Sringeri is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers in Karnataka, and is home to the Sarada Peetham established by the revered spiritual leader Aadi Sankaracharya. Sringeri is located amidst the Sahyadri hills in Chikmaglur district of Karnataka on the left bank of the river Tungabhadra.
Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri more than twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma. Hallowed for all times by Sage Rishyashringa who stayed and performed Tapas here, Sringeri attracted the great Acharya with a remarkable sight.
Tradition has it that after the Acharya had dispersed all the non-Vedic creeds prevailing in the country, He was on the look-out for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When the Acharya came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya chose this very location to establish His first Math.
Vidyashankara of Vidyathirtha, who was the head of this Peetham for a period of 105 years from 1228 CE to 1333 CE is considered to be one of the greatest Gurus of this Peetham.
The Vidyashankara temple at Sringeri was built in memory of Guru Vidyashankara or Vidyathirtha by Vidyaranya who headed the peetham from 1331 CE to 1386 CE, with the aid of the Vijayanagar rulers in the 14th century. The golden image of Sarada was also installed then at the Sarada temple. The temple also houses ruby images of Venugopala and Srinivasa and a Nandi made out of a large pearl. Several inscriptions are seen in the temple, describing contributions made by the Vijayanagar emperors.
The Saradamba Temple: Sarada Devi is enshrined seated on the Sri Chakra Peetham, holding a Japa Mala, with a parrot perched on the top of her hand. The original image of sandalwood was installed by Adi Sankaracharya, and it was replaced with a golden image, in the 14th century.