Sacred Sojourns in Udupi: Discovering the City’s Hidden Charms
"Udupi: A Sacred Abode of Sri Krishna's Divine Grace"
In the serene town of Udupi, the revered Sri Krishna Udupi Temple stands as a testament to the divine play of Lord Sri Krishna. Founded by Sri Madhvacarya, a great Vaishnava saint and proponent of the Dvaita philosophy of Vedanta, this temple holds deep spiritual significance. Adjacent to Udupi lies the quaint village of Pajaka Ksetra, the birthplace of Sri Madhvacarya himself. This region, often referred to as Parasurama Ksetra, is immersed in a rich tapestry of ancient history and devotion.
The name ‘Udupi’ draws its meaning from the moon, symbolizing the divine presence that graced this land when the moon god, Chandra, sought solace from a curse through worshiping Lord Mahadev. The temple’s origins date back to ancient times, standing as a testament to its timeless spiritual heritage.
Notably, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also graced Udupi with His divine presence, as recorded in the sacred texts. The town has long been revered as a center of Vedic scholarship, attracting pilgrims from across South India to seek its spiritual sanctity and visit the ancient temples of Sri Ananteshvara and Sri Candramauleshvara.
Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the divine aura of Udupi, where history, spirituality, and devotion intertwine to create a sacred haven for seekers of truth. Discover the enchanting tales and timeless wisdom that continue to resonate within the heart of this holy town.
1. Sri Krishna Matha Temple
The Sri Krishna Matha temple in Udupi is adorned with a unique and mesmerizing feature – the Navagraha Kindi, a window with nine intricately carved holes, plated in silver. Remarkably, the Lord is worshipped exclusively through this window, following a cherished tradition.
The credit for the cherished tradition of worshipping Lord Krishna through the window goes to the great devotee Kanakadasa. In the 16th century, Kanakadasa, filled with unwavering devotion for Lord Sri Krishna, sought to worship the Deity within the temple. However, he faced the unfortunate restriction imposed by societal norms of that era, which allowed only those from higher castes to enter the temple premises. Undeterred, Kanakadasa turned to the side of the temple and poured his heart out in fervent prayers.
In response to his pure love and dedication, Lord Krishna graciously shifted His divine form, aligning Himself with Kanakadasa’s view, and even caused the temple wall to crack, creating a few openings through which Kanakadasa could behold the beloved Deity. This divine reciprocation touched the hearts of countless devotees, and the place came to be known as Kanakakhindi, symbolizing the loving exchange between the Lord and His devotee.
Even today, this sacred tradition persists, as pilgrims first approach Kanakakhindi to catch a glimpse of the cherished Deity before entering the temple for a closer darshan.
2. Sri Chandramouleshwara Temple
According to ancient legend, a captivating tale of divine redemption unfolded in Udupi, centering around the Moon God, Chandra. Prajapati Daksha’s curse had diminished the moon’s radiant light, leaving it in a state of darkness. In the company of his devoted wives, Chandra fervently prayed at the Chandramouleshvar temple in Udupi, crafting a sacred linga during their prayers
Pleased by their sincere penance, Lord Shiva manifested Himself, granting respite to Chandra from the curse and restoring his luminous shine. The temple dedicated to this divine episode was named Chandramouleshvar.
This temple houses a Swayambu linga that gracefully changes colors thrice throughout the day. As the sun progresses, the linga transitions from black in the morning, to blue at noon, and finally to white at night, encapsulating the mystical aura of this divine site.
The etymology of the name “Udupi” finds its roots in Sanskrit, where “Udu” signifies stars and “Pa” signifies lord, denoting the Moon God. Thus, “Udupa” translates to “lord of the stars,” a beautiful reference to Chandra. The place where Chandra sought divine grace and redemption came to be known as Udupi, forever commemorating the sacred penance of the Moon God.
3. Sri Anantheshwar Temple
Nestled within the sacred realms of Udupi is a unique Vishnu temple, where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of a Siva lingam. This divine abode holds a profound significance, for it was here that the fervent prayers of Sri Madhvacharya’s parents, known as NADILLAYAs, resounded with devotion for twelve long years, seeking the blessing of a child. Their unwavering penance bore fruit, and the illustrious Acharya was born, gracing the world with his wisdom and teachings.
This temple also holds a cherished place in the heart of ACHYUTA PRAJNA, the revered ascetic, who played a pivotal role in initiating Madhvacharya into the ascetic order. Amidst the sanctity of this sacred temple, Madhvacharya himself held enlightening philosophical discourses, enlightening seekers with profound wisdom and divine insights.
As time embraced its eternal course, Madhvacharya, at the age of seventy-nine, stood in this very temple, passionately narrating his spiritual wisdom to earnest devotees. In a mystical turn of events, his earthly form disappeared from mortal sight, transcending to the divine realm of Badrikashrama. As his garland gently descended, Madhvacharya had foretold this remarkable moment, for his physical presence may have left Udupi, yet his divine spirit and wisdom would forever remain, gracing this sacred land with his eternal blessings.
