Udupi Krishna temple is one of the most magnificent temples in India. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Udupi Krishna temple is managed by the Krishna Matha established by Sri Madhvacharya in the 13th century. The idol of Krishna was found by Sri Madhvacharya in a ball of sandalwood! Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Udupi Krishna temple has a mysterious window which is the only means of looking at the deity. The temple is managed by a group of 8 Krishna Mathas, namely Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura. After satisfying the spiritual hunger, lunch can be had at Mitra Samaj, arguably the world's first Udupi restaurant.
The Krishna Temple at Udupi is open from 5am in the morning till 930 pm at night.
The daily schedule of morning pujas are Nirmalya Visarjana at 530 am, Ushakala puja at 6am, Akshyapatra Gopuja at 615am, Vishwaroopa darshana at 620am, Panchamritabhisheka at 630am, Udavartana puja at 7am, Kalasha puja at 730am, Teertha puja at 740am, Alankara puja at 830am, Avasara sanakadi puja at 1030 am and Mahapuja at 11am.
The evening Puja schedule is Chamara seva at 7 pm, Ratri puja at 730pm, Rangapuja at 740pm, Utsava at 8pm, Thottilu puja at 830pm, Kolalu seva at 840pm and Ekanta seva at 850pm.
Kediyoor hotel is in the city centre and a walk away from Krishna Temple. Double AC rooms are around Rs 2000 per night. Contact no is 0820 2522381.
Summer Park is another hotel near the temple. Non AC rooms cost Rs 800 while AC rooms are charged Rs 1200. Contact no is 0820 2535904
Udupi is located on the Konkan Railway and is directly connected to Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai by trains. Udupi is also well connected by daily buses from Mumbai, Bangalore and Mangalore. Infact there is a bus every 4 minutes from Mangalore to Udupi. The nearest airport is 60 Kms away at Baje which is connected by flight from Mumbai and Bangalore.
Bangalore to Udupi is a 8-9 hour drive. the route is scenic via Hassan, Sakleshpur and Mangalore. A good idea would be to leave the previous night and halt at Hassan over night. The journey is quite comfortable the next morning from Hassan to Udupi, if you start early.
The most fascinating aspect of Udupi Krishna temple is that the darshan of the deity if through a small window. This window is called Kanakana Kindi and has a legend behind it. During the early 16th century there Kanakadasa a famous poet, musician, philosopher and Krishna devotee had come to Udupi to visit the Krishna temple. However, Kanakadasa was denied entry into the temple owing to his low caste. Kanakadasa stayed in a hut facing the temple and prayed from outside the temple. He used to play Bhajan in praise of the Lord during the day using his Tamboora instrument. At nightfall, there was a tremor and a minor earth quake in Udupi. It left a crack in the temple walls, providing a perfect view of the deity to Kanakadasa. A window came up subsequently and it is this window from which pilgrims are allowed the darshan ever since. Kanakana kindi is decorated with the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. One gets to see the boy Krishna holding the churning rod and a rope, through 9 holes on the window.
The 2 best times to visit the temple are when the Nirmalya Puja and Maha Puja are being performed. To catch the Nirmalya puja of 530 am, it is advisable to enter the temple at 515 and take a seat. Live telecast of Tirumanjanam is also available on a screen at the hall. Maha puja is performed at 7pm and it is a good idea to enter the temple by 630. Unjal seva is also performed at this time.
The food served at the Temple is free and sumptuous. Make sure to be at the venue by 1230pm. On normal days, food continues to be served till 2pm.
Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with pomp and grandeur at Udupi Krishna temple. In a week long celebration, Men wear Tiger costumes called Huli Vesha and dance while children wear costumes of Krishna to take part in the Muddu Krishna competition where they play pranks from Krishna tales. Prominent artists visit Udupi during this time and paint Lord Krishna. The paintings are auctioned and proceeds are given to charity. Usually a Rangoli competition is held to involve the ladies of the town.
Mosaru Kudike is a fun activity held during Janmashtami. The idol of Krishna is taken out on the car street in a palanquin. Mud pots called Mosaru Kudike containing saffron water and turmeric are suspended from top of wooden poles. People dress up like cowherds, form a human pyramid and try to break the pot while the audience resists their efforts by pouring water on them.
Udupi Krishna temple is managed by 8 Mathas. The heads of each of the Mathas take turns and manage the temple for 2 years each. This ceremony of handing over the charge of the temple every 2 years is called Paryaya festival and is held in January attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over India.
A chariot festival is held during Makarasankranti which appears around January 15th every year. Idols of Krishna, Chandramouleswara and Ananteswara are carried in a procession around the car street.
Mitra Samaj is one of the oldest Udupi restaurants in the world. Probably the oldest. The items it is famous for are Goli Baje, Masala Dosa and Coffee. Goli Baje is a deep fried dish common in South Canara region. It is made of maida, curd, rice flour, chopped onion, coriander leaves, coconut, jeera, green chillies and salt.
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