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Divine Land of Celestial Beauty Udupi Shri Krishna Temple !

Nestled alongside the coast line of the calm Arabian Sea and Western Ghats of Karnataka 381 Kms away from Bangalore and 61 Kms away from Mangalore is ‘Vaikunta’ – meaning ‘Kingdom of God’ – the temple town of Udupi. Named after the moon and the locally derived language ‘Tulu’ term, ‘Odipu’ meaning ‘God & Follower’! It’s a prosperous city dotted with natural beauty and Hindu Temples! Udupi is recognized for their contribution to the Kannada Vegetarian Cuisine – especially the ‘Dosa’! The battery of cooks of ‘Shivali Madhava Bhramins’ take credit for it! Udupi takes credit in being the place where the ‘Dvaita School of Vedanta’ was found a 1000 years ago. Udupi also was the founding town for a form of Kannada Literature known as ‘ Dasa Sahitya’.
This temple town took shape in the late 1300 AD after Sanskrit Philosopher, Madhavacharya envisaged and envisioned the presence of Lord Krishna’s statue on a boat which was caught in a storm at Malpe, a coastal town close by. He with his spiritual and divine power brought the troubled boat to safety ashore. The grateful boat owner who was ferrying the boat from Dwarka ( in Gujarat) ignorant of what was in the cargo offered the spiritual guru anything from the boat as a reward. The divine soul only took the Shri Krishna Idol which was hidden among the sandalwood wooden mass and went about installing this famous child like Krishna Idol known as ‘Kadagolu Bala Krishna’ at the present Udupi Shri Krishna Temple. This version of Krishna was the favourite of Lord Krishna’s mother Devaki and his wife Rukmani. It’s creation is attributed to the master Architect, Vishwakarma! This Idol of Shri Krishna is the child image of the Lord decked with jewels. The Temple Architecture is basically ‘Dravidian’ and the temple is enshrined in a math complex!
Another unique feature of this Temple is that the Divine Idol is viewed through a window of 9 holes, called ‘Navagraha Kindi’ and it faces West, here at this temple all idols face west, which is unique in nature of a Hindu Temple Architecture! Another story goes that this temple was in control of Brahmins, who never allowed any lower caste folks into the temple. One commoner Kanakadasa an ardent believer of Shri Krishna was denied entry into the temple premises. Dejected he went behind the temple and prayed ardently and lo – his beloved Lord Krishna Idol turned away from the door and presented himself to Kanakadasa’s vision through a crack in the wall. This Divine Shri Krishna, till today stays that way! The Navagraha window is the only way one can pray reverance to the Lord Udupi Shri Krishna! There’s a dress code in entering a temple. Dhothi and Shailya for men, bare upper body. Women in traditional Indian wear only. Lungis, Shorts, Jeans, Skirts wearing public have no entry.
The Udupi Shri Krishna Temple is in a ‘Math’ or mutt complex and is ruled by Eight sub faiths in rotation for two years each. However the daily rituals and poojas are collectively done by all the eight sects. The cycle begins with Palimar Mutt and ends with Sri Pejawar Mutt. The process ritual of handing over the power of administration on every two year term is called – ‘Paryaya Festival’. The eight sub faith mutts are – Pejawar, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura.
This Temple totally runs on voluntary contributions and donations. The temple trust owned a lot of lands, but lost everything under the Land Reforms Act of 1975 which was brought in by the then Government of Karnataka! The Math wakes up at 4 am to the conch blowing sounds and drum beats after morning ablutions the Temple doors are open at 5 AM with the ringing of bells and other rituals, various poojas are conducted in succession through out the day and the temple closes it’s doors only at 10 PM. The highlight of the day is the Temple Meal served at 12 Noon, which is considered the ‘Prasad’. One can visit the temple between 5 AM to 10 PM. It takes about an hour of your time. To avoid crowds, keep away from weekends, holidays and auspicious days. The daily chariot ritual is not to be missed.
There are about 18 different ritualistic poojas through the day and 29 sevas one can offer as a devotee. For further details please contact the Temple Offices :
Sri Krishna Matha
Car Street, Udupi -576 101.
Karnataka, India.
Tel: 0820-2520598
Email: [email protected]

The website is elaborate and detailed. One can stay put in the Math premises or the temple town Udupi has a lot of hotels to suit every budget. There are enough public transport connecting the temple town or one can reach the neighbouring city, Mangalore. This city has an airport, railway station and bus station. Like I always say nothing like your own transport traversing these beautiful picturesque western ghats. Please do check currently the Shiradi Ghats are closed for reconstruction. This region is a Temple Tour Circuit. But Mangalore, Udupi, Bisile Ghats offer you respite from Divine Intervention. Avoid going around peak season, holidays or summer. Take a few days off to rekindle your body and soul.
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography

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