Located in the town of Udupi in Karnataka, at a distance of 3 km from the Udupi Railway Station, Udupi Sri Krishna Temple is an auspicious Hindu temple and one of the famous pilgrimage centres in India dedicated to Krishna and Dvaita Matha. It is a beautiful temple and an important religious centre of the Dvaita Vedanta Hindu philosophy that believes Vishnu (the supreme soul) and individual souls have independent existential realities. Apart from his contributions to Vedantic philosophy, it is also the birthplace of a Udupi form of literature, Dasa Sahitya. 

Resembling a living ashram, the Udupi Krishna temple area fosters a holy place for daily devotion and living and is among the places to visit when in Udupi. The idol of Lord Krishna is adorned with a golden chariot and jewels. The worshipping pattern followed here is unique—the process of worship and prayers take place only through a silver-plated window with nine holes called the Navagraha Kitiki.

Also Read: 10 incredible ancient temples in India to visit

How To Reach Udupi Sri Krishna Temple?

At a distance of 56 km from Mangalore, this is the closest city to Udupi. It is 307 km from Mysore and 399 km from Bangalore to Udupi. Udupi Krishna Temple can be reached via road, rail or air. 

By Rail

The Krishna matha is at a distance of 3 km from the Udupi railway station. From here you can commute via cab or auto to reach the Krishna Temple.

By Air

Mangalore international airport is the nearest airport, at a distance of about 59 km from the temple in Udupi. From there you can hire a taxi to Krishna temple in Udupi.

By Road

Both KSRTC and private buses regularly commute from Mangalore to Udupi. You can hire private taxis or cabs or even rent a car to reach Udupi Sri Krishna temple. 

By Local Transport

Local buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws are great options for tourists to travel to Udupi and within the city. 

Also Read: 6 lesser known beaches in Udupi you must visit

History Of Sri Krishna Temple

Idols of Hindu gods

In Sanskrit, Udupi is a combination of the words Udu and Pa, which means ‘stars’ and ‘lord’. Legend says that the moon prayed fervently to Shiva here to get rid of a curse. Hearing his prayers, Shiva blessed him in the form of lingam (an abstract or aniconic representation of Shiva) which you can see in Chandramouleshwara Temple. And so it believed that since the moon prayed here, the place was named Udupi. 

Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Udupi Sri Krishna Temple or Krishna Matha was established in the town of Udupi in the 13th century by Shri Madhvacharya, a Vaishnavite saint and founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta for the prosperity of its people. 

The Legends Behind Sri Krishna Temple 

Ratha or chariot in a temple
Ratha at the Sri Krishna temple, a chariot or car made from wood with wheels

According to mythology, Devaki, the mother of Lord Krishna, had entreated him in his adulthood at Dwarka to show her one of the frolics from his childhood. In response to his mother’s wish, Krishna once again assumed the form of his childhood. 

Witnessing this, Rukmini, wife of Lord Krishna, requested her husband for an idol of Balkrishna, his child form, to be carved out in Shaligram Shila for her daily worship. This rare image was deposited by Arjuna at a holy spot called Rukmini Vana in Dwaraka when Krishna departed from earth at the close of Dwapara Yuga. In the course of being worshipped by hundreds of devotees with the application of sandalwood paste, the idol got completely covered with the sandalwood paste. 

A few years later, Dwaraka was completely engulfed by the sea. The idol of Lord Krishna was also engulfed as a consequence of a great flood that occurred at the end of the era of Krishna. 

Centuries later, a sailor found the idol of Lord Krishna in the shape of hard rock on an island, mistaking it for a clod of Gopi Chandan. Sometime later, when his ship was faced with a raging sea storm somewhere near the seashore of Vadabhandeshwar (near Malpe beach port), Saint Madhvacharya sensing the danger by intuition, beseeched Vishnu to calm the weather. 

Once the ship sailed ashore safely, the sailor requested the saint to accept something from his ship as a token of gratitude. Saint Madhvacharya chose to accept the sandalwood rock as his gift and when he broke the rock, the idol of Lord Krishna emerged from it bit by bit.