4. Sri Vadabhandeshwara Balarama Temple
The Sri Vadabhandeshwara Balarama Temple is a divine abode dedicated to Lord Balarama, which is located on the picturesque Malpe Beach in Udupi. What makes this temple truly unique is the divine interaction between Lord Vadabhandeshwara and Udupi Sri Krishna – they face each other directly, creating a sacred and harmonious ambiance. Sri Madhvacarya, in his divine mission, consecrated the Deity of Lord Vadabhandeshwara here. Interestingly, the Deities of Krishna and Balarama were found completely covered in Gopi chandan by the sailors of a ship rescued by Sri Madhvacarya from a shipwreck off the coast of Malpe beach. As the Deity of Lord Balarama landed on the beach, it became evident that the Lord desired to be consecrated at that very spot, marking the beginning of the sacred Sri Vadabhandeshwara Balarama Temple.
5. Sri Pajaka Ksetra
The sacred land of Pajaka Ksetra, located just 12 km from Udupi, resonates with the divine presence of the great philosopher-saint, Sripad Madhvacarya. Imbued with historical significance, Pajaka Ksetra bears witness to the childhood pastimes and spiritual endeavors of the illustrious Madhvacarya. It was in this very place that Lord Parasurama, the legendary wielder of the divine axe, created four sacred ponds – Gadathirtha, Parashuthirtha, Banathirtha, and Dhanushthirtha – each carrying profound spiritual significance.
Embracing the ascetic path at the tender age of 16, Sripad Madhvacarya embarked on an extraordinary journey across the country with his devoted disciples. His unwavering devotion and profound scholarship earned him the endearing title of “third incarnation of Lord Vayu,” following the divine footsteps of Hanuman and Bhima. Madhvacarya’s spiritual quests took him to the majestic Himalayas, where he sought the guidance of his esteemed Guru, the divine sage Srila Vedavyasa. In reverence to his Guru’s teachings, he authored 37 significant works, encompassing profound commentaries on Brahmasutras, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and various philosophical subjects. The cornerstone of his Dvaita philosophy lies in the eternal distinction between the Supreme Lord and the individual soul, attaining salvation through pure devotion – the timeless path to eternal bliss.
In a poignant moment during a discourse on Aitareya Upanishad at the sacred grounds of Ananteshwara temple, the great Acharya gracefully merged into the eternal realm in 1317 A.D., leaving behind an indelible legacy that continues to inspire generations to this day. Pajaka Ksetra, with its rich tapestry of spiritual significance, serves as a living testament to the profound contributions and divine presence of Sripad Madhvacarya, forever illuminating the path of spiritual seekers with the light of wisdom and devotion.
6. Sri Parasurama Ksetra
In the timeless pages of Bhagavat Purana and other sacred Puranas, we find the divine advent of Lord Krishna, who, in His sixth incarnation as Parasurama, graced the world as a benevolent Brahmana-Ksatriya. Witnessing the pervasive egoism, selfishness, and corruption among power-hungry leaders, the compassionate Lord embarked on a noble mission to cleanse the world of these afflictions. For an astonishing 21 generations, He fearlessly fought against corruption, ultimately conquering the world for the welfare of all beings. Astonishingly, He selflessly bestowed the entire conquered realm, along with its vast riches, to the Brahmanas led by the illustrious Kashyapa Muni, holding nothing for Himself. Yet, in His heart, He cherished a desire to find a serene abode to immerse Himself in devotion.
With unwavering devotion, the divine Parasurama sought a place for His sacred bhajan. In an awe-inspiring display of His transcendental potency, He shot an arrow imbued with a potent mantra, and as the arrow pierced through the sea, an astonishing transformation occurred. The vast ocean yielded to the divine will, and a new land emerged from Kanyakumari to the Rambi area of Gokarna – a vast expanse where He could establish His divine presence. This magnificent land of Udupi became His cherished abode, a realm untouched by what He had previously bestowed to the world.
In this ancient town of Udupi, resided two sacred temples, each holding profound spiritual significance. The enchanting Ananteshwar murti, appearing as Lord Siva, was, in truth, the divine manifestation of Lord Vishnu Himself. This temple stood as a testimony to the Lord’s loving reciprocation with His devotees. Nearby, the revered Chandramauleshwar temple held a sanctified place where Chandra, the presiding lord of the moon planet, performed intense tapasya and devoutly worshipped Lord Siva. In His boundless compassion, Lord Siva graced Chandra with His divine presence in the form of the Siva lingam, showering blessings upon him and the world.
🌄 Join us for the Sacred Udupi Yatra!
🗓️ Date: 28th Dec - 31st Dec, 2023
🏞️ Location: Udupi, Karnataka
Don't miss this incredible opportunity to explore the spiritual treasures of Udupi, bask in the Lord's divine presence, and witness the enchanting Udupi Sri Krishna Matha.
Learn more & pre-register for Yatra here.