Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar history & legends

On my journey into learning about Shaivism, I knew once I’ll need to visit Kashmir, the home of Shaivism. And finally when I reached here, my first wish was to visit the Shankaracharya temple. The temple, situated atop the hill Takt-e-Suleiman, was built around 371BC by Raja Gopadatya. The works of Kalhana’s Ranjatarangini gives details about the history of this temple. Adi Shankaracharya stayed here when he visited Kashmir to revive Sanatan Dharma and hence the current name.

The Shankracharya Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is thought to be the oldest shrine in the Kashmir valley. The temple, as it stands today, has undergone many repairs throughout its life. The temple is of great importance, not only from the point of view of religion, but also from architectural viewpoint. A high octagonal platform supports the temple, approached by a flight of approximately 250+ steps. The sidewalls of the steps once bore some valuable inscriptions which are now lost after repairs. There is also a Persian inscription inside the temple.

Though the stair’s inscription was not saved, in Kalhana’s work you do get to know the details of the inscriptions. The hill had different names time to time and finally got the current name after a person named Sulaiman (also called Solomon) invaded; he came along with his throne, hence the name Takt-e-Sulaiman. The Persian inscriptions on the stairs said about a visit of a person with the name Yuz Asaf during the reign of Raja Gopadri. He supposedly with his followers renovated the temple. The inscription mentions Yuz Asaf as a prophet from Israel. If you go through Persian literature, you do get to read about a saint named Yuz Asaf. The Jami – uf – Tamarik, Volume II mentions him, you get to read about him also in Agha Mustafa’s “Awhali Shahai-i-paras” that tell of Yuz Asaf’s travels and teachings all over Persia.

I would refrain from coming to any conclusion and leave it upon readers. But the details about Yuz Asaf are indeed interesting and raise lot of curiosity as to his identity & visit to Kashmir!! Maybe after checking out with Rozabal shrine might again update more about Yuz Asaf.

Here are few clicks of the temple. The temple is heavily guarded by army and you are not allowed to take camera or phone. So took help from army men atop to click and forward me the photographs.

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250+ stairs up and then you reach the hill top

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The shivling inside the temple.

Old photographs of the temple, from around 1850s. Courtesy: Google

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4 thoughts on “Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar history & legends

  1. Nice article. Look forward to know details of Yuz asaf. We missed chking up Rozabal during our visit 3y back.

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