Udupi is first among the seven places of pilgrimages. Thousands of pious devotees throng the Krishna temple all round the year to catch a glimpse of Lord Krishna. The unique feature of Shree Krishna Mutt temple is that the Lord is worshipped only through a window with nine holes called the Navagraha Kitiki. The window is exquisitely carved and silver - plated. It has been a tradition in this temple to worship the Lord only through this window. Read on to know more about the temple, the legends, the pujas & rituals and the festivals celebrated.
Udupi 60 Kms north of Mangalore is the seat of Lord Krishna, considered to be one of the holiest places for pilgrimage in southern India. Here there is a holy temple of Sri Krishna and this is the birthplace of Sri Madhwacharya, founder of Dwaita Philosophy and one of the three great Acharyas, he is reputed to have discovered the idol of Shri Krishna from a ship, which he saved miraculously from the clutches of fatal storm breeding on the sea at Malpe. One day when he was performing his morning prayers on the Malpe shore, he found that a ship sailing in the sea, was in danger owing to rough weather, Sri Madhwacharya with his divine power was able to control the rough weather.
Festivals in Udupi
All Hindu festivals are celebrated in the Krishna Mutt with pomp and grandeur. The area is full of activity throughout the twelve months of the year. The following are some of the more important festivals worth mentioning.
The first day of the month of chaitra is the New Year’s Day according to the lunar calendar. Similarly the first day of the month of meesa is the New Year day according to the solar calendar. Here, the solar system is more popular and hence the New Year festival is celebrated according to the solar calendar.
A tray containing coconut, fruits, jewels and mirror is kept in front of the idol of Krishna on the previous night. Next morning these auspicious objects are seen first. This ritual is known as the darshana of kani. The swamiji then takes oil bath. The priest reads out the almanac. Special dishes are offered to the deities. A grand feast is arranged in the dining hall at cauki.
The kind day in the bright fortnight of caitra month is believed to be the day when God Vishnu took the incarnation of fish matsya. On that day the idol of Krishna is decorated with armour resembling a fish.
Sri Rama was born on the ninth day of the brighter fortnight of caitra. On that day the idol of Krishna is decorated with bow and arrow instead of the usual churning rod and rope. Special service is arranged in the noon. Car festival takes place in the night. Since the personal idol of the swamiji of Sri Palimar Mutt is that of Sri Rama, special festival of Rama is celebrated with pomp and festivity during the tenure of the Mutt.
On the full moon of caitra month knows as citraa puuurnimaa special dishes are offered to the idol. It is a day of festivity at the shrine of Mukhya prana also.
The second day in the brighter fortnight of the month of vaisaakha is celebrated as kuurma jayanthi. The idol is decked as a tortoise.
The third day in the bright fortnight of vaisaakha is the day of the incarnation of God Vishnu as Parashurama. The idol is decorated with an axe in the hand. The tiny idol assumes heroic pose with axe in hand.
This coincides with the death anniversary of Sri Vijayadhvajacharya who was the sixth pontiff in the lineage of Sri Pejawar Mutt. He became famous as the commentator of the Bhagavat epic. He lived in the 15th century and his vrndavana is in Kanva Tirtha. There is also a papal tree by the side of the vrndavana under which he is believed to have written his commentary.
During the tenure of Sri Pejawar Mutt special festival is arranged in the Krishna Mutt. The aksaya paatra given by Sri Madhvacharya is offered with a special puuja on that day.
From aksaya trtiiyaa to the full moon day of the month of vaisaakha special vasantootsava or the festival of spring is arranged every day. The mantapa puuja, which is usually held in the mantap in front of the sanctum sanctorum, is now celebrated in the vasanta mahal during these days. Different kinds of koosambari puliyoogarai etc are offered to the deity.
On the twelth day in the brighter fortnight of vaisaakha god took the incarnation of Vedavyasa through Satyavati. Special worships are arranged for Vedavyaasa.
At about 3-00p.m. a special festival is arranged. The mobile idol is placed in the palanquin and taken to Vasant Mahal. Lemon juice, puliyoogarai, koosambari and other dishes offered to the deity are distributed to the devotees assembled there. No separate vasantootsava takes place that day in the night.
