Vidyashankara Temple, Sringeri: The moment you enter Sringeri Temple complex, the stunning sight of the Vidya-Shankara Temple, shaped like chariot with its majestic gopuram soaring into the sky, attracts you. The presiding deity in this temple is the Shiva Linga known as Vidya-Shankara, installed over the Samadhi. This grand temple was built over the mortal remains of Vidyathirtha, the teacher of Vidyaranya. Vidyaranya is a legendary figure in the history of Karnataka who was the saint guru of the founder-brothers of the Vijayanagar Empire, Harihara and Bukka. The imposing granite structure of the Vidya-Shankara Temple with its intricate carvings leaves one astounding at its stupendous architecture.
There are 104 sculptured images executed in Hoysala style. On the floor one can see a large stone on which a circle is drawn with lines corresponding to the shadow of the pillar as it falls during each month. There are five cells to house the images of Vidya-Ganapati, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara and Durga. The main temple hall features 12 pillars designated for the 12 signs of the zodiac. In the same temple, the broken wooden image of Saradamba, believed to be the original one installed by Shankaracharya also can be seen. If you are really interested to walk through the history of the temple and its architecture, its better you hire a guide. An approved guide, identifiable by a badge, charges Rs.50 per half-hour of fluent commentary in Kannada, Tamil and English.