since. The regal temple is located on a raised octagonal platform and needs to be accessed via a flight of about 243 steps, and then another 8 to 10 steps from there to the temple. The fencing walls of these steps have certain inscriptions on them.

Other such inscriptions can be found inside the temple too, and date back to the period of Shah Jahan. The circular chamber shaped the main shrine provides a breathtaking view of the entire valley as well as the world famous Dal Lake and is indeed a sight to behold. The steps made up of stone that lead to the main shrine of the temple were built by Maharaja Gulab Singh.

The first-ever work of renovation that the grand temple witnessed was during the reign of Lalitaditya. The second round of repairs was undertaken by Zain-ul-Abideen, under the rule of Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din, when the temple was destroyed in an earthquake. In the year 1925, electricity was made available at the temple. Due to the numerous repairs, the ceiling of the main chambers appears to be quite a modern one. The structure of the temple also includes two small buildings that have been built for the sadhus or saints who live here.

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Best Time To Visit Shankaracharya Temple

The best time to visit the Shankaracharya Temple is undoubtedly between May and September or early winters. The weather during this season is delightful. The winter months are very severe in and around Srinagar, so try and visit the temple well before that.

Tips For Visiting Shankaracharya Temple

1. Even though the temple remains open until 8:00 PM, cars are not permitted after 5:00 PM. 
2. Mobile phones and cameras are not allowed inside the temple premises. Therefore, leave these gadgets in the hotel room, since there is strict checking before allowing entry to any pilgrim.
3. A visit to the temple is recommended only for those who are fit enough to climb around 280 steps.
4. Since you will have to walk a lot, ensure that you are wearing comfortable footwear.

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Paneendra Kumar 11 months ago
Time has come to seek divine intervention for the Kashmir problem. Let’s pray for Peaceful Kashmir and One India Strong India on April 30 2017 Shankarajayanti at Shankaracharya hill Srinagar. The best way to remember and follow teachings of Adi guru Shankaracharya is to pray for Kashmir on Shankarajayanti. Many sages came to Kashmir in search of knowledge .As we know Kashmir the land of sages and Saints got its name from Kashyapa muni. Saint Abhinav gupta was from here. Adi guru Shankaracharya meditated here. The land of knowledge and spiritualisms is disturbed today due to ignorance. Let’s restore Kashmir to its ancient glory. Let’s us all pray together to god to send a saint again who will restore Peace, Knowledge and Spiritualism back in Kashmir. #PeacefullKashmir #OneIndiaStrongIndia
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