God took the incarnation of Narasimha on the fourteenth day in the bright fortnight of vaisaakha. A special festival is arranged, but there is no tradition of decoration of narasimha to the idol.
Since Sri Krishnapur Mutt and Sri Kaniyur Mutt have the idols of Narasimha special car festival and feasts are arranged on that day during the paryaya of those mutts.
Goddess Bhagirathi is born on the tenth day in the bright fortnight of jyeestha. It was on this day that the river Ganges came down to the earth at the request of Bhagiratha. Special puujaa is arranged at the shrine of Bhagirathi. Acar festival is arranged in the night.
On the tenth day of the bright fortnight of aasaadha a special abhiseekha is performed to the idol. On the previous day itself the temple premises, oil-lamp holders, instruments of rituals, jewellery etc. are washed and cleaned. The idols are well rubbed and washed. A special feast is also arranged:
The eleventh day in the bright fortnight of the month of aasaadha is known as prathamaikaadasii or sayanii eekaadasii. The next four months are known as the period of caaturmaasya. It is believed that during this period God is reposing on the serpent seesa in what is known as the sleep of yoga.
On this eekaadasii day the vaisnavas observe their initiation ritual by embossing the sacred figures on their forehead, chest and arms through a heated mudraa in the Mutt. This is sacred ritual for the devotees.
On that day sudarsana hooma is arranged. Silver seals of cakra and sankha are heated in the sacred fire and they are stamped first on the chest, forehead and shoulders of the swamiji and then on the chest, forehead and shoulders of the devotees. This is a sort of initiation that every vaisnava is expected to undergo every year.
Devotees from far off places come to Udupi on that day, take holy bath in the madhvasaroovara tank, undergo the ritual of mudraadhaaranaa and go back. Eve women and children get initiated in his manner.
From that day onwards one month is observed as a month of diet known as saaka vrata. Vegetables and chilies are forbidden. Only green gram, black gram and such other items are used for cooking.
On the full moon day of aasaadha the swamiji takes a ceremonial shave and this is the commencement of caaturamaasya or staying in a fixed place for a period of four fortnights.After the daily rituals are over, the swamiji holds a tray containing scared mud and firewood and addresses the devotees in front of the idols thus.
It is rainy season. The paths are full of insects. We restrict our movements so that they must not be hurt. As per a statement in scriptures a fortnight is considered as equal to a month. We propose to spend four fortnights here in a fixed place so that no harm is caused to living beings.To this the householders reply ‘Please do stay here and grace us by your presence.’During the next two months the scholars chant Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and the works of Madhvacharya.
Now a days instead of the full moon day of aasaadha the caaturmaasya starts from the fifth day of the dark fortnight of aasaadha. This coincides with the anniversary of Tikacharya.
During the eekaadasi fasting days of this period a special worship known as jaagara puujaa takes place in the nights. After the raatri puujaa the swamiji carries on his head the tray containing the tulasii. He dances chanting the gory of the Lord. The musicians and attendants dances singing devotional lyrics. The scholars chant the sacred epics for a pretty long time in the night.
Special discourses on the sacred epics are arranged in three places. They are
· The platform in the Madhva Sarovara .
· The room known as simhaasana in front of the seat known as madhva piitha and
· In the candrasaalaa near the southern dor of the shrine of Mukhya Prana. This arrangement is made so that the chanting of the sacred texts fall on the ears at the time a devotee gets into the tank and goes out after the arsana of the idol.
The chanting takes place every day in the candrasaalaa. Apart from this, special chantings take place in simhaasana and also in cauki during the times of lunch everyday throughout the year.
Jayatiitha’s punya tithi
Saint Jayathirtha’s anniversary falls on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of aasaadha. As the greatest commentator of Madhava’s works, Jayathirtha is known as Tikacharya and hence respected by all Madhvas. Hence the system of commencing caaturmaasya on that day came into vogue.
