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Sri Sharadamba Temple , a famous Hindu temple( dedicated to goddess Saraswati) in the holy town of Sringeri in Karnataka, IndiaThis Temple at Sringeri (Shringa giri in Sanskrit) is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It housed a sandalwood statue of Shardamba in a standing posture, which was installed by Adi Shankarachaya until the Vijayanagara rulers and Sri Vidyaranya (12th Jagadguru) installed a seated gold statue of Sri Shardamba in the 14th century. Adi Sankara, the most popular exponent of Advaita (non Dualism) philosophy of India was looking for a suitable place to establish a centre. There were too many holy places in India and he was struggling to select one from them. A rare and unusual sight helped him to decide it once and for all. When he came to Sringeri on the banks of Tungabhadra river (in Karnataka, South India) he saw a cobra snake using it’s hood as an umbrella for a pregnant frog in labour. The cobra was shielding the frog from the scorching sun. Adi Sankara realised this was the most suitable place for establishing a centre because even natural enemies will come under the umbrella of love in this serene place. Thus he started establishing four centres in four corners of India. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SRINGERI TEMPLE;- It is believed that Lord Shiva gifted the crystal Chandramouleeshwara Linga to Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Linga can still be visited and the Chandramouleeshwara Pooja is performed for the Linga every night at 8:30 PM. It is believed that Goddess Sharadambika is the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati, who came to Earth as Upaya Bharathi. It is a common faith that by worshiping her, one can receive blessings of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu along with Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Sringeri Temple (335 km from Bangalore) has a perfect Sri Yantra. .Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to Sarda temple and Kashmir--- Most of the Scholars believe that Adi Shankaracharya (A.D-788-820) visited Kashmir in the first quarter of ninth century A.D. .According to writer of ‘Sankara Digvijaya’ — ‘Sankara visited Kashmir after giving a final blow to Buddhism in the rest of India”. Shankaracharya visited Kashmir with the intention of advancing Vedantic knowledge. That time Kashmiris were culturally and spiritually much advanced and believed strongly in the greatness of both Shiva and Shakti. Shankara did not, at that time, when he visited Kashmir, believe in Shakti cult . Shankaracharya with his party camped outside the city of Srinagar, without any boarding and lodging arrangements. Seeing the plight of visitors a virgin was sent to meet Shankara. She found the party uneasy and frustrated because of not being able to cook as no fire was made available to them. The first glimpse of Shakti was exhibited to Shankara by this girl, when Shankara expressed his inability to make a fire, in reply to girl’s question that you are so great, can not you make fire. The girl picked up two thin wooden sticks (samidhas) into her hand, recited some mantras and rubbed the sticks and fire was produced to the surprise of Shankara. Later a Shastrarth (religious discourse) was arranged between Shankara and a Kashmiri woman. This discourse continued for 17 days. Shankaracharya yielded before the lady in discussion and accepted the predominance of Shakti cult (greatness of Devi). After accepting predominance of Shakti cult, Shankara wrote Saundarya Lahari, in praise of Shakti, at the top of the hill, known till then as Gopadari Hill. Pandit Gopi Krishan writer that Panchastavi–gamut of Shakti Shastra–a priceless gem — a peerless hymn of praise addressed to Kundalini. According to him the only other work in whole gamut of Shakti Shastra in the country, comparable to Panchastavi is Saundarya Lahari. Saundarya Lahari is acclaimed as master-piece in Sanskrit literature. After the visit of Adi Shankaracharya to Kashmir, he became staunch believer of Shakti-Shri Chakra – the symbol of Devi (Goddess) as mentioned in ‘Shankara Digvijay’ – Life history of Shankaracharya. It is believed that was Adi shankaracharya entered the Sarda temple from its Sothern gate and had a debate with the Scholars of that Area/Temple. He emerged as a winner and was conferred to sit on Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).In his Honor, the southern gate of Sarda temple was closed for ever. The Śāradā image at Shringeri Shardamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Shankaracharya fromSarda temple Kashmir. Sharada Temple (or Sharadamba temple), also renowned as Sringeri Math, is the most prominent spot in Sringeri. The presiding deity of Sringeri, Sri Saradamba, is revered as the embodiment of Goddess Saraswati. The temple is associated with the Sringeri Mutt. Goddess Sarada is seated on the "Sri Yantra", carrying the rosary, vessel and book in three hands with the fourth hand held in a gesture of protection. There are two smaller idols, the utsava murthis, one in silver and the other in bronze. Goddess Sharada, is also associated as Goddess of learning. When you enter the temple complex on the far side is the beautiful Vidyashankara temple. It houses the vidyathirta linga. The temple was built in memory of Guru Vidyashankara in the 14th century with help Vijayanagar rulers. The twelve pillars in the Vidyashankar temple are popularly known as Rashistambhas (zodiacal pillars). Symbols of the twelve divisions of the zodiac are engraved on these pillars.It is said that the design of the pillars involved certain astronomical concepts. For example, the first rays of the rising sun fall on specific pillars with the zodiacal symbol on the pillar corresponding to the position of the sun. Sankara Jayanti is celebrated here with a lot of pomp and show. There are stone lions with stones in their mouth which can be rotated.