Udupi - Karnataka

Below is a summary of the Origin of the Punyakhetra Udupi as Extracted from Karnataka Tourism Website.


About 60 Kms from Mangalore 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. Sri Krishna Mutt, Udupi. The main 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. Lord Narayana, in his incarnation as Parasurama, after making twenty one assaults on the Kshatriyas and destroying them, performed a great yajna. In this yajna, he gave away all the land as gift to Brahmins. Finding that he was not left with any land for himself and reluctant to stay in the land already given away as gift, he reclaimed from the Arabian sea a strip of land from Gokarna to cape Comorin. This coastal strip of land, obtained by Parasurama from Varuna the Sea God, is known as Parasurama Kshetra or Parasurama's land. Ramaboja, a great devotee of Parasurama, was proclaimed king of this land. Intending to perform Ashwamedha yajna or horse sacrifice, Ramabhoja got the site for sacrificial fire ploughed up. While ploughing, a serpent got killed by the ploughshare. Although this serpent was nothing but a demon in disguise, Ramabhoja was greatly worried as it was a sin to kill a serpent. To atone this sin, he was directed by lord Parasurama to build a big silver pedestal with the image of a serpent at each of its four corners and to worship him who would be seated in spirit on the pedestal and also to distribute gold equal to his own weight to deserving persons. Ramabhoja did likewise and performed the Aswamedha yajna successfully. At its conclusion, Lord Parasurama appeared and declared that he was pleased with the yajna and that henceforth the sacrificial land 'Roopya Peetha' (silver pedestal) would become a famous pilgrimage. This land is also known as 'Thoulava' land and because Ramabhoja performed 'Tulabhara'. This in brief is the ancient history or the legend, of this land. This Roopya Peetha land is now known as Udupi. The name has been derived from the Moon. The moon was once cursed by Daksha Prajapati. To ward off his curse, the moon performed penance in propitiation of God Iswara in this forest land. Iswara was pleased, appeared before the moon and removed the evil effects of the curse. This place has since been known as Chandramuleeswar and there is an ancient temple of this name in this place. The actual spot where the moon performed penance is known as Abjaranya. There is a sacred tank Chandra-Pushkarani by its side. In Sanskrit, 'Udu' means stars; 'pa' means lord of. Hence 'Udupa' means lord of the stars, that is, moon. The place where the moon performed penance and obtained grace is known as Udupi.

UDUPI SRI KRISHNAIt 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. Lord Sri Krishna, Udupi.

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 one enters, on the right side is a tank called Madhwa Pushkarani. This tank has stone steps all round and a mantapam in the center.
Photo by Mythreyee.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mythreyee,
Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I found this HariVaayu blog of yours very interesting. I am always very curious to learn about our great saints and past.
My mother is from Pandharpur and as a child,I have spent all my summer vacations there. Have heard numerous stories of Sant Tukaram, etc from my Gramdma.
Very interesting stuff you have on this blog.

Sanctified Spaces said...

udupi and udupi cuisine holds a special place in my heart.I lived in Mysore..so I have visited udupi in my teens...