His anniversary is celebrated at Udupi by chanting his works and delivering special lectures and discourses on his works. A special feast is also arranged.
This is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of sraavana. The serpent god is worshipped on this day in the Subramanya shrine located in front of the Badagu malige.
The thread ceremony for those belonging to the clan known as Rig Vedas takes place on the savanna star day in the month of sigma. Those who belong to Your Veda branch celebrate on the full moon day of the month of sigma. On the day of the star haste in the month of sigma the men belonging to Sama Veda branch celebrate their upaakarma. This usually comes in the lunar month of bhaadrapada.
The Krishna Mutt celebrates all these upaakarma rituals. The people belonging to all these branches and residing around the town of Udupi participate in these rituals and wear new sacred thread.
The rgupaakarma is celebrated in the Anantheswara temple also. The yajurupaakarma is celebrated in the Chandreshwara temple also.
Through the ceremony of chanting the sacred thread does not apply to the swamiji their rituals stick does have the sacred thread with it and hence it is to be changed. The swamijis of Udupi perform this on the day of rgupaakarma.
The full moon day of sraavana is celebrated as hayagriiva jayanthi. It is on this day that Almighty God took incarnation of hayagriiva on earth. This is an important festival for Sri Sode Mutt. During the paryaya of other Mutts also, special rituals are performed by offering the favorite dish of Lord Hayagriva.
The same day pavitraaroopana is also celebrated. The silken threads are folded into three and then 12, 24 or 36 pavitra knots are tied. It is put on the idol like a garland. This is known as pavitraaroopana. It is believed that by offering garland any shortcomings or defects in the yearlong ceremonies and rituals will be warded off. This thread is also known as kalki daara.
After offering these threads to the idol they are sent to other Mutts also along with prasaadam. These are also distributed to other householders.
From the twelth day in the bright fortnight of sraavana to the twelth day of the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada the people observe dadhivrata. During which time the devotees abstain from taking curds.
Anniversary of Sri Raghvendra swami
The anniversary of Sri Raghavendra Swami falls on the second day of the dark fortnight in the month of sraavana. The swamiji offers special services to the saint and arranges a feast. Seminars and discourses take place.
A three-day festival is arranged in the shrine of Raghavendra.
Sri kasha jayanti
The eighth day in the dark fortnight of the month of sigma is the day of incarnation of Sri Krishna. If there is rooming star in the midnight it is known by the name janmaastami.
Those who follow the lunar calendar celebrate this on the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the lunar month of sraavana. Those who follow the solar calendar celebrate it on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the solar month of simha. This may fall either in the month of sraavanda or in the month of bhaadrapada. It may be noted that the star roohini appears on the eighth day in the month of simha. Hence the solar system appears to be more appropriate to follow in celebrating this festival. Hence it is followed in Udupi.
Krishna Jayanti is celebrated with great pomp in the town of Udupi. People observe fast on the day. The scholars chant Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatha and other sacred texts. The idol of Krishna is specially decorated as a sporting child.
At the midnight when the moon rises they offer dishes like cakkuli and laddige to the idol. Scared leaves of bilva are offered. Water and milk are poured with the sankha by the devotees. As per the tradition the cowherds from the nearby villages also offer arghya of water and milk in front of the idol of Lord Krishna.
The rituals take place in the early morning also of the next day like a dvaadasii day.
That afternoon is celebrated as a festival of Sri Krishna’s sports fu and frolics. The idol of Krishna is taken round the car street fun and frolics. The idol of Krishna is taken round the car street in a palanquin. The mud pots known as mosaru kudike containing turmeric and saffron water are suspended from the tops of wooden poles. The people dressed like jump and hit at the pots with sticks and try to break the pots. The idol of Udupi is that of Krishna who had broken the pot of curds with churning rod in hands. This is an important episode from the childhood sports of Krishna and hence celebrated with all pomp, festivity and fun.
Fancy dress parades relating to the childhood sports of Sri Krishna as well as imitations of the dances of tigers, bears etc appear before the procession as a sort of service to Lord Krishna on his birthday. The swamijis of all Mutts pay presents and remuneration to these performers.
