Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Vietnam, Pakistan

Holy Pilgrimage  - Hindu temples in Vietnam, Pakistan


1.1 Geography

Vietnam stretches over 1600km along the eastern coast of Indo-China Peninsula. The country's land area is 326,797sq. km. This makes it slightly larger than Italy and a bit smaller than Japan. Vietnam has 3451km of coastline and 3818km of land borders: 1555km with Laos, 1281km with China and 982km with Cambodia. Three-quarters of the country consist of mountains and hills, the highest of which is 3143m high Fansipan in the Hoang Lien Mountains in the far north-west. The Truong Son Mountains, which form the Central Highlands, run almost the full length of Vietnam along its border with Laos and Cambodia. The largest metropolis is Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) followed by Hanoi (capital) Haiphong and Danang.

1.2 Climate

Vietnam has a remarkable diverse climate because of its wide range of latitudes and altitude. Although the entire country lies in the tropics and subtropics, local conditions vary from frosty winter in the far northern hills to year-round, sub-equatorial warmth in the Mekong Delta. In Ho Chi Minh City, the average annual temperature is 27oC. In April, daily highs are usually in the low 30s. In January, the daily lows average 21oC. Average humidity is 80% and annual rainfall averages 

1.4 Tamils in Vietnam

A tiny and almost forgotten minority group are the Tamils, whose ancestors came from tiny French enclaves like Pondicherry and Karikal along the south coast of India. Their small community in Ho Chi Minh City, now only a few thousand. In the late 19th century the Tamil immigrants from the French colonies of South India erected the Mariamman Temple in Saigon.
Like small ethnic groups anywhere in the world, the minority peoples of Vietnam continue to struggle against absorption into mainstream society. Meager economic opportunities in the countryside have drawn many minority people to urban areas where they must adopt to the ways of the late 20th century. But, another force is also at work. Since the early 1960s, the communist regime in Hanoi has endeavoured to integrate minority groups into the dominant Viet population. However, parents continue to teach native minority traditions at home as many of Vietnam’s ethnic groups reach the verge of extinction.

2.1 Kingdom of Champa

The kingdom of Champa flourished from the 2nd to the 15th centuries. It first appeared around present-day Danang and later by 8th century spread south to what is now Nha Trang and Phan Rang. The Cham adopted Hinduism, employed Sanskrit as a sacred language and borrowed heavily from Indian art. One of the most stunning sights in Hoi An area is My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. During the centuries when Tra Kieu (then known as Simhapura) served as the political capital of Champa. Dong Dong (then known as Indrapura) served as the Cham's religious centre.
My Son was the site of the most important Cham intellectual and religious centre, and also may have served as a burial place for Cham monarchs. My Son is considered to be Champa's counterpart to the grand cities of south-east Asia's other Indian-influenced civilsations: Agkor (Cambodia), Bagan (Myanmar), Aythaya (Thailand) and Borobudur (Java).
My Son became a religious centre under King Bhadravarman in the late 4th century and was occupied until 13th century. Most temples were dedicated to Cham kings associated with divinities, especially Shiva, who was regarded as the founder and protector of Champa's dynasties. The main sanctuary was dedicated to Bhadresvara, which is a contraction of the name of King Bhadravarman, who built the first temple at My Son, combined with '-esvara', which means Siva.
The linga inside was discovered during excavations in 1985. The 8th century was used to worship Shiva portrayed in human form rather than in the form of linga. Inside is an altar where a statue of Shiva, now in the Cham Museum in Danang used to stand. In the Museum, the objects displayed include a large panel of Shiva dancing on a platform above the bull Nandi. To Shiva's left is his son Skanda (under a tree), his wife Uma and a worshipper. To Shiva's right is a dancing saint and two musicians under a tree, one with two drums, the other with a flute. The display also include a finely carved lion - symbol of the power of the king (the lion was believed to be an incarnation of Vishnu and the protector of kings).

