BANGALORE: At a time during the 8th century when Nasthik school of thought and non-Vedic religions had found favour with the people in our country and when our country was caught in a great churning process politically, socially and culturally, a great soul took birth in the country by name Shankaracharya.
Shankaracharya strove hard to synthesise the diverse current that were troubling the mind of Bharathavarsha, and to build a unity of outlook out of that diversity. In a short span of 32 years of his life he not only revived the Vedic religion but established institutions to protect Vedic religion in future. He founded four Matts in the four corners of the country namely Puri, Dwaraka, Badri and Sringeri. It was in Sringeri that Shakaracharya established the first and premier mutt. He placed Sureshwaracharya, his most talented disciple as the head of the Sringeri Sharadha peeta, right from Shankaracharya to the present Acharya Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji, Sharadha peeta has had an unbroken succession of spiritual luminaries.
No doubt that Sringeri is more connected with Shankaracharya than any other place on earth. This bondage between the two great was further strengthened when the present Acharya Sri Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji built and dedicated a beautifully carved granite temple to the great Saint at Sringeri in 2011. The granite temple consists of the central Garbha Griha, the Ardha Mandapa and the Mahamandapa.
Above the Garbha Griha is a dvidala (two - storied) Vimana about 19 feet tall. The Shikhara on top of the Vimana is a monolith weighing about 25 tonnes. Sculptures of Hamsa (swan), the 4 Shishyas of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and the 12 Jyotirlingas adorn the frames of the Garbha Griha and Ardha Mandapa.
The Mahamandapa has 22 exquisitely carved pillars, 4 of which are in red granite. The ceiling at the centre of the Mahamandapa has the Raashi Chakra, depicting a wheel and the 12 zodiacal signs. Carved on the pillars in the Mahamandapa are various sculptures including those of the Ashta Dikpalakas, the Sapta Rishis, Sri Rama, Vinayaka, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Rajarajeshwari, Bhuvaneshwari, Ganga, Bhairava, Dakshinamurthy, Lakshmi Narasimha, Dattatreya, Nataraja, Nandi, Hayagriva and Krishna. On top of the Mahamandapa along the three sides of the temple are sculpted the figures of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu.
72 panels are sculpted along the boundary of the temple as one does the Pradakshina of the temple structure. Of these, 68 panels depict the life of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and the last 4 show the 4 recent Acharyas of the Peetham.
As per the direction of Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji Car Festival of Shankaracharya will be held on April 27th. Shankara Jayanti celebrations will be held at Sringeri on April 26th. Various religious programmes will be organised at Shankaracharya Temple on that day.