Akhadas are religious institutions which were created by Adi Shankaracharya to promote Hindu culture and religion during 8th Century. He created total 7 Akhada namely
1. Mahanirvani (महानिर्वाणी) - Panchayati Akhada Mahanirvani
2. Niranjani (निरंजनी) – Panchayati Akhada Nairanjani
3. Juna (जूना) -
4. Atal (अटल) – Shanbhupancha Atal
5. Avahan (आवाहन)
6. Agni (अग्नि)
7. Anand (आनंद)
to strengthen Hindu religion and to unite various Hindu groups practicing different customs, beliefs and rituals.
These Akhadas exist even today with less or more same names. All Akhadas have their own primary deity to worship, separate flags, Gurus and ideologies. Each Akhadas is administered by a committee of five members known as Shree Panch. The head of each Akhada is known as Mahamandaleshwar (महामंडलेश्वर).
Juna is the biggest Akhada by number of Sadhus in it and operates from Banaras which is followed by Niranjani and Mahanirvani. Usually it is believed that in all Akhadas drugs are promoted which is not true as in few Akhadas drugs are banned.