The Sharda-Peeth, the shrine dedicated to the Goddess of Learning, is located at the very heart of Vidya Vihar Campus in Pilani, rightly called “the oasis in the desert”. Situated at a distance of 200 kms, from Delhi in the north-east of Rajasthan, Pilani synthesises India, Ancient and Modern. Set in rural surroundings, where tradition informs the life of local communities, it is also the seat of one of the most modern educational and cultural complexes in the nation. The shrine, here, is a unique model in the history of Indian architecture, both in spirit and form as well. It may not be hyperbolic to say that it is an embodiment of Indian culture, emphasising the paramount significance of knowledge, presenting its compendium in the form of this shrine.
The marvel of its symphonic structure in white marble of Makarana, attuned with the very essence of Indian attitude towards life-a synthesis of both old and new and assimilation of whatever is best in East or West, makes one spell-bound at its very first glimpse. It embodies the vision of its builder, the great philanthropist, educationist and thinker, Padma Vibhushan Shri G.D. Birla, who has been dedicated to the cause of education and revival of Indian tradition. Sharda-Peerh is perhaps the only temple in India solely dedicated to Saraswati. So far as the style is concerned it belongs to the Jain-cum-Indo-Aryan architecture. It is a replica of the temple of Kandanya Mahadeva at Khajuraho, with its own distinctive features. The temple at Khajuraho stands on 56 pillars, whereas in Pilani it stands on 70 pillars having seven parts. Copper wire is used to join the stones to ensure a longer life which is estimated to be at least 2000 years.
The temple is surrounded by green lawns and trees, and a visitor forgets for a while that he is standing on the soil of a desert. The basement is at a height of 7 ft. from the ground as though in an effort to rise above the temporal surroundings, covering an area of 234ft. X 109ft, covered by square tiles of marble. The busts of Late Raja Baldev Das Birla and Smt.Chhogi Devi on separate plinths at the right and left side are bridged with the main plinth as a mark of honour and homage to the parents of the builder keeping in line with the first teachings of Upanishads- ’Matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava’. Two monolithic figures of elephants holding lotus in their trunks stand on the sides of the stairs leading to the plinth.