Possessing the features of the Great Himalayas, Zabarwan mountain is the hallmark of the capital city of Kashmir. It occupies the central part of Kashmir and is also home to famous sacred sites. One such historic structure adorning this mountain is Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar. The crown-like structure sits atop Gopadari hill overlooking the city of lakes.
The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is an ancient architectural marvel. Also known as Jyeshteshwara Temple, it lies 5 km from Srinagar and offers a panoramic view of the city. Perched strategically at 1100 ft above sea level, one has to climb around 240 steps through the sacred grove before offering prayers to the presiding deity.
Significance of Shankaracharya Temple
The shrine is a revered pilgrimage site no less than the Amarnath Yatra. From ancient times, Kashmir has been a land of saints, sages, philosophers, and poets. Saint Shankaracharya is the eponym of the Shankaracharya Temple.
Adi Shankaracharya, the Vedic philosopher of the Advaita Vedanta, visited the temple in the 8th Century CE. Since then, the temple has been named after him. Pilgrims, on their way to the Holy Cave of Amarnath, also pay a visit to the Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar.
Marvellous Architecture of Shankaracharya Temple
Most temples built by the Ancient Kashmiri Architect pick the highest ground with great natural sites to command a gripping view of the Valley. Shankaracharya Temple on Zabarwan mountain is one such structure.
The sacred grove of Shankaracharya temple is surrounded by floral and faunal diversity and is mainly visited for religious tourism. However, besides holding religious significance, the site is also an architectural marvel.
A 20-foot tall octagonal base supports the square structure. The circular chamber houses the magnificent Shivling in the sanctum sanctorum. In terms of material, style and techniques, the temple showcases a unity of design with other ancient Hindu Kashmiri Temples such as Martand Temple and Avantipora Temple.
The material used is limestone without any aid of wood and brick. However, mortars were used in slightly fewer quantities. Besides being a religious pilgrimage site for devotees, travellers can also choose to trek the hilltop for a scenery delight or a spiritual calm.
Best Time to Visit
May to September. Expect the weather to be pleasant and soothing to go with the scenery and mood. July to August is the month of Amarnath Yatra. So, if you plan to trek the annually organised pilgrimage, you can also add this to your bucket list.
Things to be Noted
The use of mobile phones or any electronic device is not allowed inside the temple.
The temple is open till 8 p.m. However, car parking is allowed only till 5 p.m.
Carry water bottles to trek to the top of the hill. And wear comfortable hiking shoes.
Author is a student who loves to explore new corners of learning. He likes writing and travelling while taking challenges that question his abilities and skills. His hobbies are helping people and spending time in nature.