2.2 Hinduism in Early Vietnam

Champa was profoundly influenced by Hinduism and many of the Cham towers, built as Hindu sanctuaries, containing lingas that are still worshipped by ethnic-Vietnamese and ethnic-Chinese alike. After the fall of Champa in the 15th century, most Chams who remained in Vietnam became Muslims, but continued to practice various Brahmic rituals and customs.

2.3 Hindu Gods found in Cham Museum

Cham Museum is founded in 1915 by the Ecole Francaise d'Esreme Orient. It has the open-air collection of Cham sculptures in the finest in the world. Many of the sandstone carvings (altars, lingas, garudas, ganeshas, saraswathy, sea monster makara, elephant-lion Gajasimha, and images of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu) and altar ornaments are breathtaking; making this a place you can visit again and again.
The four scenes carved around the base of the 7th century Tra Kieu Altar tell part of the Ramayana epic and are influenced by the Amaravati style of South India:
Scene A (16 characters) tells the story of Prince Rama, who broke the sacred bow (Rudra) at the citadel of Videha thus winning the right to wed King Janaka's daughter, Princess Sita.
Scene B (16 characters) shows the ambassadors sent by King Janaka to Prince Rama's father, King Dasaratha, at Ayodhya. The emissaries inform King Dasaratha of the exploits of his sons, present him with gifts and invite to Videha to celebrate his son's wedding.
Scene C (18 characters) shows the royal wedding ceremony (including three Prince Rama's brothers, who are marrying Princess Sita's cousins).
In Scene D, 11 apsaras (heavenly maidens) dance and present flowers to the newlyweds under the guidance of the two gandhara musicians who appear to the beginning of Scene A.

2.4 Hindu Gods in Po Klong Gari Cham Towers

Phan Rang-Thao Cham's famous landmark is Po Klong Garai, also known as Po Klong Girai (girai means dragon). The four brick towers, constructed at the end of the 13th century during the reign of Cham monarch Jaya Simhabarman III, were bult as Hindu temples and stand on a brick platform at the top of Cho''k Hala, a crumbling granite hill covered with some of the most ornery cacti this side of the Rio Grande.
Over the entrance to the largest tower (the kalan, or sanctuary) is a carving of a dancing Shiva with six arms. This bas-relief is known locally as Po Klaun Tri - The Guardian of the Temple-Tower - and is famous for its beauty. Inside the vestibule is a statue of the bull Nandi (also known as Kapil Ox), symbol of the agricultural productivity of the countryside. Under the main tower is a mukhu-linga, a linga with a painted human face on it. A wooden pyramid has been constructed above the mukha-linga. On the nearby hill is a rock with an inscription from the year 1050 commemorating the erection of a linga by a Cham prince.
The Kate New Year is celebrated at the towers in the seventh month of the Cham calender (around October). The festival commemorates ancestors, Cham national heros and Gods such as goddess Po Ino Nagar who assisted the Chams with their farming. On the eve of the festival, a procession guarded by the mountain people of Tay Nguyen carries King Po Kloong Garai's clothing to accompaniment of traditional music. The procession lasts until mid-night. The following morning the garments are carried to the tower., once again accompanied by music along with banners, flags, singing and dancing,. Notables, dignitaries and village elders follow behind. This colourful ceremony continues into the afternoon. The Cham's New Year celebrations then carry on for the rest of the month as they attend parties and visit friend and relatives. The Cham also use this time to pray for good fortune.