Realising through his deific vision that it was the same Balkrishna idol that Rukmini worshipped, the saint was filled with joy and immediately decided to bring home the idol to his Matha at Udupi. He installed it with the avowed purpose of removing all the pains and obstacles which beset his devotees on their way to salvation. 

There is another interesting legend about the peculiar west-facing position of the idol at Udupi Sri Krishna Temple. Originally, Saint Madhvacharya had installed the idol facing the east. In the 16th century, a devout devotee of Krishna, Kanakadasa, was denied entry to the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha through the main eastern entrance because he was from a lower caste.

Desperate to get a glimpse of his god, Kanakadasa ran to the western side of the temple and began to pray fervently to Krishna to appear before him through the three holes in the wall. 

Impressed by his devotion, the Balkrishna turned to the west and appeared to Kanakadasa through the window with nine holes known as Kanakana Kindi (and also called the Navagraha Kitiki). It is considered a beautiful story of faith and devotion. Since then the idol of Balkrishna rests facing west inside the temple and it is also when the tradition of offering prayers to the god only through the 9-holed window in the western wall of the temple began.

The Ashta Mathas Of Sri Krishna Temple

Among the several disciples of Sri Madhva, eight monks were appointed for conducting the daily worship of Krishna at Udupi Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi, besides the usual duties of monkhood. These eight direct disciples of Madhva came to be known as the ‘Eight Maths’ or ‘Ashta Mathas of Udupi’. The Ashta Mathas that are primarily talked about are Palimaru, Puttige, Pejavara, Sodhe, Shirur, Adamaru,Krishnapura, and Kaniyooru.

In the beginning, the swamijis of the Eight Mathas used to be in charge of Krishna’s worship for two months each at this temple. In the 16th century, a celebrated pontiff of one of the Eight Mathas called Sodhe Matha, Sri Vadiraja Swami established the present practice. Now, every two years, the swamijis of each of the Eight Mathas conduct the worship for that tenure. This tenure of worship by rotation of mathas is known as paryaya and the swamiji who is in charge of the worship, is called the paryaya swamiji. Held once every two years, the ceremony of handing over the charge of worship by one Matha to another is known as the paryaya festival and takes place in January. 

Architecture Of Sri Krishna Temple 

The Gopuram of the Sri Krishna temple in Udupi

Known as the Kanakadasa window, the 9-holed snow-plated window is attached to the Chandrashila hall via a wall at the Sri Krishna Temple. The hall devotes itself to the sublime ambience created by the bells hanging over the arched entrance as well as the beautiful glow of the earthen lamps burning in the hall. Devotees either try to peep through the 9-holed window to get a glimpse of the Krishna, or sit there in meditation saying silent prayers.

Hanuman in his meditation pose sits at one side of the hall. To the north is Panduranga’s shrine and on the right side of the main sanctum stands the statue of the temple’s founder, Shree Madhvacharya. Mounted on his garuda holding a conch and discus, the panchdhatu (five metals) figure of Vishnu is located in the eastern part of this temple. Usually closed, the eastern gate opens only on Vijaya Dashmi. At the southern entrance, you can find the holy tank Madhwapushkarani.

Golden Tower Dedication To Sri Krishna Temple

According to the tradition of the Sri Krishna Matha, Vidyadheesha Swami of Palimaru Matha had taken a unique vow at the time of paryaya to dedicate a golden tower for the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Krishna temple. A team of skilled artisans led by Venkatesha Shet had crafted the 100 kg golden tower for the sanctum sanctorum of this temple in accordance with the architecture of the coastal area. More than 100 kg of gold has been used for this tower, in addition to 300 kg of copper and 900 kg of silver. The sanctum sanctorum measures 2,500 square feet and 40 gms of gold has been used for each square foot. Devotees across the country have liberally donated gold for the project. 

Best Time To Visit Krishna Temple, Udupi

If you are planning to explore the beauty of the Krishna Matha comfortably, the best time to visit Udupi is during the Janmashthami in August-September. It is open from 5 AM to 9.30 PM with no entry fee. It is a perfect place for every traveller keen on learning about Hindu philosophy.

