Krishna Temple, Udupi Overview
Krishna Temple, also known as the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in South India. This religious place is devoted to the worship of Lord Krishna and witnesses a huge surge of devotees throughout the year. A magnificent idol of Lord Krishna is installed in the temple which is adorned with precious jewels, gems, and a golden chariot.
Sri Krishna temple is also coined as the “Mathura of South India” and it is recognized for its exceptional worshipping pattern. The priests worship through a silver-plated window which has nine holes called the Navagraha Kit. The daily prayers begin at 4 a.m. with the sound of a conch shell. Udupi Anantheshwara Temple lies adjacent to Krishna Temple and both these temples are as old as 1000 years.
The temple has an aura of serenity and you will delve into the intricacies of spirituality as you explore the complex. It comprises of ashrams that portrays the daily life and devotion of the Bhakts. Krishna Temple is also the birthplace of Daasa Sahitya which is a form of Udupi literature. Its administration and offering activities are managed by eight mathas who are also called Ashta Mathagalu.
The temple is famous for its splendid celebration of various festivals such as Deepavali, Hanuman Jayanti, Ramanavami, Krishnashtami, the Paryaya festival (celebrated once in every two years), and Saptotsava or the Seven Utsavas (celebrated in the month of January).
More on Krishna Temple
History and Legends of Krishna Temple
There are several interesting fables behind the Udupi Krishna temple. Shri Madhwacharya, the Vaishnavite Jagadguru who is also a founder of Dvaita School of Vedanta built this temple during the 13th century.
Krishna idol is believed to be sculpted by a renowned architect, Vishwakarma and it was later recovered by Madhwacharya in an interesting manner. One day while completing his daily prayer on the shore of Malpe beach, Madhwacharya got to know that a ship was on the verge of wreckage due to bad weather. With his divine potentials, the saint saved the ship from sinking and in the process got hold of the idol of Krishna fully cloaked in the mud. The interesting thing about this temple is that unlike the usual placement of God’s idol facing east, the deity in the Krishna temple was placed facing west (Paschimabhimukha).
The Legend of the Kanaka Kindi or the Window of Kanakadasa is also an exciting story related to this temple. During the 16th century, a devotee of Lord Krishna, Kanaka, was not allowed to worship and offer his prayer at this temple. Consequently, as a manifestation of protest, he sat down for an intense devotion and prayer at the backside of the shrine. Impressed by his dedication, Lord Krishna made holes in the wall and turned the idol west so that Kanaka could worship him
The daily offerings and the administration of Krishna Temple are supervised by the eight monasteries which are also known as Astha Mathas. The Krishna Matha is popular across the world for its exceptional religious customs, traditions, and Dvaita literature. The eight mathas comprise of Puttige, Adamaru, Shirur Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Palimaru, Krishnapura, and Pejavara. The expenses of the temple are borne by the eight mathas and are also covered from the donations made by the visitors and devotees.
The architecture of Krishna Temple
The Kanakadasa window is a nine holed silver-plated window fixed at the one end of the wall of Chandrasala hall. The bells hanging from the arched entrance of the hall produces a transcendent ambience inside the room. The hall is dimly lit with the earthen lamps that exemplify spiritual feeling in the chamber. The devotees are not allowed to go near the idol of Lord Krishna, however, they are given an opportunity to ‘Darshan’ Krishna from the Kanakadasa window.
At one end of the hall, the statue Lord Hanumana sitting in his meditation posture is placed. A raised platform built over four pillars faces the Chandrasala hall. A sacred oil lamp stand or ‘joyti’ is fixed on this platform radiating light in all possible directions. The statue of the founder of the temple, Shri Madhvacharya is fixed to the right of the central area of the chamber and in the north lies the Lord Panduranga’s shrine.
On the eastern part of the temple, the Panchadhatu idol of Lord Vishnu is mounted on his Garuda holding conch and a disc. The eastern gate usually remains closed and opens only on Vijaya Dashmi. Madhwapushkarani, a holy reservoir of water, is located on the southern entrance of the temple.
Festivals Celebrated at the Udupi Krishna Temple
The Krishna Temple is well-known for celebrating festivals in a grandiose fashion. Do visit the temple during the festivals listed below:
1. Yugaadi (Ugadi)
Ugadi festival is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra maas which is also the New Year’s Day as per the lunar calendar. A lot of offerings are made in the form of coconuts, fruits, jewels, and a mirror. These offerings are placed in front of the deity of Lord Krishna on a night before the New Year. As the day breaks, the offerings are made as per the ritual of Kani Darshana. The head priest (swami) takes an oil bath while the other priests read Holy Scriptures. Later in the day, a grand feast is organized at Cauki.
On the special day of Ramanavami, the statue of Lord Krishna is festooned with bow and arrow instead of the usual rope and churning rod. At the noontime, the devotees are welcomed for prasadam and later in the night, special services arranged for the car festival. Furthermore, the festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy at Sri Palimar Mutt since the deity here is that of Lord Rama.
3. Akshaya Tritiya
During the month of Vaisakha, the third day of the fortnight embarks Lord Vishnu incarnation into Parashurama. Throughout this festival, the idol is adorned with an axe in the hand symbolizing its determined and heroic attitude. It coincides with the death anniversary of Sri Vijayadhvajacharya who was the sixth cardinal in the lineage of Sri Pejawar Mutt.
Vasantootsava is a spring festival that is celebrated between the Akshaya Tritiya and the full moon day in Vaisakha. The pooja during this festival used to take place in a mandapa situated in the sanctum sanctorum, however, now it is undertaken in the Vasanta Mahal.
5. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the fourth day of the fortnight in the lunar calendar month of Bhadrapada. Offerings and poojas are devoted to the Lord Ganesha. A beautiful idol of Ganesha is sculpted out from clay by professional artists.
The festival entails four daylong celebrations with great enthusiasm. After placing the idol at the center of the temple at an auspicious hour, the priests perform Ganahooma sacrifices and Ganesha is worshipped in the form of Vivambhara. After the pooja is completed, prasad is shared among the devotees. At the end of the four days of celebration, the idol is taken out in procession and then submerged in Sarovar.
Udupi Krishna Temple Dress Code
There is a strict dress code for both men and women visiting the temple. Men are required to be dressed in traditional mundu or typical pants and shirts. Lungi is not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum. Shorts and other modern outfits are not allowed. Women are required to be dressed in salwar-kameez, set-mundu, saree, or skirt and blouse. The women should have their below-knee covered or else entry to the temple would be denied.
Tips for Visiting Krishna Temple
1. Prasadam or lunch is offered at noon.
2. You should not miss the chariot rounds held every morning and evening.
3. Weekdays are less crowded so plan your trip during the same to avoid the rush.
4. Photography is prohibited inside the temple premises.
5. There is no provision for special darshan at this temple. There is a single queue for everyone.
How to Reach Krishna Temple
The temple is easily accessible via Udupi railway station which is situated at a distance of 3 km from the shrine. You can either take a cab or an auto to reach the Krishna Temple. Furthermore, you can reach Udupi from Mangalore through state buses, KSRTC, and private buses.