2.5 Hindu Gods in Po Nagar Cham Tower

The Cham towers of Po Nagar, also known as Thap Ba (the Lady of the City), were built between the 7th and 12th centuries. The site was used for Hindu worship as early as 2nd century AD. Today, both ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Buddhists come to Po Nagar to pray and make offering according to their respective traditions.
There are many stone slabs found throughout the complexes, most of which relate history or religion proving great insight into the spiritual life and social structure of the Chams. Originally the complex covered an area of 500 sq. m. and there were seven or eight towers, four of which remain. All the temples face east, as did the original entrance to the complex, which is to the right as you ascend the hillock. In centuries past, a person coming to pray passed through the pillared mandapa (meditation hall), 10 pillars of which can still be seen, before proceeding up the staircase to the towers.
The 23m high North Tower (Thap Chinh), with its terraced pyramidal roof, vaulted interior masonry and vestibule, is a superb example of Cham architecture. One of the tallest Cham towers, it was built in 817 AD by Pangra, a minister of King Harivarman I, after the original temples here were sacked and burned. the raiders also carried off a linga made of precious metal. In 918 AD King Indravaraman III placed a gold mukha-linga in the North Tower, but it too was taken, this time by the Khmers. This attern of statues being destroyed or stolen and then replaced continued for some time until 965 AD when King Jaya Indravarman I replaced the gold mukha-linga with a stone figure of Uma - a shakti, or feminine manifestation of Shiva - which remains to this day.
Above the entrance to the North Tower, two musicians flak a dancing four-armed Shiva, one of whose feet on the head of the bull Nandi. The sandstone door-posts covered with inscriptions, are parts of the walls of the vestibule. A gong and a drum stand under the pyramid-shaped ceiling of the antechamber. In the 28m high pyramidal main chamber there is a black stone statue of the goddess Uma (in the shape of Bhagavati) with ten arms; two of which are hidden under her vest. She is seated leaning back against some sort of monstrous animal.
The Central Tower (Thap Nam) was built partly of recycled bricks in the 12th century on the site of a structure dating the 7th century. It is less finely constructed than the other towers and has little ornamentation; the pyramidal roof lacks terracing or pilasters. The interior altars were once covered with silver. There is a linga inside the main chamber.
The South Tower (Mieu Dong Nam), at one time dedicated to Shiva, still shelters a linga. The richly ornamented North-West Tower (Thap Tay Bac) was originally dedicated to Ganesha. The pyramid-shaped summit of the roof of the North-West Tower has disappeared. The West Tower, of which almost nothing remains, was constructed by King Vikrantavarman during the first half of the 9th century.

4. Hindu Temples in Ho Chi Minh City, vietnam

4.1 History of Indians in Vietnam

By 1867, the French had captured the southern third of Vietnam, carving a colony called Chochinchina and establishing a capital at the river port of Saigon. The French developed the foundation for modern infrastructure with the construction of highways, railroads, port facilities, telegraph networks, post offices and banks. In late 19th century, the French brought the Tamils from the tiny French enclaves like Pondicherry and Karikal along the south coast of India. They were engaged in the development of Vietnam. Later the Tamils from the Chettiar community (Nagartar) came to Vietnam especially for money lending business
Apart from conducting business, Nagartars were religious and build Hindu temples for their religious practices. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Nagartars spread Hinduism in South-East Asia. Initially some temples were built for their exclusive use but later they were opened to the public. Their interests in the field of education and maintenance of temples are well documented.

4.2 Origin of Hindu Temples

The Hindu temples in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are over 100 years. In the late 19th century, the Tamils came from Pondicherry constructed the Mariammam Temple with a raja goopuram. Similarly, in mid 20th century Nagartars built two Hindu temples, namely Sri Thendayutthapani Temple and Sunbramaniar Temple, using Indian craftsmen, builders and sculptors. Similar to the ancient temples in India, these temples followed the principles of temple building. All three temples have large sized halls (mandapams) and inner and outer circumferences. All three temples are in close proximity in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
During the Vietnam war, the unfavourable economic and political situations in South Vietnam caused the exodus of Nagartars. Some of them had Vietnamese wifes. Their offsprings have pure tamil names but they are unable to speak or write in Tamil.

