Kashmir offers you an opportunity to visit one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations, the sacred temple of Shankaracharya. This temple is located on the top of the hills, southeast of Srinagar and is commonly known as the Takht-i-Sulaiman. This temple is situated at a height of 1100 feet above the Srinagar City. The temple is devoted to the worship of lord Shiva. Tours and travel to this pilgrimage involves a trek to the top of the hills in the Srinagar region.
This ancient temple dates back to 5th Century BC. It was constructed by Pandavas and completed by Maharaja Gopaditya. It is believed that the saint Shankaracharya stayed here when he visited Kashmir twelve centuries ago to preach the Sanatan Dharma. In the ancient times this temple was known as the Gopadri. The main shrine has a circular cell inside. An inscription in Persian inside the shrine indicates that the origin of this sacred place dates back to the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. The saint Adi Shankaracharya visited Kashmir in the first quarter of the ninth century with the basic aim of spreading the philosophy of Vedanta. The saint also popularized the worship of lord Shiva in Kashmir. It seems that before saint Shankaracharya came to this area, Buddhism was rampant in this region. Maharaja Pratap Singh did the installation of Shivalinga in the temple.
Shankarachar is a detached ridge of igneous rock to the southeast of Srinagar, separated from the Shilamar Range by the Aita Gaj Gap. The summit of the hill is crowned with a picturesque edifice. There were 300 golden and silver images in it. The Temple is built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a flight of steps.
The temple is under the control of the Dharmartha Department. They have built two small buildings for the sadhus who live there. There is at the place an old stone shed which is called 'Parvatihund bana koth' (the storehouse of goddess Parvati). On the 20th April 1961 Shri Shankaracharia of Dwarika Pet installed the white marble statue of Adi Shankaria just near the temple arranged by the Dharmartha Department. The panoramic view of the valley in early April when the snow is deep on the mountains, or after rains on a summer day from the summit of the hill is one of the best that could ever be witnessed.
It overlooks the Valley and can be approached by a motorable road. There are 245 steps from the end of the road before one reaches the temple.
Shankeracharya Temple has been declared to be of National importance under the ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (24 of 1958) by Archaeological Survey of India.
The temperature in June-August summer is 25 deg to 35 deg C. It plummets to 7 deg C in spring (March-May) and autumn (Oct - Nov). In winter (Dec-Feb), the temperature drops to minus 10 deg C.