Madhava, Vidyaranya, Sringeri, and Kulke

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon May 15 20:32:53 UTC 2000

Prasad Velusamy <prasad_velusamy at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Hampi was chosen because of the rock croppings, etc.,

Maybe I should clarify.

1. Vijayanagara = 14th century, doesn't need any more proof than       what
has been published scores of times.
2. Hacker's thesis - Sringeri matha = 14th century, by Vidyaranya.
3. Kulke's thesis - Sringeri matha = 14th century, by Vidyasankara.

The idea is that the matha was established and claimed to be an old
institution, primarily to legitimate the newly established Hindu state. It
is left unsaid that the newly established state reciprocally legitimated the

My question - If it is an issue of such mutual legitimation based on good
old brahma-kshatra alliances, why choose a spot so far away from the new
capital, in order to establish a new matha? I don't doubt that there were
military strategic reasons for Hampi as the new capital. That is not an
issue. Why not put up a matha also right there, or somewhere nearby?

If you look at the local data more closely, there is indeed a matha in
Hampi/Hospet, called the Virupaksha matha, reputedly established by
Vidyaranya. But that has traditionally always been known as a branch of
Sringeri matha, not the other way round. On Hacker's and Kulke's showing,
Sringeri matha and Virupaksha matha would be more or less equal in age and
origin. Why has the matha in the capital come to be called a branch of the
matha that is so far away? If one agrees that the Sringeri matha had been
existing prior to the 14th century, everything falls into place and makes

>Sringeri is close to HaLebiD, the Hoysala capital,
>isn't it?

No. It is almost as far away from Halebid as it is from Hampi. Hampi is in
Bellary district, close to the Andhra Pradesh border. Halebid is in Tumkur
district, close to Bangalore. Sringeri is in Chickmagalur district, closer
to the West coast, and nearer to Mangalore and Udipi.

Also, if I remember right, Kulke says something about Sringeri being on the
way from the old Hoysala capital to the new Vijayanagara capital. If you
look at a map, you will see that this would entail a long detour, more than
doubling the distance and time of travel. To get from Halebid to Hampi, you
can cut straight across, through Chitradurga or Davangere. You would not
want to enter what is called Malenadu, and scale the higher hills of the
Western ghats. If you want to make a pilgrimage tour, that is a different
issue, but no strategic military or political reasons present themselves, to
commend such an itinerary.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list