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Vidyasankara Temple - Sringeri

DISTRICT: Chikmagalur; TALUK: Sringeri
LOCALIT; Sringeri (Lat. 13° 25' N; Long. 75° 15' E)

The Vidyasankara Temple, constructed around 1357-1358 AD in commemoration of the illustrious pontiff Sri Vidyasankara also known as Vidyatirtha, under the behest of Sage Vidyaranya, is a unique monument built completely of granite stone. It has great historical and architectural significance. The temple with a double apsidal plan rises over an elevated platform and has six doors fitted into the general framework of a panchayatana plan in east-west orientation. The elevated platform which is slightly greater in width forms a narrow open ambulatory round the adhisthana of the temple. The adhisthana has six projected mouldings sculptured with friezes of horses, elephants, lotuses and panels illustrating episodes from the Puranas and historical narratives. The vimana is a remarkable structure made of three sets of cornices rising like a stepped pyramid. Each tala has ornamental drops on its fringes the topmost one having small stone bulls facing the cardinal points. The pyramid is broken by three storeys of Dravidian type. The finial is a large composite kalasa with smaller ones surrounding the main. The tower has a frontal projection with a kirtimukha having an image of standing Sadasiva. The garbhagriha on the west houses a Sivalinga. The navaranga of the temple has twelve ornate pillars of the Vijayanagara type, depicting a zodiac sign and is a rare example exhibiting astronomical skill. There are within the temple, bronzes of remarkable beauty which include Siva, a number of Sivalingas made on a variety of semi-precious stones besides sculptures of Brahma-Sarasvati, Lakshminarayana, Umamahesvara, Mahishamardini and Kalabhairava.