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Temples of Karnataka

Udupi is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in Karnataka and is  known for its association with Madhvacharya, the founder of the dualistic - Dvaita school of philosophy.  Seven  Muktistala pilgrimage sites in Karnataka are KollurUdupi, Subrahmanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna. Udupi is located at a distance of 36 km from Mangalore, the nearest airport.

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The name Udupi arises from the legend that Chandra - the king of the stars (Udu-star, pa-king) performed penances towards Shiva (Chandramouleeswara) here to relieve himself of the curse that had been inflicted upon him by Daksha Prajapati.

Udupi is also known as Shivali - or Shiva belli. Legend has it that Parasurama upon reclaiming land from the sea, crowned his devotee Ramabhoja as a ruler. Ramabhoja killed a snake accidentally and to redeem himself from sarpa dosha, he created a silver peetham with a snake carved on it, installed Parasurama in the linga swaroopam and worshipped him as Ananteswara.

The Balakrishna temple at Udupi enshrines an image of Krishna believed to have been made by the divine architect Viswakarma.

Legend has it that Krishna's mother Devaki and his wife Rukmini wished to enjoy his childhood pranks, at the end of the Dwapara yuga. The divine architect Viswakarma then created this image of Krishna bearing a churn in his right hand and a string in his left. Rukmini worshipped this image every day.

After Krishna's departure from this world, Arjuna is believed to have hidden it, and the image is believed to have gotten covered with gopi chandanam - a substance similar to sandal paste.

A ship proceding from Dwarka  is beleived to have  carried this 'lump' bearing the image of Krishna and as it proceded through the stormy seas, Madhvacharya sensed the divine cargo, and calmed the storm and saved the ship. In return, he accepted this lump of a cargo, and discovered the image of Krishna. Madhva then installed and worshipped this image at Udupi.

The Balakrishna temple founded by Madhvacharya  dates back to the 13th century CE. It is a modest structure enshrining the image of Balakrishna in a sanctum viewed through a grating referred to as the Navagraha kindi, which has nine square holes. The Navagraha window is covered with silver sheets embossed with 24 different images of Krishna. 

To the west of this is the Kanakadasa mandapa. Legend has it that Krishna's image turned towards the western wall, which had collapsed to reveal a full darshan of Krishna to Kanakadasa who had earlier been denied entry into the temple.

There is also a shrine to Chenna Kesava behind the sanctum. Behind this shrine is the eastern entrance of the sanctum, which is open only on Vijayadasami. Also in the temple are shrines to Garuda and Hanuman. Madhva's shrine is situated right next to the sanctum. There are also shrines to Subramanya and Vaadiraaja in this temple.

Worship: Worship services here begin at 4AM. The worship services carried out here are the Nirmalya Darshana, Ushatkaala pooja, Panchamrita pooja, Udvardana pooja, Kalas Pooja, Go Pooja, Alankar Pooja, Maha Pooja, Brindavana Pooja, Samara Seva, Ranga Seva, Seeveli Seva and the Ekanta Seva.

Festivals: Makara Sankranti in the month of Makara (January 15) when the sun transits to the zodiac sign of Capricorn, a grand chariot festival is celebrated - carrying images of Krishna, Chandamouleeswara and Ananteshwara in procession. This seven day festival involves a float festival, and another chariot festival the Bhramma Rathotsavam is celebrated on the 7th day, when the Aaraattu is carried out in the Madhva Sarovar tank. Krishna Janmashtami is also celebrated with great splendour here.

Other temples at and near Udupi include the Ananteshwara and Chandramouleeswara   temples mentioned above, Shakti temples at Puttur, Kannarpadi, Bailur and Kadiyali, and Subramanya temples at Tangodu, Mangodu, Aritodu and Muchilkodu and the Balarama temple at Vada Pandeshwara.

The Mutts around Udupi: Udupi as mentioned before is the seat of Madhva's dvaita philosophy. Eight of Madhva's successors headed mutts established by him in this area. These mutts are located at Palimar (Sri Rama), Admar (Kaliyamardana Krishna), Krishnapura (Kaliyamardana Krishna), Sode (Bhu Varaaha), Puthige (Vitthala) , Sirur (Vitthala), Kaniyur (Narasimha),  and Pejawar (Vitthala). The spectacular Paryaya festival, when the leadership of the mutts changes, is celebrated once in two years.

See Also:
Seven Mukti Stalas of Karnataka