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The Temple is built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a flight of steps.Shankarachar is a detached ridge of igneous rock to the south-east of Srinagar, separated from the Shilamar Range by the Aita Gaj Gap.
The summit of the hill is crowned with a picturesque edifice. This hill was called Jetha Larak and afterwards it was named Gopadari Hill. Some are of opinion that the temple at the top was originally built by King Sandiman (2629-2564 B.c.). There were 300 golden and silver images in it. About 1368 B.C. King Gopadittya founder of Gopkar repaired it and bestowed to the Brahmans of Arya Varta, agrahars which he built on its top. King Sandimati (34 B.C.-A.D. 13) improved and added to the temple. Zain-Ul-Abdin (1421-1472 A.D.) repaired its roof which had tumbled down by an earthquake. Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-Din, a Governor (1841-46) also repaired its dome. Recently, the dome was repaired by Swami Shivratnanand saraswati at the request of a Nepali Sadhu who gave him financial aid.
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 store-house of goddess Parvati). The present name owes its origin to the great philosopher Shankaracharya who visited the valley about ten centuries ago, and lodged at the top of this hill, where it appears there were small sheds of Brahmans who looked after the temple.
There is a small tank built of slabs of stone just behind the temple. In those days the Acharya or the Chief Preceptor or, in modern parlance, the Chancellor of the University of Srinagar was Swami Abinaugupth. A discussion took place between the two sages and according to the local tradition Abinaugupth initiated Shankaracharya into the Shakti cult. 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.
A climb to the hill from the Mission Hospital (now Government Hospital for chest diseases) will take about 40 min. The path is a pony-track. The descent towards the Gagribal spur is gentle. En route is the tomb of Mian Dullo who is said to have squandered away all the money which his father had given him to trade with. He was enamoured of the charms of the Dal Lake which he selected as his favourite haunt for the gratification of his epicurean appetites.