The fourth day in the bright fortnight of the month of bhaadrapada is celebrated as the festival of Lord Ganesha. A special puujaa is performed to Ganapathi also to the Supreme God through the elephant-faced god.
The idol of Ganapathi made of mud by the artists is brought to badagu maalige in an auspicious period on that day. The entire area is decorated artistically with different kinds of festoons. It is a feast to the eyes for the next four days.
At the entrance of the shrine also there is a small idol of Ganapath. Special worship is arranged there to the supreme Lord in the form of visvambhara. The priests perform a sacrifice known as ganahooma. The swamiji offers the prasaada of visvambhara to Ganapathi and waves aarati.
After worshipping the special Ganapathi for four days the idol is taken out in procession and then immersed in the madhva saroovara.
The fifth day in the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada is celebrated as bhuuvaraaha jayanthi. Special festivals are arranged in the Sode Mutt, as Bhuvaraha is the presiding deity of that Mutt. In Sri Krishna Mutt also special dishes of roots and bulbs are offered to the idol.
The sixth day in the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada is celebrated with special services to the Supreme God in the form of Kalki.
Dadhi vaamana jayanthi
It was on the twelth day in the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada that God Vishnu took the incarnation of Varmana and came down earth. After observing one month’s diet without curds people break their vow and start taking curds on that day.
The idol is decked as a small boy Varmana. Special naiveedya of curd and rice is offered. A good feast is arranged.
From that day onwards for a period of one month up to the eleventh day in the bright fortnight of asvayuja is known as the period of ksiira vrata during which period milk is not taken.
The fourteenth day in the bright fortnight of the month of bhaadrapada is known as anantana vrata. God Anantha Padmanabha is invoked in a pot filled with water and decorated with coconut and flowers. Special puuja is celebrated with fourteen varieties of dishes.
From the first day to the ninth day in the bright fortnight of asvayuja the idol is decorated with the costumes of the Goddesses like sir, blue, durra and sarasvati.
All works of Madhvacharya are chanted during the days of Navaratri.
The volumes of Holy Scriptures are worshipped during the period of the stars muulaa to sravana commencing from the sixth or seventh day of navaraatri and going up to the ninth or tenth day in that fortnight.
In the northern corner of the hall known as candrasaale the palm leaf manuscripts are arranged in a mantap, which is well decorated. Sri Vedavyasa and the goddess Saraswati are propitiated as guardian angels of learning and scholarship. After the mahapuujaa the swamiji performs vyaasa puujaa. After the concluding rituals on the last day the scholars celebrate their initiation ceremony.
This is the festival of harvest. Tender spikes of corn are ceremoniously brought to the shrine and worshipped. They are then tied to different parts and objects of the shrine. The new rice is cooked and offered to the idol and a special feast called ‘new meal’ is served.
The front gate at the eastern side of the Mutt where the idol of Chenna Keshava is installed is opened to bring in the tender spikes on this day. The entrance, which was formally used for going inside the shrine from the Madhva Sarovara, is now used only once a year.
A special feast is arranged at cauki on that day. On all other days the swamijis sit for lunch facing south. But only on this day they sit facing east.
Buddha jayanthi-madhva jayanthi
The Vijaya Dashami day is also celebrated as Buddha jayanthi. God is propitiated in the form of Buddha that day.
Madhvachrya was born in Pajaka Kshetra on the Vijaya Dashami day. Hence special puujaa is performed to the idol of madhvacharya at the shrine of Krishna and also to the idol of the Acharya at Anantheswara.
A procession of victory and the worship of the swami tree are the special rituals taking place the same day. A tableau of army is taken to the Mahisha Mardini temple at Kadiyali with all royal paraphernalia and a samii tree is worshipped there. The priest of the Mutt performs the ritual. Afterwards the royal elephant of the Mutt is also worshipped.