4.3 Management of the Temples

In April 1975, after the reunification, the socialist government of Vietnam shut the places of worship, including the Hindu temples. Some temples premises were used as factories. I was told that the flat-roof of one Hindu temple was used to dry fish for export. The temples lost all its valuable jewelleries. Around 1993, the temples re-opened for worship as the result of the negotiations between India and Vietnam at the diplomatic level. In one temple, the flags of India and Vietnam are at the entrance, to reinforce the friendship between these two countries.
Caretakers, appointed by the Vietnamese authorities, manage the Hindu temples. The appointments are subject to annual renewal. There are no priests in these temples to conduct regular pujas in a proper manner. The caretakers or their assistants are acting as priests in chanting slokas and performing arathi. The devotees receive vibuthi and prasadam. It is against the temple regulations to accept money directly from the devotees. However, the devotees could make donation into the till box. Since there is no external financial support to the temples, all temple expenses are met from the till collection.
The Mariamman Temple is enjoying a healthy income. Many locals believe in the sacred power of Mariamman and regularly coming to this temple. Other two temples are struggling to meet the expenses due to poor attendance. Sometimes, the Indians expatriate community collects funds to meet the needs of these temples. In one temple, the flat roof leaks badly and the walls are damaged. With the gradual increase in the Indian expatriate population all three temples could expect more financial support in the future.
Tamil devotional songs are continuously played in cassettes in two temples, although Tamil was not understood by many devotees. The decorations of the deities and joss sticks used are similar to those in Chinese temples. The devotees offer flowers and fruits and burn joss sticks, both straight and spiral shaped. Devotees remove their shoes before entering the temples to maintain the purity of the temple.
One of the attractions in the temples is the presence of a number of colourfully painted vahanas for utsava murthis. They may be either made in Vietnam by the Indian craftsmen or brought in from India.

4.4 Subramaniam Temple

Subramaian Temple is located at 98, Nam Ky Khor Nglina Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is in the central business district of Ho Chi Minh City. No historical data available to indicate the year of construction of this temple but the installation of the Navagrahas was carried out in 1928.
The main deity is Lord Muruga with Valli and Deivayaani on his right and left sides, respectively. Lord Ganesh is located on the right side of Muruga. Rahu and Ketu are at the right and left sides of Lord Ganesh. Mouse is placed in-front of Lord Ganesh. Behind the mouse, a palli pedum (sacrificing platform) is situated. On the left side of Muruga, Lord Venkatesh is with Goddess Luxshmi and Andarl on His sides.
Vasantha Mandapam for Utsava Murthis is located at the right side of the entrance. Just outside the graphagraham, well-dressed guardian Idumpan (first person to perform Kavadi to Lord Muruga) shrine is located. Near the temple entrance, a picture of Bala Krishna is housed in a specially made colourful gopurm structure. Red painted horse vahanam is in the main hall of the temple.
The special feature of this temple is the presence of Navagrahas at the right hand side of temple in a tiled platform. Nine grahas are dressed with different coloured silk clothes. Flowers and joss sticks are kept in porcelain containers. Pictures of Shiva, Muruga, Luxshmi, Saraswathy and Krishna are also found in the temple.
Ramasaamy, the caretaker of this temple, was unable to speak in English or in Tamil. His son is Ramassayana. Ramassamy's father is a chettiar and his mother is a Vietnamese. His two sisters, Luxshmi and Sitha, are living in the central part of Vietnam. Ramasaamy had Swami Shivananda's book on Shiva Worship and his son told me that his father use this book for daily prayers. There are several devotional songs books in Tamil donated by the visiting devotees from Singapore and India.

