Buddhists know Shankaracharya Temple as Jyasteshwara Temple or Pas-Pahar. For tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir, it is a must for them to visit this revered temple. It is built on top of Shankaracharya Hill at a height of 1000 feet. You get to see scintillating views of Srinagar from the hilltop. It is said that Adi Shankara laid his foot in this temple. He was a Hindu philosopher known for his principle of advaita. This refers to the coming together of ātman and nirguna Brahman. The temple is therefore heavily associated with him.
This temple is popularly known as Throne of Solomon. It lies atop a hill called Takht i Suleiman. The place has been considered sacred since the ancient times as King Solomon is believed to have visited this place.
The temple has a great architectural design. It is supported by a high octagonal platform. There are as many as hundred steps that need to be climbed in order to reach the temple. It is said that the sidewalls of this staircase had valuable writings inscribed on them. The temple today has a beautiful modern ceiling that was made after the earthquake. However, the temple maintains 300 silver and golden images. Tourists can capture scintillating views of snow-covered mountains of the famous Pir Panjal Mountain range.
Shankaracharya is a detached ridge of rock and it is separated by Aita Gaj Gap from the Shalimar Range. A pretty edifice coronets the hill top. This hill was initially called Jetha Larak and then renamed Gopadri Hill.
If we go back 2500 years ago, this was a Buddhist temple. On his visit to the temple, Adi Shankaracharya put a Shiv Ling inside the temple and since then the temple became a Hindu Temple.
This temple dates back to times when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was in reign. According to Pandit Anand Koul of 1924, the temple was at first built by Kind Sandiman who reigned in Kashmir from 2629 to 2564 BC. Later on, it was repaired by King Gopaditya during the period from 426 to 365 BC and finally by King Lalitaditya in 697 to 734 BC. It is said that there was a massive earthquake at the time of Zain-ul-Abidin. After the earthquake only the circular cell that gives an amazing view of the valley and chamber remained. While Zain-ul-Abidin initiated repair work, following repairs were done by Sheikh Ghulam Mohiuddin, who was a Sikh Governor here between 1841 and 1846. King Gopaditya of 34 BC to 13 AD made a significant contribution to the temple as well.
It is believed that Raja Gopaditya had constructed this temple in 371 BC. It was then named as Gopadri. In the 9th century, Sri Adi Shankaracharya visited Kashmir to revive Sanatan Dharna and spread the philosophy of Vedanta. He thus stayed there for a certain period of time and that is when the temple got its name of Shankaracharya Temple. He was the key person who popularised worship of Lord Shiva in the state.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is Sheikh ul Alam Airport at Srinagar. Major operators function daily flights to Srinagar from major Indian cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu.
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi from where tourists can take either local buses or taxis for a safe ride to the temple.
Srinagar is well-connected to all the major cities of the country through National Highway (NH) 1-A. State transport corporation offers regular bus services for your convenience.
Best Time to Visit
Jammu and Kashmir is noted for its cold winters and warm summers. The best time to plan a visit to Shankaracharya Temple is between the months of April and October. It’s when the state looks fresh with picturesque surroundings that are worth capturing in photographs.