The Mathura of Southern India: Udupi

Udupi is a district in the state of Karnataka, India. Parashurama Srishti is another name of this district. Udupi is positioned amid Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat, so when you will travel towards Udupi several varieties of natures' beauty can be captured, clicked and recorded. 



Udupi is the place where 2 renowned banks were founded, namely Syndicate Bank and Corporation Bank.


On the way of Udupi you will get a small village-n-beach called Maravanthe beside the NH-66 (connects Pune to Udupi. ) which runs next to the beach and the river Suparnika flows on the other side of the NH. The view definitely creates a spectacular scenery that is considered the only one of its kind in India


This place actually is the estuary where the river meets with the  Arabian Sea and makes a U-turn after a journey of nearly more than 10 km. The adjacent villages here are culturing the Prawns which is similar with the Sundarban of West Bengal.



The education centre Manipal is situated only 10 km off Udupi. Udupi is a happening place and a famous tourist destination. Peoples used to visit from all around the world due to the popularity of huge number of temples and magnificently location of the  sea beaches which are well known to the landscape photographers.



The popular Krishna temple and Matha (also called Mutt), is a 1500 years old heritage building of the Lord Krishna. There is an interesting legend of the idol of this temple. A ship which was carrying an idol of Krishna from Dwaraka (the ancient kingdom of Lord Krishna), was caught in a terrible storm while sailing in the Western coast of Malpe

While meditating, Sri Madhvacharya sensed it with divine knowledge, and got the ship to shore safely by waving the end of his saffron robe to miraculously dissipate the storm. In gratitude, the sailor gifted the idol to Madhvacharya and he installed that in this temple in 13th century



The temple premise nearby is known as a matha (monastery). There are some other old temples surrounding the Krishna temple, one of which is the Udupi Anantheswara Temple, which is more than 1000 years old. 


There is a lovely pond at the side of main temple. I visited the Matha during the evening, and was thrilled to experienced the marvelous view of the Arati (worship to God). The main portion of temple where the Krishna idol is present, is composed of wooden build up. 


Lots of metal diyas (small cup shaped oil/wax lamp) are fixed in a long metal strips from top to bottom throughout the surrounding wall of the worship. On entering, you can see a large number of police patrols gathered around that particular area. 


I later found out the reason for this being, the idol is made up of Gold, and other valuable items are present there. Then I started observing the sculptures. 



Do believe me, this place is quite different from other temples view. The diyas are ready to be lit up as oil and wick are readily placed, and all those are fixed in that metal strips. Overall, it can be related to an entrance gate of a heritage building, where the gate is designed with rulers/strips and the diyas are attached in a certain gap in those rulers. 


Around 6:30 pm, the Arati was started by the priests and after sometime they signalled to the temple devotees to light up the diya, where one of the priests lit one up. 


The most breathtaking view of the moment was when all the diyas were glowing, while loud mantras were being chanted, along with the sound of some instrument playing along. I couldn’t capture everything in their entirety, as the police were on a strict watch, carefully obstructing us to prohibit photography as much as possible. That’s why you will seldom get to photograph inside the temple, and find the inside-pictures in internet too.

You can always have a darshan (sight/visitation) of Lord Krishna through the inner window, known as Navagraha kindi & the outer window known as Kanakana Kindi. The temple opens by 5.30 am in the morning. 


One of the unique features of the temple is that, the deity is worshipped through the silver-plated window with nine holes, the Navagraha kindi. The temple also offers prasadam  i.e. offerings to the Lord Krishna in the form of lunch & dinner to people, with simple traditional south Indian food.


If you are lucky, you may get a chance to listen to the occasional classical Carnatic music program held by a group of ladies in that matha area. 


Overall, with some spectacular heritage buildings, the clear water of the pond, the trance of the mantras recited, and radiance of the idol along with the entire ambiance during the Arati, the typical temple frangrance full of fresh flowers-milk-honey-resin, jingling chimes of the temple bell mingled with sounds of the other instruments used in idolatory, dinner with strangers who are the temple visitors, the illustrious eye catchy ‘rangolis’ (colorful decorative designs) with white dust, and lastly the Indian classical music form, will definitely make you cherish your time spent here, and mark a memorable moment for rest of your days.


There is a small market outside of the Matha where you can buy various types of wooden artefacts  large metal bells,  Puja paraphernalia are available in the market near Krishna matha. 




Paryaya, is a religious ritual which takes place in the early hours of 18 January during even-numbered years in the Sri Krishna Matha of Udupi. The Puja (worship) and administration of Krishna Matha is distributed among the Swamijis (pious learned people of the Matha) and each of them get chance to perform the Puja of Udupi Sri Krishna on a rotation basis for a period of two years.
Next puja is on 18th Jan in 2020.



The famous photography beach with marvelous scenic view @Arabian Sea, Malpe beach. This is a less explored beach where you will see the vibrant sea-green color of water. Kinda water activities are available here. 


You can get bus or auto rickshaw near Udupi bus stand to come over to this place. The bus fare is nominal only 10 Rs., whereas auto charged around 130 INR during my time of visit.


The St. Mary’s Island, a virgin island, around 6 km far from Malpe beach and also known as Coconut Islands. These are set of some small distinctive columnar basaltic lava islands in the Arabian Sea.



Based on the studies the basalt of the islands was formed by volcanic activity when Madagascar was attached to India. This is one of the 32 National Geological Monuments of India declared by the Geological survey of India (GSI) in 2016.  



Legend has, that in the year 1498 the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed here and claimed the island in the name of Mother Mary. 


The island has fewer visitors so far, which is why you will not see the sand on the beach, and instead, observe that it is covered with mollusc (mollusk) shells. 



The first boat from here is supposed to start at 9:00 am and the last boat towards island is around 4:30 PM. 

The rock-formation @st. Mary's island
The time to be spent on the island is around 1 hour. The cost of ticket was 300 INR when I visited the place. The boat leaves only if there are around 30 visitors, hence wait time may extend to around 30 -35 minutes for tourists to arrive before the boat leaves.


It is best to do this in the evenings or early mornings. If you are visiting during noon, there is little shade to be found. Food and drinks are sold on the island.


Kapu beach, there is a lighthouse in this beach, open till 5:30 pm. You can get a bird’s eye view of the surroundings from here.

Its really tough to get any kind of non-veg food in Udupi. You can have and try different types of dosa specially the Neer dosa which is quite popular here.



How to Reach: There is a story in the journey to Udupi. Though a rail station is present in Udupi but the trains are not regular, coming in only once or twice in week from major cities of India. I went by Bus from Pune. 


When I travelled to Udupi the journey was not smooth as the bus service was too annoying. In the bus, through sheer coincidence, was honored to meet Dr. C Vaman Rao, Professor & Head - Dept. of Biotechnology Engineering @NMAM Institute of Technology, whose book in Immunology I read during my M.Sc. times. His seat was just next to mine. 

I came to know that currently he is doing his research in the production of snake  anti-venom  from herbs in western ghat, since currently using conventional antivenom of animal source, there seems to be an allergic outbreak with many patients.



Accommodation: Lots of hotels are present in this area, but try to avoid hotel Janardana near Udupi bus stand because I was not satisfied with the staffs of this hotel.

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