Friday, June 21, 2024

Udupi Sri Krishna Temple – A Spiritual Haven in South India

Udupi Sri Krishna Temple is located in the town of Udupi in the southwestern state of Karnataka, India, the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple stands as a timeless symbol of devotion and spirituality.

Renowned for its rich heritage, architectural splendor, and religious significance, the temple is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus and attracts countless devotees from far and wide.

Thousands of pious devotees throng the Krishna temple all round the year to catch a glimpse of Lord Krishna.

History and Legend of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple

The history of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple dates back to the 13th century when it was established by Sri Madhvacharya, a renowned saint, philosopher, and the founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta philosophy.

Sri Madhvacharya is believed to have discovered a sacred idol of Lord Krishna in a forest near the town of Udupi.

According to legend, the idol of Lord Krishna was originally worshipped by Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe. Lord Brahma handed over the idol to Lord Krishna’s son, Samba.

Centuries later, during the Dvapara Yuga, the idol was found by Sri Madhvacharya. Recognizing its divine significance, he installed the idol in Udupi and established the temple.

Under the guidance of Sri Madhvacharya, the temple gained prominence as a center for spiritual enlightenment and the propagation of the Dvaita philosophy.

Sri Madhvacharya’s disciples and successors, known as Mathadhipatis, played a crucial role in the development and administration of the temple.

Over the centuries, the temple went through several transformations and renovations. It gained patronage from various dynasties, including the Vijayanagara Empire, the Keladi Nayakas, and the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore.

Their support contributed to the expansion and enhancement of the temple’s architecture and facilities.

The distinctive rituals and practices followed in the temple were established by Sri Madhvacharya himself. The temple follows the “Ashtamana Seva” tradition, which involves eight daily rituals and offerings to Lord Krishna.

The administration of the temple is governed by the “Paryaya” system, where the responsibility of managing the temple is handed over to different Swamijis in a cyclical manner.

The temple has witnessed various historical events and legends. One such significant event is the story of Kanakadasa, a saint and devotee of Lord Krishna. It is believed that Kanakadasa, who belonged to a lower caste, was not allowed to enter the temple through the main entrance.

However, Lord Krishna, pleased by Kanakadasa’s devotion, turned the wall of the temple to grant him a direct view of the idol, creating a small window known as the “Kanakana Kindi.” This incident symbolizes the egalitarian nature of devotion in the eyes of the deity.

Quick Facts

  • Address:  Car Street, Thenkpete, Maruthi Veethika, Udupi, Karnataka – 576101
  • District: Udupi
  • Affiliation: Hinduism
  • Deity: Lord Balkrishna (child form of Lord Krishna)
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: 4 AM – 8:45 PM
  • Visit Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Dress Code: decent outfit recommended
  • Festivals: Laksha Deepotsava, Krishna Leelotsava, Vasantotsava, Laksha Deepotsava
  • Best Time to Visit: August to September

Religious Significance

Udupi Sri Krishna Temple holds immense religious significance for followers of Vaishnavism, a sect of Hinduism that worships Lord Vishnu and his incarnations, especially Lord Krishna.

The temple is considered one of the seven sacred places of pilgrimage in Karnataka, known as the “Sapta Kshetras.”

Devotees believe that a visit to the temple and seeking the blessings of Udupi Krishna bestows spiritual enlightenment and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

ALSO READ: Someshwara Temple

Architecture of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple

Architecture of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple

The 9-holed window, also known as the Kanakadasa window, is attached to a wall in the Chandrasala hall. The hall lends itself a sublime ambience in aid of the holy sound made by numerous bells hanging at its arched entrance, as well as the beautiful glow of the earthen lamps burning in the hall.

Devotees either sit there in meditation saying silent prayers or try to peep through the 9-holed window to get a glimpse of the Lord. One corner of the hall holds the shrine of Lord Hanuman in a meditative pose.

Overlooking the Chandrasala hall is a four-pillared raised platform with a silver roof. The platform houses the traditional deepastambam, holding the sacred oil lamp.

On the right side of the main sanctum in the path of circumambulation stands the statue of the temple’s founder Shri Madhvacharya, while on the northern side of his statue stands the shrine of Lord Panduranga.

The holy tank Madhwapushkarani is placed next to the southern entrance of the temple. The eastern entrance to Shri Balkrishna’s sanctum sanctorum is strikingly beautiful flanked by a panchadhatu (5 metals) figure of Lord Vishnu mounted on his Garuda holding conch and discus.

The eastern entrance usually remains closed and is open only once a year on the day of Vijaya Dashami.

Temple Rituals and Practices

One of the distinctive aspects of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple is its daily worship and offering of food to the deity, known as Annadanam.

The temple follows a strict code of conduct called “Ashtamana Seva,” where the idol is adorned with different decorations and offered various delicacies throughout the day.

The famous “Paryaya” system is also observed, where the administration of the temple is handed over to different religious leaders, known as “Swamijis,” in rotation every two years.

Krishna Leela and Festivals

The temple is renowned for its depiction of Krishna’s divine plays, known as “Krishna Leela.” Devotees can witness these enactments, which narrate stories from Krishna’s life, during various festivals and special occasions.

The grandest festival celebrated at the temple is “Krishna Janmashtami,” the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, attracting a massive gathering of devotees who participate in devotional singing, processions, and rituals.

ALSO READ: Adi Kumbeshwarar Temple – History, Architecture, Entry Fees

How To Reach Udupi Sri Krishna Temple?

By Air

The nearest airport to Udupi is Mangalore International Airport, located approximately 60 kilometers away.

From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Udupi. The journey by road from Mangalore to Udupi takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.

By Train

Udupi has its own railway station, Udupi Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in India. Several trains, including express and passenger trains, operate to and from Udupi.

Once you reach Udupi Railway Station, the temple is just a short distance away and can be easily reached by an auto-rickshaw or taxi.

By Road

Udupi is well-connected by road networks, and buses operated by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private operators regularly ply to and from Udupi.

You can find buses from major cities in Karnataka and neighboring states to Udupi. The town is located on National Highway 66, making it easily accessible by road.

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