Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Shankaracharya Hill

The Shankaracharya temple atop about 1000 feet high hillock of the same name is to the south-east of Srinagar. Ringed by the perennially snow-bound mountain peaks, the magnificent Dal Lake and the zig-zagging Vitasta (Jhelum) flowing placidly through the heart of the ancient city of Srinagar and the temple commands a fascinating bird's eye-view of the city and the celestial Valley. The Shiva temple a massive stone structure is built on a high octagonal plinth strictly in accordance with Hindu tradition. The temple has 84 recesses on its exterior and is surrounded by a parapet well enabling devotees to have the Parikrama of the temple safely. The stairs leading to the sanctum santorum number 36, first flight of 18 steps followed by 12 steps and again followed by six steps on either side of the landing terminating the second flight. This total of 36 steps is also in accordance with Hindu tradition, 36 denoting as many elements of which cosmos is made, viz. Shiva Tattva to the Prithvi Tattva.

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