Krishna, please come soon
In the hub of Tulu Nadu, tastes of Kannada city, where Muddukrishna swings on a play-swing
Udupi is a Kaleidoscope of interesting diversity. Tulu city with a an ever pleasant face with different colours created by views, tastes and fragrances. The play house of Kannan.
We reached among a group of Europeans with clean-shaved heads with 'gopi' on their foreheads, wearing dothies and singing 'Harekrishna' in the rhythm of pakvaj. They moved through the chariot street singing and dancing. The street slowly awakened to evening rush from laziness. The houses in the surroundings are made of bricks and wood in old Canara style. The rectangular chariot road surrounds the temple like an ornament. The eight sanctuaries made to guard the temple enhances the splendor of the footpaths. Exalted voices coming from the sanctuaries, of the boys who are learning spiritual dualism.
The groups of pilgrims coming with their families and the vehicles increased the enthusiasm of the streets. The mixed smell of ghee and coconut oil coming from the hotels. The heart of the city where the temple is located is not yet modernised.
The temple of Krishna makes Udupi famous. The temple was installed by Maduacharya, the founder of dualism. Udupi Krishna is the Unnikkannan who is the Jagadodharakan (uplifter of the world). Vennakkannan who comes running when called by a believer. A statue made of salagram (black stone) wearing all ornaments, holding a chum in one hand and a thread the other. Even though the temple is small and cannot claim much artistic diversity, it is beautiful. We were confused as we through the main door on the south side. Where is the front door of the sanctuary? Instead there is a small window.
This is Kanakadas Jalakam (Window). This was the place where Kannan appeared for Kanakadas who was not allowed to enter the temple because he was an inferior. You can see Kannan through this Navagraha door which has nine holes. There are twenty-four images of Krishna on the silver clad door. The way to the sanctuary is air conditioned. You can see a statue of Maduvachariya on the left side the door to the inner room. The inner room has two parts. In the small room the statue of Balakrishna is installed. The big room is used for rituals. The silver mandapa in which the golden cradle where Unnikkannan sleeps, is also there. In front there is the Theertha mandapa where Chamara pooja and Mandapa pooja are conducted.
You can hear the Bhajan 'Krishna Kanhaya Manamohana' from nearby. The North Indian women wearing banjara looking like gopikas, partially covering their beautiful faces and singing Chandrasala is the mandapa which makes dusks to that like in Vrindavana. On the south side and north side there are statues of Mukhyapraja and Garudha. It is believed that these were brought from Ayodhya and installed by Vadiraja Theertha Swamikal. It is said that this was the place where the famous composition 'Krishna Nee Begane' was tuned in Yamunakalyani raga by Vyasarayatheerthar.
When the lamps on the outer wall of the room were lit, the mural paintings became clear in red shade. The ten incarnations of Lord Narayana. The most famous kitchen in the world is located beyond the basil and the lamp post. The birth place of the Udupi cuisine which spread the diversity of tasty vegetarian dishes to every nook and corner of the world. In old times the Seevolli Brahmins started making offerings of different tastes for Kannan, so that he will not be fed up with the same menu. Then Udupi slowly became the synonym for rich vegetarian food.
You can see the vast dining hall on the north side exit of the temple. The offerings filled up the leaves. They will feed you till you are totally satisfied. They call the main food as Mrishtanna Pangthi. You to chant 'Govinda' before and after the food.
Beyond the hall there is Vasanthamahal, where dances are presented. The Rajankanam (Courtyard) is in the front side. After circling the streets the hare krishna group has camped there. The Madhuvapushkarani Theertham is on the left side of the Krishna Math. There is a Mandapa in the middle that is connected to the temple by a bridge.
Udupi is a complex of three temples. The other two temples are older than Krishna temple. The temples are constructed in Kerala style architecture. When you reach Udupi, one should should first worship Mahadeva at Chandramouleeswara temple. Then Lord Anantha padmanabha at Ananteswara temple. Both these temples are about thousand years old. About eight centuries ago two people had prayed before Ananteswara to bless them with a child. That blessed child is Madhuvacarya. This is the place where he disappeared from the physical eyes too. (AD 1317) Eventhough we walked around searching for different tastes, we were not satisfied. The yummy of tastes would have gone beyond the borders. The hotels of Mithrasamaj in the chariot street are still maintaining the traditional aspects of the old times. When we asked, the names of hundred dosas came out. Rava iddli, bullet iddli (that is a small iddli), varities of upma, poories, pulavu and halvasâ€¦.. The waiter told us without any pause at the speed of Nethravathi express. Our senses immersed in the mixture of masala tea and other tastes. This is the area of physical enjoyment beyond the spirituality of Udupi.