How To Make The Most Of Your Visit?

From its myriad jewel-box shrines to intricately carved temples, it’s apparent that religion and worship are central to India. Indian temples embody the coexistence of silence and dynamism, and pure spirituality. Locals, in general, are happy to welcome visitors into their shrines. However, it helps to know and follow temple etiquette before entering. To make the most of your visit to the Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi, here are a few tips:

  1. Prasadam or lunch is offered at noon. 
  2. As the temple is the house of God, one is expected to dress modestly. Men should wear trousers and shirts and women are advised to wear traditional attire like a sari, kurta or salwar kameez while visiting the temple. You will also have to leave your sandals or shoes outside the Krishna temple as a sign of respect and humility. 
  3. As the phrase goes “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, a pre-visit bath is considered good practice. 
  4. After the priest performs the puja or prayer, sweets are offered to the visitors (often fruit or dessert). You should make sure to accept it in your right hand and enjoy it only once you have left the Krishna temple.
  5. Try going on weekdays for a smaller crowd.
  6. Photography is prohibited inside the temple premises.
  7. There is no provision for special darshan at the Krishna temple. There is a single queue for everyone.

Why Should You Visit Sri Krishna Temple?

If you’re religiously inclined, a visit to a temple does make you feel blessed and calm. As Hinduism is the most practised religion in India, you will find numerous temples across the country. Each temple has its style and architecture, with a unique story and history. The Sri Krishna temple in Udupi similarly has its own story to tell, even to atheists, thanks to its awe-inspiring structure. 

Considered the final resting place of Krishna, people from all over the world visit the Krishna temple to attain spiritual enlightenment and reaffirm their faith. If you are a Krishna devotee on a pilgrimage, a visit to the famous Krishna Temple in Udupi might be just what your soul needs. 

How is it different from others? One of the holiest sites in South India, Sri Krishna Temple is known globally for its religious customs, traditions, and the upholder of Tatvavaada philosophy or Dvaita. Unlike the usual norm of placing the idol of Lord Vishnu facing the east, at this temple you’ll find that the Lord Krishna’s idol is placed facing the west.

Quick Facts:

  1. The main deity of the temple is Lord Balkrishna (child Lord Krishna).
  2. The temple was set up in the 13th century by Madhvacharya, the propounder of Dwaita (dualism) philosophy. 
  3. The most attractive feature of the temple is Kanakana Kindi, also called Navagraha Kitiki (window with nine holes).

Festivals Celebrated At The Temple:

Saptotsava: The annual seven-day gala car festival

Vasantotsava: Starts on Chaitra Shuddha Pratipada and ends on Vasantha Dwadashi.

Krishna Leelotsava: The second day of Krishna Janmashtami.

Laksha Deepotsava: On the day of Utthana Dvadash.

Nearby Hotels:

  1. Hotel Sharada International
  2. Hotel Rukmini Residency
  3. The Ocean Pearl
  4. Fortune Inn Valley View
  5. Hotel Udupi Residency
  6. Hotel Sri Krishna Residency

Nearby Attractions To See:

  1. Malpe Beach and St Mary’s island
  2. Ananteshwar Temple
  3. Chandramouleshwara Temple
  4. Kodi Beach
  5. Shankar Narayana Temple

Also Read: Top 12 amazing places to visit in Udupi

FAQs:

Why is Udupi famous?

Udupi is one of the famous tourist destinations in the state of Karnataka and there are plenty of places to visit. It is known for its unique cuisine, a number of famous temples and beaches.

Is Udupi worth visiting?

Considered to be more tamer and scenic as compared to other tourist destinations in Karnataka, Udupi offers unparalleled beauty courtesy the shores, sea, hills, rivers, museum, temples, heritage village, planetarium, and gardens.

What attractions are near Sri Krishna Temple?

There are plenty of attractions and places to visit near the temple are Malpe Beach, Kodi Beach and Ananteshwar, Chandramouleshwara and Shankar Narayana temples.

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