Udupi is a divine shrine in the coastal region of Western Ghats. Situated about 60 kms from Mangalore, it is a fairly large and upcoming town that was sanctum of Madhvacharya, the great Sanskrit Philosopher. The famous temple here, has a fascinating idol of Lord Krishna that is richly adorned with jewels. It is the center for education, social and religious activities in the district of South Canara. It is known for the famous Sri Krishna temple. The reasons for its fame are the statue of Sri Krishna installed by the great saint Sri Madhvacharya and the penance and influence of Sri Vaadiraja yathivarenya. Another attraction of this temple is the ‘Kanakana Kindi’ -a small window through which Krishna is believed to have given darshan to his ardent devotee, Kanakadasa.There are three temples in Udupi; Chandreshwara, Anantheshwara and Sri Krishna temple. Chandreshwara and Anatheshwara are the most ancient temples of Udupi.
Popular belief is that King RamaBhoja, an ardent follower of Parashurama installed the statue of Anantheshwara. Chandreshwara temple was built in the spot where Chandra (the moon) performed a penance, to get rid of the curse of Daksha Prajapathi. The place where Chandra meditated got to be called as Udupi. (Udu = a star and pa = follower) The usual practice in Udupi is to visit Chandreswara, Anantheshwara temples and then visit Sri Krishna temple. There are many interesting stories behind the installation of statue of Sri Krishna at Udupi.
It is believed that the idol of Sri Krishna, installed in Udupi by Sri Madhvacharya, was got made by Sri Krishna himself by Viswakarma out of Saligrama stone. Towards the end of Dwapara yuga, Devaki felt a keen desire to see once again Krishna’s balaleelas. These leelas which were enacted by Krishna for the benefit of his mother were also witnessed incognito by his wife Rukmini, who falling in love with this balaroopa requested him to get her a similar image for her daily worship. Thereupon Sri Krishna asked Viswakarma to make such an idol of Balakrishna with a churn in its right hand and a cord in the other. This idol was daily worshipped by Rukmini. After Sri Krishna’s disappearance from this world, the idol fell into the hands of Arjuna, who hid it in Rukmini’s garden. By lapse of time the idol got completely covered by gopichandanam. A sailor from Dwaraka loaded this heavy lump in his boat as ballast, in one of his trips along the west coast. Sri Madhvacharya, sensing this by his ‘Aparoksha’ or divine gnana, awaited the arrival of this precious ballast at Vadabhandeswar, a seashore spot near Udupi. When the boat approached that place it was caught by severe storm and was about to sink.
The captain of the boat, seeing a holy man on the sea shore entreated him to save him from disaster. Sri Madhvacharya waved his upper cloth and quieted the storm. The grateful captain offered all the riches in his boat to the Acharaya but he accepted from out of the lot only the lump of ‘gopichandana’ which was used as ballast. On breaking this, Sri Acharya found the beautiful and perfect idol of Sri Krishna. He carried the idol to Udupi, a distance of four miles, singing the praise of Lord Narayana in ecstasy. These hymns under twelve chapters are called ” Dwadasa Stotra”. He washed the idol of Sri Krishna in Madhwa Sarovara and installed it in the temple nearby and started worshipping it. These poojas have been going on since then even to this day in unbroken continuity. Since Sri Madhwacharya’s time, these poojas are being conducted by his disciples who are all ‘balasanayasis’. The right of touching and worshipping this idol rests with the pontiff of these eight mutts only who are the spiritual descendants of Sri Madhvacharya. No one else is permitted to touch the idol.
Udupi is famous for its Sri Krishna Mutt which though small is quite beautiful.There is no front door for this mutt. Instead there is a small window through which one could always get the darshana of the idol from outside the mutt. In front of the window there is a small ‘gopuram’. The main entrance to the mutt is on the southern side. As on enters, on the right side is a tank called Madhwa Pushkarani. This tank has stone steps all round and a mantapam in the center.
Places of Interest
Kadri Manjunath Temple – Kadri is another ancient historic spot in Mangalore. The Kadri Temple dating back to about 1068 A.D. with its nine tanks, its square temple, nestling at thefoot of the highest hill, draws to Mangalore hundreds of visitors annually.The Lokeshwara bronze statue of the Kadri Manjunatha Temple is tipped to be the best bronze statue in India. On top of the hill King Kundavarma Bupendra built a mutt which came to be called ‘Jogimutt’. There are some stone caves on top of the hill which are known as the caves of the Pandavas.It is situated 4 Km. away from Nehru Maidan Bus Stand. The idol of Lord Manjunathaswamy of the temple is called as oldest of the South Indian Temples. The seven sacred ponds, Jogi Mutt and caves of Pandavas are the pilgrim attractions here.
Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple – Sri Sharavu Sharabeshwara Mahaganapathy Kshetra is an outstanding, pious centre of great illustrious history of marathon 800 years.
Mangaladevi Temple – The ancient Mangaladevi temple is in Bolar, 3 kms from Mangalore city bus stand. According to the legend, the name “Mangalore”, originated from the Goddess Mangaladevi who is enshrined in this temple, built in the tenth century.
Kudroli Gokarnath Temple – situated 3 Km. from main Nehru Maidan Bus Stand, this temple has been renovated and now it is one of the major tourist attractions in Mangalore.
Getting there and Around
By Air – Mangalore is the nearest airport.
By Rail – Mangalore is the nearest railhead
By Road – Mangalore (60 Kms), Manipal (6 Kms) Malpe (10 Kms)
Number of tourists and pilgrims come to Udupi through out the year. For this huge number of tourists there are number of hotels which offer comfortable accommodation facility. These hotels are Karavali Hotel, Hotel Durga International, Hotel Rukmini Residency, Mother Palace, Hotel Sharda International, etc.