4.5 Mariamman Hindu Temple

The following description from a book on Vietnam provides some information on the Mariamman temple.
Mariamman Hindu Temple, the only (?) Hindu temple still in use in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a little piece of southern India in the centre of Saigon. Though there are only 50 to 60 Hindus in Saigon - all of them Tamils - this temple, known in Vietnamese as Chua Ba Mariamman, is also considered sacred by many ethnic-Vietnamese and ethnic-Chinese. Indeed, it is reputed to have miraculous powers. The temple was built at the end of 19th century and dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Mariamman.
 The lion (Simma Vahanam) to the left of the entrance used to be carried around Saigon in a street procession every autumn. In the shrine in the middle of the temple is Mariamman, flanked by her guardians - Maduraiveeran (to her left) and Pechiamman (to her right). In front of the figure of Mariamman are two lingas. Favourite offerings placed nearby often joss sticks, jasmine, lilies and gladioli. The wooden stairs, on the left as you enter the building, lead to the roof, where you'll find two colourful towers covered with innumerable figures of lions, goddesses and guardians.
After reunification in April 1975, the government took over the temple and turned part of it into a factory for joss sticks. Another section was occupied by a company producing seafood export - the seafood was dried in the sun on the roof. The whole temple is to be returned to the local Hindu community.
Mariamman Temple is only three blocks west of Ben Thanh Market, at 45 D Truong Dinh. It is open from 7 am to 7 pm daily. Take off your shoes before stepping onto the slightly raised platform.
The main deity of this temple is Goddess Mariamman, another aspect of Parvathy. As the mother of universe, Parvathy is amma and prayed as Amman. Utsapa amman is placed next to the main deity. During the festivals she is placed on the Simha vahana and taken on procession along the roads of Ho Chi Minh City.
In addition, my observations are as follows: At the outer hall, Goddess Amman’s (Parvathy) sons Ganesha and Muruga are on her right and left, respectively. The Rajagopuram of this temple is about 12m high with a number of statues. Colourful statues of Amman, Luxshmi, Ganesha, Muruga, angels and dancing girls decorate the entrance of the inner hall.
The attractive features of this temple are the beautifully sculptured Amman in her different forms as well as other deities. They are located permanently on the surround outer walls of the temple. They include Nadarajar, Param Sivam, Brahman, Mahavishnu, Kaliamma, Biramasakthi, Samundi, Thirumagal, Mageswari, Meenadchi, Valambigai, Andal, Kamadchiamman, Karumari-amman, Sivagami and Parvathy with Murugan in her lap.
 Iyaaswamy Devar from Tamil Nadu is the caretaker of this temple. Devotees experienced the power of Mariamman for a number of years. Hence, this temple is most popular with the locals. This temple is now taking the necessary steps to bring a priest from India to conduct proper puja in a regular basis. I was told that with many others like Mr. Chidambaram from Tamil Nadu has shown significant interest in the temple affairs.

4.6 Sri Thendayyutthapani Temple

Sri Thendayutthapani temple is located at 66 Ton That Thiep, Quan 1 (District 1), Ho Chi Minh City. At the entrance of the temple, the writings on the name board indicate are as follows:
66 Ton That Thiep, Phuong Ben Nghe,
Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Inside the temple, the regulations of the temple, both in Vietnamese and English, are displayed. The writings in English are as follows:
     I.            The Hindus Sri Thendayyutthapani Temple worshipping devotees are advised to comply with the religious belief.
 II.            Opening hours from 6 am to 7 pm specially on the first day 15th (lunar calendar) and on Hindu festive days are extended until 8 pm.
III.            The Temple management holds in high esteem those who pay a visit to this sacred shrine and as well as for the believers.
IV.            Personnel of this Temple are not authorised to receive any amount of money offered by the visitors or to accept any tips (Please drop your offering in the charity box).
  V.            Everybody is requested to protect the temple property located in shrine and in the environment.
VI.            Please observe order, keep silence, make no noise that will interfere with worship and others.
VII.            Please do not enter the Almighty shrine through the inner sanctum.
  • Board of Management,
  • Nov. 15th, 1993.
Beautiful gopurum is on the flat roof of the temple. The statues of several Hindu gods and goddesses are on all sides of the gopurum. The following main scene were well carved and painted at the bottom level of the gopurum:
  • Four handed Subramanya seated with Valli (blue coloured indicated her hunter race) and Deivayanai on his right and left sides and a snake and peacock in front of Muruga.
  • Siva with Parvathy and Ganesha on his left and right sides and a mouse in front of Ganesha,
  • Blue coloured Rama holding a bow in his hand with Sita and Luxmana on his left and right sides and Hanuman sitting at the foot of Rama.
  • Brahma (four faces and four hands) with his consort Saraswathy.
On the top level of gopurum, the following carved figures can be seen:
  • Arumugaswamy (Muruga with six faces) sitting with Valli and Deivayanai.
  • Shiva on a sitting position with one leg down and resting on a demon.
  • Mahavishnu in sitting position with his consort Luxshimi.
In addition to these carvings, there are several other statues were present. Several peacocks, Idumpan and other guardian figures etc. The main deity of this temple is Thendayatthapani (another name for Lord Muruga) with spear (Vel) in his hand. In front of the arthimula deity, shrines for Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna are located on the left and right sides, respectively. On walls of the temple, very big framed pictures of Mahathma Ghandi, Swami Vivekanada, Rabindranath Tagr, Thiruvalluvar, Abdul Kalam Azad, Nehru, Mahavishu. Narayana on Garuda and Palani anadavar are found. Another attraction in this temple is the presence of four beautifully painted vahanas (vehicles) to take the deities on procession during festival days. They are yellow cow, swinging red horse, brown sheep and fiercely looking Idumpan. The pictures of four Saiva saints namely, Thirugnanasampathar, Thirunavukarasar, Sundarar and Manicavasagar are placed for the prayers. This temple has both inner and outer paths for the devotees to go around the deities.
Muthiah is the caretaker of the Sri Thendayutthapani temple. I spoke to his father, Mr. Palanivelu aged 78 yrs. He speaks fluent Tamil amd his parents are Subbiah Chettiyar and Umayarl. He is married to a Vietnamese and has three children, Muttiah, Subramanium and Arunachalam. The whole family is dedicated to the temple service. Mr. Palanivelu spoke to me in length about the difficulties his children faced in getting jobs and managing the temple.

