Temple Name – Sri Krishna Temple
Main deity – Lord Krishna
Location – Udupi, Karnataka, India
Located in Udupi, Karnataka, the Sri Krishna Temple is also known as the Sri Krishna Mutt. It is believed that the lighted lamp in front of Lord Krishna, in the Sri Krishna Temple, has been incessantly burning for almost 700 years. The ambience of the Sri Krishna Temple resembles an ashram, where devotees experience divine aura. Sri Madhavacharya was also headquartered in Udupi, from where he propagated the Dvaita Philosophy.
Lord Krishna is the principal deity of the Sri Krishna Temple. In this temple, Lord Krishna is portrayed in over fifty different forms, through different dresses. A diamond crown, worth over a crore, adorns the deity of Lord Krishna. It is widely believed that Lord Krishna himself had created the deity from a Shila-grama, with the assistance of Vishwakarma. The deity is also known as Bala Krishna. Sri Madhavacharya established the tradition of worshipping the deity fourteen times in a day.
Besides the deity of Lord Krishna, there are also deities of Garuda and Hanuman, on either side of the temple interior. It is believed that the deities belonged to Ayodhya and were brought to the temple by Vadiraja Tirtha.
As per archaeological evidence, it is believed that the Sri Krishna Temple was built during the 13th Century. In the nearby area, a temple of Mahishasuramardini was discovered and it precedes the construction of the Sri Krishna Temple. Both Ananthrama Upadhya, the Managing Trustee of the Sri Krishna Temple and Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala have played a pivotal role in the promotion and development of the temples in the area.
As per the account of Sri Raghuvarya Thirtha, the Mathadeesha, the ship carrying the statue fell into a storm and crashed onto a rock. The statue sunk in the bottom of the ocean along with the other cargo. One day, while meditating Sri Madhavacharya experienced a vision and along with his disciples travelled to Malpe to retrieve the statue. After retrieving it from the ocean, Sri Madhavacharya immersed the statue in a pond. Later the statue was removed from the pond and placed in the sanctum of the mutt. The Mutt was later named as known as the Sri Krishna Temple and the pond was named as Madhva Sarovar.
Later, the temple went on to become a hub for the dissemination of Dvaita Philosophy. The temple is administered by a group of eight Mutts (hermitage) and subsequently, the responsibility is passed on to the next group of Mutts. This process of handing over administrative responsibility is known as Paryaya. The Mutts are the descendants of the eight disciples of Sri Madhavacharya. The main administrative building of the temple is known as Badagu Maalige.
As per one of the numerous legends associated with the temple, the idol of child Krishna was initially worshipped by Rukmini, the spouse of Lord Krishna. After the demise of Lord Krishna, the idol was enveloped by sandal wood paste or Gopichandana. Later, a sailor had retrieved the idol, mistaking it for sandalwood timber. His ship got stuck in the port of Malpe and was later recovered by Sri Madhavacharya, who had learned about the divine idol and the plight of the ship through his yogic powers. The sailor gifted the idol to Sri Madhavacharya, still unaware about its significance.
As per another legend, Sri Kanakadasa, an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, was denied access to the temple owing to his lower caste. Anguished by the event, he fervently prayed to Lord Krishna seeking his darshan. Suddenly, a crack appeared in the posterior wall of the temple, thus enabling Kanakadasa to have the darshan. The small window was later known as Kanakanakhindi and is the main access point for devotees.
The two temples adjacent to the Sri Krishna Temple associated with it are as follows:
- Sri Chandra Mouleswara Temple: The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and owing to him being worshipped by Chandra, the Moon God, the deity in the temple is known as Chandramouleeshwara. The Swayambhu Linga housed in the temple changes its color thrice during the day i.e. black, blue and white. The tank in the temple is also known as Chandra Pushkarini or Madhwa Sarovar.
- Lord Ananteshwara Temple: The temple is dedicated to Sage Parasurama in the form of a Linga Swarupa. A 40 feet high Deepa Stambha is located outside the shrine.
Udupi is of immense cultural significance owing to the fact that the city hosts numerous temples and hence is also known as the Temple City. The city was also the seat of the famous Madhva Renaissance. The city is also widely recognized as the land of exquisite delicacies.
Built in accordance with the Kerala style of architecture, Sri Krishna Temple’s main door is fully gold plated and has exquisite carvings on it. On the top of this door, lies the idol of Maha Vishnu resting upon the Adi Shesha (or the serpent God) along with Goddess Lakshmi, his consort. The idol of Lord Krishna is richly embellished and endears all the devotees. The other main features of the Sri Krishna Temple are as follows:
- The shrines of Garuda and Hanuman are present in the temple complex. The shrine of Lord Hanuman is also known as Mukhyapraana.
- The Navagraha Kitiki provides the devotees with visible accessibility of the idol. This window has nine square holes in it.
- The Kanakanakhindi provides access to the idol and enables darshan of the Lord for the devotees. As per legend, this came into existence by the blessings of Lord Krishna, as he enabled his darshan to Kanakadasa (since he was denied access to the temple premises owing to him being from the lower castes).
- The shrine of Sri Madhavacharya is dedicated to the great yogi, as he had retrieved the idol of Lord Krishna from a sailor and established it in the temple. The idol of Sri Madhavacharya depicts the mudras of knowledge and fearlessness in his hands.
- Located behind the main shrine, the Madhava Sarovar is a tank dedicated to Sri Madhavacharya. The tank hosts a beautiful mandapa in its middle and all the Swamijis takes a bath in this tank before commencing worship.
- Sri Madhavacharya had garnered the support of eight disciples to propagate and promote the worship of Lord Krishna and to manage the administrative affairs of the Krishna Mutt in Udupi. These disciples further garnered the support of more disciples and were able to establish their own Mathams in the adjacent villages. These Mathams were later known as the Astha Mathas or the Eight Mutts of Udupi. The mutts were named as Sri Palimar Mutt, Sri Pejavar Mutt, Sri Admar Mutt, Sri Kaniyoor Mutt, Sri Krishnapur Mutt, Sri Sode Mutt, Sri Sirur Mutt and the Sri Puttige Mutt respectively.
- The Annadhanam is a feast organized by the temple for the devotees in the Bhojana Shala of the temple. The deity in the small shrine of Mukhyapraana, which hosts the Bhojana Shala, is known as Bhojana Shale Hanumanta and the food is first offered to the deity before being served to the devotees.
The major festivals celebrated in the Sri Krishna Temple are as follows:
- Makara Sankranthi
- Ratha Sapthami
- Madhva Navami
- Hanuma Jayanthi
- Navarathri Mahotsava
- Naraka Chathurdashi
- Geetha Jayanti
- Paryaya Festival (celebrated every two years)
Address & Contact Details
Sri Krishna Math
Jagadguru Shri Madhwacharya Moola Mahasamstana
UDUPI – 576101
Karnataka – INDIA
Ph: 91-8252-20598, 23402