There are a very few temples dedicated to goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning. In many shrines goddess Saraswati will be seen in collaboration with other deities. A shrine dedicated to the goddess alone is very rare. Here you can have glance at the most popular and famous temples that are dedicated to goddess Saraswati.
1. Gnana Saraswati Temple, Basar, Telangana
Gnana Saraswati Temple on the banks of Godavari River at Basar, Telangana, is dedicated to Saraswati – the goddess of knowledge and learning. According to the legend, after the Mahabharata war, sage Veda Vyasa took up a journey searching for peace. He eventually reached the serene Kumaranchala hills on the banks of river Godavari. He started meditating the goddess mother. The pleased goddess appeared before him in the form of divine trinity (Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Kali). The goddess instructed the sage to place three handful of sand at three places everyday, and worship the Shakthi trio. These sand dunes miraculously transformed into the idols of the divine trinity. Goddess Saraswati is the presiding deity in the temple. Shrines of Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali are located nearby the main temple. Aksharabhyasam – a formal introduction of a child into education – is one of the famous rituals performed at this temple.
2. Kollur Mookambika, Karnataka
The Kollur Mookambika Temple at Kollur, Karnataka, is a temple dedicated to Mookambika Devi – an incarnation of goddess Saraswati. The 1200-year old temple, on the banks of the never drying river Sauparnika, is believed to be established by lord Parameshwara. As per the legend, a demon named Kaumasura used to live in the temple site. He got some boons from lord Shiva, and misused these gifts in attacking humans and gods. In his quest to be immortal, the asura started praying to Shiva. At last after a severe penance, Shiva appeared before him. When Kaumasaura was about to ask for the boon, goddess Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and learning, intervened at the right time and took away the demon’s ability to speak. The goddess with the blessing of all gods killed the demon on the spot. Thereafter she came to be known as Mookambika (‘Mooka’ meaning mute).
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3. Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple
The Saraswathi Temple at Panachikkad, Kottayam in Kerala is famously known as Dakshina Mookambi (or Mookambika Temple of the South). The main speciality of this temple is that unlike many Saraswathi temples that perform pooja only during the ‘Navarathri period’, this temple offers pooja throughout giving ‘ darshan’ to the devotees. The temple is distinct for the absence of the regular sanctum sanctorum as found in other temples. The original idol of the Devi is situated in a natural setting surrounded with creepers and an immaculate spring. There is an alternate idol of the Devi on which poojas are performed. The temple is believed to be more than 1000 years of age. Children are initiated into the world of letters at the Vidhyarambham (a Hindu tradition observed on Vijayadashami day mainly in Kerala and Karnataka) ceremony held here.
4. Maha Saraswathi Temple in Kuthanur
Koothanur Maha Saraswathi Temple in the Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Saraswathi. The shrine is called Dakshina Thiruveni Sangamam as it is the site of the convergence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi. As per the legend, the village where the temple is located was gifted by Raja Raja Chola II to Ottakoothar, a talented court poet. The origin of the name Koothanur is attributed to the poet’s name. It is believed that Ottakoothar became a renowned poet after having a vision from the goddess blessing him. The stone idol of the goddess in yogic sitting posture in a white lotus is the main deity here. Draped in white, the four-armed goddess holds rosary (japamala), water-pot (kamandala), chinmudra (indicative of knowledge) and a palm-leaf manuscript.
5. Shri Saraswati Temple at Pushkar, Rajasthan
Shri Saraswati Temple is an important temple in Pushkar, the city dotted with 400 odd temples. Every year, thousands of tourists visit this temple that boasts distinct and beautiful structure. Saraswati is Brahma’s consort, and Pushkar has the distinction of having the temples of both Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswati. The Saraswati temple is located on a hill top that requires approximately one-hour trekking to reach there. The temple overlooking a beautiful lake is a worthwhile spot to visit.
6. Shringeri Sharadamba Temple
Sri Sharadamba temple in the holy town of Sringeri in Karnataka, is dedicated to goddess Saraswati. Sri Sharada (Saraswathi) is the presiding deity of Sringeri. Sringeri is the site of the first maṭha (Sringeri Sharada Peeta) established by Adi Shankara, Hindu philosopher and exponent of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Devotees believe that by worshipping the deity here, one can receive blessings of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu along with Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The ritual of Aksharabhyasa (or Vidyarambha) performed here is considered to be sacred and fulfilling.
The original 8th-century shrine was a modest one founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It housed a sandalwood idol of Sharada in standing posture, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya (12th Jagadguru) built a temple in the Kerala style. They installed a seated gold statue of Sri Shardamba in the 14th century. The original idol of Sri Sharadamba in sandalwood is now housed in the temple of Sri Vidyashankara at Sringeri.