5. Concluding Remarks

It is an unforgettable experience for me to see three Hindu temples in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. These beautiful temples are the treasures of the Hindus. Since the Indian population is not large enough, these temples are struggling to meet the maintenance expenses. Most of the devotees visiting these temples are Vietnamese. There is no official financial support to these temples and there are no priests in these temples. It is the responsibility of the Hindu community in Vietnam to look after these temples. The political set-up in Vietnam is different to other countries and this has some effect on temple management.
With the Divine powers of Lord Muruga and Divine Mother Mariamma I have no doubt that these temples will flourish in the future. All Hindus must pay a visit to these temples in Vietnam whenever they get the opportunity to go to Vietnam. Vietnam is now welcoming foreigners for joint-venture projects.

Mariamman Temple, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Mariamman Temple of Ho Chi Minh City is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Mariamman. It was built in the late 19th century by traders from Tamil Nadu known as Nagarathar.


In the outer hall, Paravati's sons Ganesha and Muruga are on her right and left, respectively. The Rajagopuram of this temple is about 12m high and contains a number of statues. Statues of Lakshmi, Muruga and other devas dot the hallways.
The main feature of the temple are the various statues of Mariamman, which surround the outer walls of the temple. These include Nataraja, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Kali, Biramasakthi, Samundi, Thirumagal, Mageswari, Meenadchi, Valambigai, Andal, Kamadchiamman, Karumari-amman, Sivagami and Parvathy who has Murugan in her lap.
There is also a huge mandapam or main hall inside the Koil


It was built at first to serve the Chettiar community in Vietnam. It serves around 50 Tamil families in Saigon, and most of the devotees are Vietnamese or Chinese who experienced the powers of Mariamman



Sharada Peeth, Pakistan

Sharada Peeth (Urdu: شاردا پیٹھ), located near Sharda in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, was the famous temple of the goddess Sarasvatī (Sharda) on the banks of Neelum River, (referred to as Kishenganga River by India) in Neelum Valley in Pakistan.  Its ruins are near the Line of Control (LOC)  between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions of the former princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. Shina, Pahari, and Kashmiri languages are mostly spoken in the area. Indegenious script of Kashmir is named after the deity Sharada Devi.  Kashmir was sometimes called Sharada Desh because of this temple and Sharada was called Kashmira Puravasini (resident of city of Kashmir ).[citation needed]The Kashmiris are highly devoted towards this great deity[1] whom they call as 'BHAGWATI'. During their daily worship they often say "Namastey Sharada Devi Kashmir Pur Vasini Tvam Ham Prartheye Nityam Vidya Danam Che De hi mey" meaning Salutations to you, O Sharada, O Goddess, O one who resides in Kashmir. I pray to you daily, please give me the charity of knowledge.
The temple was last repaired by Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir


The temple is located in a village called Sharda, in Neelam Valley, at a distance of 60 miles from Baramulla and about 16 miles from line of control.

