Introduction to Udupi



Lord Vishnu, in his sixth incarnation as Sri Parashurama, traversed the Earth 21 times punishing the Kings who had deviated from the Path of Dharma. Having donated all the land that he won during his conquests and reluctant to stay in the land he had already donated, he reclaimed a strip of land from the Arabian sea. This coastal strip of land from Gokarna to Kanyakumari is known as Parashurama Kshethra.



Ramabhoja, a great devotee of Lord Parashurama was proclaimed the king of Parashurama Ksethra. Intending to perform a maha yajna, he had the site for the sacrificial fire ploughed. A serpent got into the plough and was killed. Although the serpent was a demon in disguise, the king was worried, as it was a sin to kill a serpent. To atone this sin, he was directed by Lord Parashurama to build a big silver pedestal (known as Rajathapeeta) as a seat for the Lord.




It is said that Chandra (Moon God) was cursed by Daksha Prajapathi. To ward off this curse, Chandra performed penance in propitiation of Lord Ishwara on the banks of a holy pond, Chandra Pushkarini. Lord Eshwara being pleased appeared and absolved Chandra of the curse. This place has since been known a CHANDRAMOULEESHWARA and there is an ancient temple of this name. In Sanskrit “Udu” means stars and “Pa” means Lord. Udupa means Lord of Stars which is Moon. Hence the place where Udupa (Chandra) performed penance and obtained grace is known as UDUPI.




The place, where the Lord appeared in the form of Linga and occupied the silver pedestal is known as ANANTHESHWARA. It is believed that  on the request of Lord Shiva that Lord Parashurama also  enShrined in the Linga in the form Lord Anantha and hence the name Anantheshwara. The king Ramabhoja also built four Durgalayas (Durga Temples) and Nagalayas (Subramanya Temples) one in each direction. In Thangodu, Mangodu, Muchilkodu and Arithodu he built four   Nagalayas, And at Kadiyali, Bailoor, Puttura nd Kannarpady he built four Durgalayas. The Sri Anantheshwara Temple has been a seat of learning since time immemorial for the study of Veda, Vedantha and Upanishads. It was in this place where Sri Madhwacharya obtained lessons from his Guru Sri Achyuthaprekshacharya. The details of Anantheshwara appear in the Sri Skandapurana.



Lord Parashurama installed an idol of Durga Devi atop a hill known as
Kunjargiri. It is known to be the oldest temple in and around the coastal districts.


Raja Rama Bhoja constructed four Durgalayas and four Nagalayas at four
directions during the construction of Anantheshwara Temple.



It is at a distance of 12 kms from Udupi. It was at this place where Lord Parashurama created four ponds namely Gadaathirtha, Parashuthirtha,
Banathirtha, Dhanushthirtha and installed an idol of goddess Durga atop
the hill. It is also the birth place of Sri Madhwacharya.The house where Sri Madhwacharya was born is at the foot of the hill. Even to this day one can see the traces where the Acharya spent his childhood and performed miracles.




Udupi emerged as a great centre of Vedanta after the advent of Sri
Madhwacharya. He was the exponent of ‘Dwaita Vedanta’
Sri Madhwacharya was born in fulfillment of the prayers offered by
his parents at Anantheshwara temple with rigorous austerity for 12 years. He was initiated into the ascetic order in his sixteenth year. He traversed the and breadth of the country many times with his trusted disciples.
Badrinath in the Himalayas was his favorite destination, where he is believed to have visited the hermitage of his Guru, the divine sage Sri Vedavyasa under whose tutelage wrote commentaries on ‘Brahmasutras’ and the Mahabharatha epic composed by the divine sage. The extant works of Sri Madhwacharya are 37 in number ; four on Brahmasutras, ten on Upanisads, two on Sri Bhagavadgita and the rest on various topics of philosophy. The “Dwaita” philosophy highlights that the Lord (Paramaathman) and the subject (Jeevaatman) are always different. Salvation (Moksha) is possible through pure devotion (Bhakti), which is eternal bliss. In several of his works the great Acharya has disclosed his identity as the third incarnation of Lord Vaayu, the earlier incarnations being Hanuman and Bhima. He disappeared from human sight in 1317 A.D., while delivering a discourse on Aitareya Upanishad at a particular spot inside the Sri Anantheshwara Temple.






The idol of Sri Krishna installed at the Sri Krishna Temple is carved
out of Shaalagrama Shila. Legend has it that Rukmini herself was
worshipping this idol at Dwaaraka (Gujarat). When Sri Krishna disappeared from this world Arjuna deposited this idol in the spot called ‘Rukmini Vana’.The idol which lay buried inside the mud of Gopichandan, was mistaken for a lump of Gopichandan and loaded as ballast on a ship carrying merchandise from Dwaraka along the West Coast. When the ship was approaching the Malpe (Udupi) Port, it got caught in storm and was about to sink. Sri Madhwacharya who was on the shore, waved his upper cloth on which the storm subsided, saving the ship from disaster. The grateful captain of the ship offered all the wealth in his ship to Sri Madhwacharya. But the great Acharya chose only the lump of
Gopichandan which lay in a corner. He carried the Gopichandan to Udupi, a distance of four miles, singing the ‘Dwadashastotra’.The moment he immersed the Gopichandan in the Madhwasarovara, a beautiful idol of Sri Krishna emerged. Sensing this chain of events by his aparoksha jnana (divine knowledge), the Acharya himself installed the idol. The idol represents Lord Krishna in his playful childhood posture with a curd-churning rod in the right hand and the churning rope in the left. Thus Lord Krishna came to being worshipped by Sri Madhwacharya and later by the pontiffs of Ashta Mutts founded by him


Exploring Udupi Team is grateful to

Text Author:  P.Lathavya.Acharya

Photographs: Guruduth.K

Translation:   Vadiraj Pejathaya

Wilhelm Ashok

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7 Comments Add yours


    EXCELLENT creation

  2. Anand Sondur says:

    Great start akobhi! Look forward for more!

    1. Thankiuuu very much fr d support

  3. guru says:

    great start way to go

  4. Very informative and highly Divine information..
    Keep it up Akshobya Acharyare.

    1. exploringudupi says:

      Thank you very much Rajesh thatha

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