Sringeri is the site of the first matha established by the Adi Sankaracharya, the 8th century Hindu reformer and exponent of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. It is located on the banks of the river Tunga, in Karnataka, India. In a popular legend, Adi Sankaracharya is said to have selected the site when, walking by the Tunga river, he saw a cobra with a raised hood, providing shelter from the hot sun, to a frog about to spawn. Four mathas were eventually established by Sankara, in the north (Jyotirmath, near Badrinath), south (Sringeri), east (Puri), and west (Dwaraka) of India.
The name Sringeri is derived from Rishyasringa-giri, a nearby hill that is believed to have contained the hermitage of Rishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyasringa. Rishyasringa appears in an episode in the Bala-Kanda of the Ramayana where a story, narrated by Vasishta, relates how Rishyasringa brought rains to the drought-stricken kingdom of Romapada.
The most important temple at Sringeri is the Vidyashankara temple, built in the 14th century by Vidyaranya, patron-saint of Harihara and Bukka, the brothers who founded the Vijayanagara empire. Inscriptions in the temple record contributions made by several Vijayanagara emperors, though the temple was probably built on an earlier Hoysala site, and combines the Hoysala and Vijayanagara architectural features.