Pascima jaagara puujaa
During the period of one month beginning from the midnight of the tenth day in the bright fortnight of asvayuja up to the eleventh day in the bright fortnight of kaartika special puujaas are performed every day in the last part of the night. This service is performed every day in the last part of the night. This service is known as the pasvima jaagara puujaa since it is performed by remaining awake in the night. It is performed to please God Kartika Damodara. Rice, jaggery , fruits, and coconuts are offered and aarati is waved around the idol.
This period of one month is also observed as the month of dieting during which the pulses are not eaten. The preceding three months were spent by abstaining from eating vegetables, curds and milk respectively. During this fourth month all pulse are prohibited and only bulbs and roots are used in cooking.
During month of kaartika the sky-lamps are lit to propitiate Kartika Damodara. The stems of areca trees are planted and the lights are lit on the top of those posts. Other Mutts arrange for two such lamp-posts whereas the Krishna Mutt has four posts.
Worship through the lamps starts from the twelth day in the dark fortnight of the month of asvayuja. New day evening on the southern side of the shrine an oil lamp is lit facing the South and the priests pray the god-of death to ward off the untimely death and also to obtain prosperity to mankind. This is known as yamadiipa.
The same night the metal pot used for heating water is cleaned and decorated. A mystic symbol of svastika is drawn on the floor by the side of the pot and the Goddess Ganga and God Trivikrama are worshipped by placing saaligraama on it. The swamiji kindles fire in the oven. The water in the pot is heated during the night.
At the dawn next day, after removing the flowers from the idol and after the nirmaalya visarjana puujaa the swamiji applies oil to the idol, pours hot water and washes with the powder of gram. It is believed that on this Krishna had taken oil bath before sun rise and had gone to Assam to vanquish the demon Narakasura. The ritual is now held to perpetuate that memory.
The oil and powder of the gram offered to Krishna is distributed to all devotees. They apply oil to their body and take bath. A special feast is arranged in cauki.
Balindra puujaa-laksmi nissarana
The same day or the next day when the new moon period occurs in the night the people celebrate Balindra festival and ward off inauspiciousness.
In the car street in front of the Kanaka’s window the image of Balindra is drawn on floor using colour powder. A lamppost is also arranged to ward off inauspiciousness. After the puujaa in the night at the shrine in the presence of the swamiji the priests worship Balindra, and through him God Varmana and also perform other rituals to ward off inauspiciousness.
The first day in the bright fortnight of kaartika is known as bali paadya. On that day the cattle shed of the Mutt is well decorated and white washed. The cows are given bath and decked with flowers. Special dishes are given to them by waving aarati.
Keshava and other eleven forms of God Vishnu are worshipped in the tulsi plant for 12 days from the first day in the bright fortnight of kaartika up to the twelth day. The worship arranged after the raatri puujaa is one of the important festivals of the Mutt.
The tulsi vrandavan, which is located near the tiirtha mantap, is well decorated. A huge lamppost with oil containers set around in different stages is lighted. The musicians’ sing and dance around the tulsi platform. The swamiji worships kaatika chandramaulishvara temples are placed in the garuda ratha and taken round the Car Street with pomp and festivity.
The sixth day in the bright fortnight of maargasiira is known as subramanya sasthi. A special ritual is arranged in the shrine of Subramanya sasthi. In the forenoon the idol of Subramanya is taken round the Car Street in the garuda ratha. A special feast is arranged in cauki. Once in a paryaaya a special ritual known as naaga mandala is held in Vasantha Mantap on this day.
During the period the solar month of dhanu a special puujaa is performed at dawn by offering a dish of green gram. The devotees are fed in the early morning hours during this month.
On the day of the vyatiipaata yoga in the solar month of dhanu a special puujaa is performed in the morning by offering a dish made of green gram.
Just like dhanurvyatiipaata the day of vaidhrti yoga in the month of dhanu is celebrated with special ritual.
The twelth day in the bright fortnight of maargasiirsa is celebrated as mukkooti dvaadasii. A special puujaa is performed that day also by offering the dish of green gram.
The full moon day in the month of maarrgasiirsa is known as data jayanthi. It was on this day that God Vishnu was born as Datta through Anasurya, the wife of Atri. A special puuja is arranged for Datta on that day.
