Sri Krishna Temple, Udupi

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A well-known abode of Lord Krishna in Karnataka. The temple is consecrated by Sri. Madavacharya-the proponent of “Dvaita” philosophy in the 13th century.

The Legend is that the idol of little Lord Krishna of this temple came from Dwaraka. The story goes like this; a sailor, somehow, got possession of an idol of Lord Krishna from Dwaraka when it was flooded with the sea water, after the demise of Lord Krishna. The idol was fully covered by Gopichandana (sandal wood paste).

The sailor mistook it as sandalwood timber. So he carried it to South India on his ship for sale. But, when the ship reached the Western coast near Malpe (in present Karnataka) the ship got stuck there.

Meanwhile, Sri Madhavacharya learned the plight of this ship by his yogic power. He reached Malpe, rescued the ship from sinking. The grateful captain of the ship offered anything on this ship to the Acharya as a thinks giving.

The Acharya asked for the sandalwood timber on the ship, knowing that it is not a timber but a sacred Lord Krishna idol. The captain gracefully gave that ‘timber’ (Krishna idol) to Sri. Madhavacharya, Subsequently, the Acharya installed it in the present day Udupi Krishna temple.

From there on, the temple became a centre of Dvaita philosophy and also a well-known Vaishnavite centre. Presently the administration of the temple is made by a group of Eight Ma thas (hermitage). They are the descendants of the eight original disciples of Sri Madhavacharya. Once in two years, the heads of these eight Mathas passes the administration of the temple to the next matha in succession. This practice, known as ‘Paryaya’, continues even now.

The darshan of Lord Krishna is done trough a small-window. There is an interesting story behind this practice. Sri Kanakadasa, a devotee of Lord Krishna, was not allowed entry to the temple as he belongs to a lower caste. Pained by this insult, he fervently prayed Lord Krishna. Legend tells us that, suddenly there was a crack on the temple wall before Kanakadasa which allowed Kanakadasa to gaze the idol of Lord Krishna at sanctum sanctorum from the back side of the temple. The small window that appeared before Kanakadasa is now known as ‘Kanakanakhindi’. Devotees still worship Lord Krishna through this window.

The two temples adjacent to Lord Krishna temple deserve special mention here. One is Sri. Chandra Mouleswara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is opposite to Lord Krishna temple and the other is Ananteswara temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, by the side of Lord Krishna temple. Anantheswara temple has a Parasuram shrine.

It is believed, both these temples are older to Lord Krishna temple in existence and closely associated with the Lord Krishna temple.

Udupi is about 70 Kilometers from Mangalore.


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