Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Temple Tour-2 Annapoorna , Sringeri

Annapoorneshwari temple at Horanadu
 "Sri Kshetra Horanadu" is located in the picturesque surroundings of Western Ghats on the banks of river Bhadra in a remote corner of Chikamaglur dist of Karnataka. 
The route took us through beautiful-lazy-dark green tea plantations surrounded by the natural vegetation, forest, green lands and natural beauty of the Western Ghats.

This ancient Hindu temple of Goddess Annapoorneshwari has been restored and renamed as the Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shree Annapoorneshwari. The idol of Annapoorneshwari is life size, and covered with gold from head to toe. The single image is of the Goddess Annapoorneshwari standing on a peeta with Shanku, Chakra, and Sri Chakra. Goddess Annapoorna, or Annapurna Devi, is the Goddess of food. She is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati.

In Sanskrit Language the word ‘Anna’ means food and grains and ‘Purna’ means full or complete. It is believed that by worshipping this goddess one will never be out of food anytime in life.

The great diety of Adishakthyathmaka Sri Annap00rneshwari's prathistapana was done by His Holiness Agasthya Maharishi several centuries back. The hereditary dharmakartharu of our family started 400 years back. Till the 5th Dharmakartharu, the temple was having a very small structure surrounded by full of natural vegitation and forest. Even then at least one or more people used to visit the temple, have pooja and were provided with free food (annaprasadam) and shelter and it is continued till date.

My hubby purchased tickets for seva and we went inside. There was a huge rush inside the temple, not for the darshan as many were seated There is an elaborate queue system to reach the garbhagraha  of Goddess Annapureneshwari. Since we had a seva ticket, we were made to sit in the close proximity of the goddess. The deity is fully adorned in gold and jewellery. Prasada and theertha were given outside. Next, we purchased ticket for anna-dana (rice donation). Upon presentation of the ticket, we can take a bowl of rice from the gunny bag and transfer it to a receiving box. After that we purchased prasada..

Annapoorne sadaa poorne Shankarah Praanavallabhe Gnana Vairagya Siddhyartham Bhikshaan Dehi ca Parvati
Mother Annapoorna, You who are Eternally Complete, You, The very life of Lord Shiva,Give me food (in alms) So I can sustain my body To achieve the Supreme Knowledge.  
Devotees who worship of Goddess Annapurneshwari will be blessed with prosperity and health. Women worship Annapurneshwari Devi for their better married life. They also perform Annapurneswari Pooja for their children’s health and better growth.

Sringeri Sharadha Temple:


Then proceed to Sringeri to offer prayers to Sri Sharadamba, Goddess of Knowledge. We reached their by 10Pm and halt at Hotel. Next day early Morning we visit the Temple. Sringeri is located amongst the lush green mountain ranges of the Sahyadri, the banks of river Tunga .The Peetham is the first and foremost of the four Peethams established by the renowned philosopher saint Sri Adi Shankara, The main attraction of Sringeri is Sri Sharadamba Temple and Vidya Shankara Temple.

Twelve centuries ago Shree Jagad Guru Adishankara walking along the banks of River Tunga , his eyes fell upon a strange sight. The time was noon, and the midday sun was at its scorching best! 
On the bank of the river, was a snake, with its hood raised over a frog. At first glance it appeared as if the snake was about to devour the frog, but a closer look revealed that the snake was, in fact, protecting the frog from the harsh sun! Curious now, he continued to watch, and saw that the snake was indeed shading the frog, which was undergoing labour pains! The moment passed, and the creatures went their way. However, the young man was struck by the sight of a creature being protected by its deadly enemy. He had experienced divine vibration and came to knew then, that this was the place he had been seeking propagation of Sanadhana Dharma.

Centuries have passed since then, but Sringeri continues to attract seekers even today. On the banks of the river stands a small shrine depicting the scene which so captivated the saint – the snake protecting the frog!

On the left bank of the river is the Sharada temple. Sharada is a form of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, and it was her that Adi Shankara invoked to watch over this temple of learning.

Originally, this was a simple shrine with an idol of the Goddess made of sandalwood placed over a rock on which Adi Shankara had carved the Sri Chakra (a symbol of the goddess). Later, with the temple gaining popularity as well as royal patronage, it was rebuilt and a golden idol installed in place of the sandalwood one. The original idol has now been placed in another shrine in the ashram. . Two eyes are not enough to see the Goddess beauty.

The most impressive temple in the math complex is the shrine of the sage Vidyashankara, the 10th pontiff of the Math. Built in 1338 AD, it is a blend of Chalukyan and Dravidian architecture.
 While the temple looks beautiful even from the outside, inside, it is all the more beautiful and detailed. The specialty of this temple is its 12 pillared hall. Each pillar is decorated with a sign of the zodiac, and the pillars are arranged in such a manner that every month, the first rays of the sun fall on the pillar corresponding to the zodiac sign of that particular month! On the floor is a large circle with converging lines indicating the direction of the shadows! 

The beautiful temple complex and veda pathasala  is separated by Tunga river which is full on fish. You can feed the fish though fishing is strictly prohibited. 
The atmosphere is calm and air is quite pure with a lingering aroma of herbs.

Crossing the river to the other side, it is almost possible to believe that we are in another world, for here are no shrines and crowds thronging them, but a peace and calm which is almost spiritual in nature.

This side of the river is where the actual ashram activities take place. neatly maintained temple garden Here, there are schools taking forward the teachings of Adi Shankara, where small children are taught the Vedas, and adult seekers from across the world come to study Advaita Vedanta. 

On the Bank od Tunga Shiv Linga is worshipped by devotees
There are cowsheds housing the ashram cows, and even an elephant shed for the two elephants that live here.
 Vyasa temple in Sringeri

  After lunch proceed to Udupi. Enroute, watch the amazing beauty of Agumbe Ghats.
(To be Cont..)

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