Five days before makara sarikramana starts a series of seven days festivals to terminate on the day following that of sankramana. This is the most famous festival of Udupi. During the first five days only two chariots namely the garuda ratha and small one are taken out in procession.
The sixth day is the sankramana day. This is known as the greatest festival of Sri Krishna. All three chariots are dragged simultaneously. The idol of Krishna is placed in the brahma ratha. The idol of Mukhyaprana is placed in the small chariot. The piligrims from all parts of India and abroad come to witness this festival.
It is believed that the idol of Krishna is established in Udupi on this day. Hence it is celebrated as the anniversary of the sacred installation.
A special festival known as suvarnootsava or cuurnootsava is celebrated in the noon after the mahha puujaa on the seventh day. The brahma ratha is taken out in procession during this festival, which is the last in the series.
After the idol is seated in the chariot the swamiji waves aarati and then throws down coconuts, oranges, bananas and such other objects towards the devotees. The devotees vie with one another in catching those fruits coming down as prasaada.
Another noteworthy feature of this day is that all swamijis join with common people in holding the rope and dragging the chariot. They forget the differences and stand as equal in front of the idol in this sacred task of service to God.
After the procession completes the round, the swamiji takes sacred bath in Madhva Sarovara holding the idol in his hands. All devotees join together and take bath known as avabhrta snaana or purificatory bath.
Thousands of devotees are fed on that day. It is said that during the past the swamiji used to take food in Rajangana along with the devotees. But since the crowd is uncontrollable on that day this system is stopped now and the swamiji takes food in cauki. More than ten thousand people are served with grand feast that day.
Ratha saptamii- bhiismaastamii
The seventh day in the bright fortnight of maagha is known as ratha saptamii. The next day is observed as bhiismaastami. On both the days special feasts are arranged. The idol is taken out in procession in the chariot after the night service.
The ninth day in the bright fortnight of maagha is the day on which Sri Madhvacharya went out to Badarikashrama and disappeared. (1317A.D. Pingala samvatsara maagha suddha navamii). This day is celebrated with great pomp and festivity.
The Paryaya Swamiji as well as other swamijis residing at Udupi on that day go to Anantheswara and offer special puujaa to the original idol of Madhvacharya. They also chant hymns. At Sri Krishna Mutt also special pujas are offered to the idol of Madhvacharya. The scholars chant Madhva Vijaya in suurya saalaa.
Thousands of devotees are served with feasts in the noon. In the evening the volumes of Sri Madhavacharya's works are taken out in procession and kept in Vasanta Mantap. A special congregation of scholars is convened.
Scholars are specially invited from off places to participate in scholarly discussions. In the end the swamiji honours those scholars by giving presents.
In the festival at night brahma ratha is taken out in procession.
The fourteenth day in the dark fortnight of maagha is celebrated as sivaraatri with special worships at Anantheswara and Chandreswara. The flag hoisting ceremony takes place in Anantheswara. The fourth day is celebrated as the car festival in which the idols of both Chandramauliswara and Ananthasana are taken out in procession in brahma ratha.
Hooli habba-kaamaa dahana
The full moon day in phaalguna is celebrated by bringing an idol of kaama the god of love to the car street and by burning it. The visual burning of the replica of kaamaa symbolizes the curbing of lust in our heart.
Next day the people throw colour powder at each other and celebrate the festival.
Vaadiraaja punya tithi
The third day in the dark fortnight of paalguna is celebrated as Sri Vadiraj Memorial Day. During the paryaya of Sri Sode Mutt, this festival is celebrated with great pomp. During the paryay of other swamiji also special services are arranged in honour of Sri Vadiraja.A great feast is arranged for the devotees.
Vyaasatiirtha punya tithi
The fourth day in the dark fortnight of phaalguna is celebrated as the death anniversary of Sri Vyasa Tirtha of Sri Vyasaraya Mutt. Sri Vyasa Tirtha was intimately connected with Udupi because of Kanakadasa and Vadiraja. Special feasts as well as seminars are arranged on that day.