Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A fascinating Udupi Sri Krishna Temple, Karnataka

              Main entrance Udupi Sri Krishna Temple            udipikrishnamutt.com                            

Udupi Krishna Temple is one of the famous temples in India and is about 60 kilometers from Mangalore, Karnataka. Udupi is a major station on the Konkan rail route and is well connected by road too. Upon seeing the front entrance of this historical temple one will be struck by its Kerala style of architecture with slanting roof.  Founded by the Vaishnavite Saint Sri Madhwacharya, Udupi Sri Krishna temple was built in the 13th century and the idol was installed by Sri Madhwacharya himself on the Makara Sankranthi day. Madhwacharya found the idol of Sri Krishna in a large lump of gopichandana (yellow clay used by Vaishnavites to wear their religious mark on their forehead, etc; in Tamil it is commonly  called Namam or Thirumun) 

 The idol of Shri Krishna installed at the Shri Krishna Temple is carved out of Shalagrama Shila.udupishiroormutt.in

Unlike other temples in India, a fascinating aspect of this holy shrine is, a  devotee can have darshan of Sri Krishna only through a window with nine holes called the "Navagraha Kindi" (Nava means nine; Kindi means window) and the window is elegantly carved and is silver plated. Udupi Sri Krishna appears to his devotees as Muddu Krishna, in child form. The temple has a large collection of gold Jewelry  including contributions from the emperors of Vijayanagara rulers, Mysore Maharajah, et al.

There is a legend behind the presence of ''Navagraha Kindi'' for darshan. An ardent  devotee of  the Lord, one Kanakadasa  offered his worship only through the Kanakanakindi, the reason being he  belonged to a low caste and was not allowed inside the temple premises owing to his caste.Undeterred, Kanakadasa  lived just  behind the temple to serve Sri Krishna  from outside the temple. One night the temple wall collapsed  accidentally and this enabled  Kanakadasa  to get a darshan of his Lord. Further, it is believed that Sri Krishna himself turned his face in such a way, that Kanakadasa could get his darshan. As for this ardent devotee, a long-cherished ambition had been fulfilled by the lord himself, a privilege that people of higher caste could not get. This incident implies that to the almighty, He treats all this devotees equally, regardless of caste, color and creed

Likewise, a similar incidence took place at the famous Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu centuries ago where a true devotee of Sri Nataraja one Nandanar, who belonged to supposedly the low caste, was allowed inside the great Shiva temple. Nandanar was unable to see the lord because of the presence of Nandhi (Bull) midway before the main shrine. It is believed, the lord himself moved the Nandi to the side so that Nandanar could see him comfortably.

The Sri Krishna temple has simple entrance with no imposing tower. On the right side is the beautiful temple tank called the "Madhwa Sarovara." When you enter the temple, you can not go near the sanctum Sanctorum and all devotees are allowed to view the Lord one by one through the small windows. You will be enthralled by the bejeweled Sri Krisha, who stands elegantly like a mischievous kid - in Bala roopa. Lord Krishna holds a churning rod (he is fond of butter churned from the butter milk) in his right hand and a rope in his left hand. The oil lamps  inside the sanctum are said to have been lit by the saint Sri Madhwacharya himself, centuries ago and still they are kept going with utmost care.

There are many ''Salas'' for temple rituals in  the Pragaram or corridor around the temple; the two important ones are Anuyaaga Sala where offerings  are made to the Fire God when puja is being offered to the main deity and Surya Sala, where Pandits  recite mantras. Free food is served in the temple for all devotees.
Rebuilt Brahma Ratha dedicated to Lord Krishna during Mooru Theru Utsava.tulunadunews.com
With respect to temple administration, pooja rituals etc, this holy shrine differs from other Hindu temples managed by Maths. Sri Madhwacharya, the founder of  Vashistath Dhuvaidha, among his numerous disciples, had nominated eight direct disciples to serve the  Sri Krishna temple at Udupi and continue his tradition of worship and kaingarya. These eight disciples established  eight different Maths  collectively  called Sri Krishna Math or Madam. They are  Pejawara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kanivooru, Shirur and Krishnapura maths. These eight maths  and the respective  Acharyas (Chief saint) take care of the temple administration, pooja protocol, etc every two  years by rotation. There is no compromise on the nature of conduct of pujas and temple rituals by them. Once in two years, on the 18th of January, transfer of Krishna puja takes place; the ceremony is celebrated  with pomp and is called 'Paryayothsava' that attracts thousands of people from all over Karnataka and other states.

Several ceremonies are performed throughout the day in the form of Sevas or pujas. Offerings for Lord Krishna begin from 5 in the morning with the Nirmalya Visarjana and ends with the Ekantaseva at night. Sapthothsava - another special ceremony is celebrated for seven days, the event concludes on the 8 th day with thousands of devotees witnessing the Churnothsava. The golden chariot for Lord Sri Krishna is yet another major attraction in Udupi

 Important festivals celebrated here include Sri Madhwa Navami, Sri Rama Navami, Narasimha Jayanthi, Chaturmasa, Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navarathri, Deepavali, Sashti, Dhanupuja, etc.

It is believed that the Madhavacharaya got the idol of  Muddu Bala Krishna hidden in a big lump of Gopichandana (a big lump of sandalwood paste) from the  sailors of a merchant ship sailed from Dwaraka, whom he saved when they were caught in a tempest off the coast of Udupi. The sailors thought it was nothing but a lump of clay and used it as a ballast to balance the ship. Now the sailors realized why the Acharya did not ask for money and why he wanted a lump of clay from them!!