Place of learning

The place was once a celebrated centre of learning in the subcontinent. It was a centre of great Sanskrit scholars and Kashmiri Pandits and was a famous centre of Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the Prabhāvakacarita, a Jain historical work dated 1277–78, the Śvetāmbara scholar Hemacandra requested grammatical texts preserved here so he could compile his own grammar, the Siddhahema.  The Vaishnava saint Swami Ramanuja traveled all the way from Srirangam to refer to Bodhayana's vritti on Brahma Sutras preserved here, before commencing work on writing his commentary on the Brahma sutras, the Sri Bhasya. Near Sree Sharada Devi temple, there used to be famous Sanskrit university.

The ancient temple of Sree Sharada

The temple is so ancient that Kashmir State was earlier known as 'Sharada Peeth'. It is at this temple that Sankaracharya received the right to sit on the Sarvanjnanapeetham or Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).The temple is at a height of 11000 feet above the sea level and is about 70 miles from Shrinagar. The length of the temple is 142 feet and width is 94.6 feet. The outer walls of the temple are 6 ft. wide and 11 ft long. And there are arches with 8 ft. height. It is a very good example of architecture. The Śāradā image at Shringeri Sharadamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Sankaracharya from here

Mention in historic period

  n a poetic work composed by Mahakavi Kalhan in the year 1148 CE, there is a mention of Sree Sharadad Devi temple and its geographic location. Kalhana mentions that in Lalitaditya's reign (8th century AD), some followers of a king of Gauda (Bengal), come to Kashmir under the pretence of visiting the shrine of Śāradā. The first verse of 'Prapanchsar' composed by Adi Shankaracharya is devoted to the praise of Sree Sharada Devi.
In the year 1030 CE, the Muslim historian Al-Baruni visited Kashmir. According to him, there was a wooden idol of Sree Sharada Devi in Sree Sharada Devi temple. He compared the temple of Sree Sharada Devi with the Multan Sun Temple, Vishnu Chakraswamin temple at Thaneshwar and Somnath temple.
During 16th century, when Akbar was ruling at Delhi, Abul Fazal, one of the famous 'Nava-Ratnas' in his Court, has written about Sree Sharada Devi temple that Sree Sharada Devi temple is near the banks of river Madhumati (currently Neelum river) which is full of gold particles and he also wrote that one can experience miracles on every eighth day of the bright fortnight of the month.
In the 14th century, the temple was attacked for the first time After this attack, India started losing its contact with Krushnaganga and Sharada Peeth. In the 19th century, Dogra king of Kashmir restored this temple.
Many ancient holy books of Hindus were written in Kashmir. From the time of Sage Shandilya, Kashmir was renowned for Sanskrit language, literature, astronomy, astrology and jurisprudence so also as a well-known centre of arts and architecture. In the 8th century, King Lalitaditya ruled Kashmir. During his time, Kashmir was known as the centre for studies of Hindu religion. There is a mention in the 'Sankhyayan' written by Vinayak Bhatt that in those days, Hindu students use to go to Kashmir for higher studies. In the writings of famous Chinese traveler Yuan Shuang in 7th century, it is mentioned that many saints and scholars lived in Kashmir.


Matang Sage Shandilya used to meditate in Sharada-van. Near the temple of Sree Sharada Devi, there is 'Amarkund' lake. It is believed that Sage Shandilya got the 'darshan' of Sree Sharada Devi there.

Sharada script

Sharada script and Takri (from which Gurmukhi is derived) are originated here.

Visiting the temple

Kashmiri Pandits from India regularly try to visit this temple to offer prayers, but there are instances where they were not permitted to cross the LOC and visit the temple


There is a demand from certain section of Indian politicians that Pakistan should renovate this temple, in the lines of its renovatiing the Katasraj Temple in Lahore.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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