Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sri Krishna Temple, Udupi

Without a shred of doubt, Udupi is famous for two things - Udupi cuisines and Sri Krishna Temple. The ranking order clearly depend on the preference of your religion - Food or God. There is however a lesser known third speciality of Udupi - Gadbad, and we'll come to that later.

As it is with most well known and popular temples, there is a lot of floklore attached with the Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi. The Sri Krishna Matha was consecrated by Shri Madhvacharya in the 13th Century. Legend has it that there was once a storm in the sea off Malpe and Shri Madhvacharya helped a ship come ashore safely. The much relieved and thankful sailors presented Shri Madhvacharya with idols of Lord Balarama and Lord Krishna. Deity of Lord Balarama was consecrated at Malpe with the temple now being called Vadabhandeshwara, while the idol of Lord Krishna was consecrated at Udupi thereby setting up the Sri Krishna Matha.

Shri Madvacharya handed over the puja and administration to his eight disciples. Each of them set up their Mathas and took care of the temple administration on a rotation policy of every 2 years. The shining glory of the temple happened sometime in the 16th Century. Kanakadasa, an ardent worshipper of Lord Krishna was denied entry into the temple since he belonged to a lower caste. He even attempted to catch a glance of Lord Krishna through a window but only managed the rear view of the statue. Not the one to give, he performed penance with such devotion and determination that it pleased Lord Krishna and as a token of appreciation for Kanakadasa's devotion, the idol turned backwards on its own to give Kanakadasa to gaze through the window. Till this date, the statue of Lord Krishna can be viewed only through the window for all the devotees. This window is now known as the Kanakana Kindi.

Much to our delight we got a quick darshan of Lord Krishna. I was particularly happy I paid a visit to this temple after so many years. The last time I was here I was a little child and I still have some vague images of the temple imprinted somewhere in my head. Now they are all refreshed to last a lifetime. With a contented heart, soul and stomach (from the free Annadanam) we left the temple premises to our much awaited next destination - St. Mary's Island.

But before that, you cannot come to Udupi and not have a Gadbad. So, what exactly is a Gadbad? Gadbad is a made to order ice cream with some fruits and nuts and tutty frutty. Elsewhere in Karnataka, you might find packaged Gadbad which is sacrilegious to say the least, when compared to the real deal. There's nothing better to beat the Udupi Sun but a tall glass of invigorating Gadbad.

There's also a Numismatics heaven somewhere on the way to the temple. This free-entry coins and currency museum is set up by Corporation Bank which incidentally started in Udupi in the same building where the museum now sits.

Getting-there: Udupi is about one and a half hours from Mangalore. The temple is about 1 km from the Udupi bus stand and can be reached on foot.

Must-Do: Look out for the window for a glance of Lord Krishna. Gadbad gulping. Coins and Currency museum visit.
Must-Don't: Littering.

My Rating: 7/10


  1. I am fascinated with Mahabhaaratha, and Krishna from my childhood...any write up on these two just catches my have given a brief but explorable information on Krishna..Nice photos, and nice narration makes Gadbad, Krishna even more interesting..

  2. Thanks Sri and thanks for your mytholigcal insight too. I love visiting such temples with a floklore attached to it. Gives a great sense of devotion and peace being there.

  3. I did not know about the God turning back to give darshan to a devotee of lower caste. Amazing.
    I have heard about the Annadanam.
    Place to visit, soon.

  4. wow...must go there!!

  5. @Hariharan: Yes the temple has quite an interesting floklore attached to it.

    @Sushmita: Yes a must-go temple in Dakshin Kannada along with Sri Mookambika Temple in Koloor.