According to tradition (sthala puraana),the name Udupi is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘udu’ which means ‘star’.The suffix ‘pa’ meaning ‘king’ gives us the word ‘Udupa’ meaning ‘moon’.The allusion is as follows :In order to absolve of the effect of a terrible curse that befell the moon, austere penance was conducted by the moon and being pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him and conceded to his request. The moon attained emancipation. The place, where the moon had met his prayers by the grace of Lord Shiva, came to be known as Udupi.The sacred place where the moon conducted austere penance is said to be this place ‘Abhjaaranya’. The Chandreshvara (Chandramouleeshwara) temple is pointed to as where the Lord Shiva appeared and absolved the terrible curse of moon.
Daiva gudi of Raktheshwari and Panjurli in Abhjaaranya
The Chandra Puskarani of Abhjaaranya
Photographs: A.K.Bhagwath and Exploring Udupi team