Outside the street a woman who have lost all her glory except the gleam of the stone of her nose-ring, was looking at the temple without flinching her eyes. It seemed like she was praying silently to Kannan 'Begane baro mukhavannu toro' (come fast and show me your face).
Madhuvacarya and Mudhukrishnan
The foundation stone of Krishna Math was a dream saw by Madhuvacharya. The dream scene was a ship swaying in the tempest. A cargo ship sailing from Dwaraka towards south was caught up in storm on the shore of Vadabandeswara near Udupi. The Acharya who reached the shore in time suppressed the wind in his dress. The captain requested him to take anything he wanted from the ship.
Acharya took only a big ball made of sandalwood which was used as the ballast of the ship. when the sandalwood ball was broken, a radiant statue of Mudhukrishna appeared (The little Krishna anybody should love to hug and kiss). By the end of Dwapara Yuga Devaki and Rugmini wished to see Krishna's childhood again. To fulfill the wishes of his mother and wife, he gave them a statue made by Vishvakarmavu. During the beginning of Kali Yuga Arjun securely placed this statue in Rugmini's garden. When the ages went by, that was covered by sandalwood and forgotten.
Madhuvacharya installed the statue in the Math four miles away from the shore. Throughout the way he kept on praising Narayana. In future those praising became famous as Dwadasa Stostras. He installed the statue of Balarama which was along with the other one at Malpe shore. That is the Vadabandeswara temple.
The acharya of the dwelism declaring that the Jeevatma and Paramatma are two, built eight Mathas for poojas rituals in the temple. Pejavara, Puthigay, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyuru, Shirur and Krishnapura. Each Mathas will have responsibility of the temple for a period of two years. The function of handing over the responsibility once in two years is called Paryaya. It is assumed that Madhuvacharya is the reincarnation of the wind. It is a curious matter that the Advaithasthana (Place of Advaitham) is near Udupi.
Rituals and festivals
The temple will open at 4 O'clock in the morning with the accompsyment of the sound of 'shanku' (Shell). At 5 O'clock nirmalyavisrajanam (removal of last days flower decorations). Then after that the statue will be washed and decorated with a a basil garland and then served with 'thamboolas' (beetel leaves) and food.
Then Ushakalapooja (Morning ritual) and Gopooja (Worshiping cow) will follow. Then Panchamitrapooja. Changing the Lord's childhood figure, the statue is unctioned with gold coins. Then Udvarthana, Kalsa and Theertha poojas. After that Alankarapooja. On Fridays and Navaratri days the statue will be decorated like a woman.
On other special occasions it will be decorated in various figures of incarnations. Then Avasarapooja is conducted followed by Mahapooja, the days main pooja. This is conducted by the main acharya Paryaya Swami. The rituals are concluded with the Pradakshina namaskara at 12 O'clock in the noon. Again the rituals will start with Chamaraseva at 7 PM. After the Ratripooja (Night ritual) the Rangapooja will be conducted in which the lamps will be lit. The day ends with the Ekanthaseva in which lullaby is sung to make Kannan asleep.
Sapthotsava is the main festival. The festival will start during Makarasankrama by mid Januari.
Maduvnavami in Februari, Kamadahana festival in March, Ramanavami on Chaitra of April, Meshasamkamam celebrated during new year, Vasanthotsava and Narasimhajayanthi in May, Chaturmasaghosham starting on Ekadasi, Sreekrishnajayanthi during August or September, Ganesha Chaturthi, Anantha Chaturdasi, Navarathtri, Deepavali and Pryaya Fesatival conducted once in two years are the other festivals in Udupi Krishna temple.
The capital of tastes
There may be people who have not seen Udupi, but there will not be anybody who dos not know of Udupi hotels. The fame spreading from California to Kottayam. We will say one thing to the vegetarian food lovers. Masaladosa is an Udupi native. Its assumed that the dosas were originated in Udupi streets. A place where a thousand vegetarian tastes created from indigenous mixtures.
The food diversity in Udupi was developed from the experiments of unlimited food curiosities to satisfy the keen Unnikkannan. Everything is prepared in ghee, butter and coconut oil. As per the Vedas, garlic and onion are taboo, but now a days it is coming up. Here Colocasia leaves to jaggary are food items.
The typical Udupi lunch contains thirty two items like Rice, five types of pickles (uppinakkai) ghee, salt, fried rice, konpasari eraseri made of Bengal gram, tulu baji, ajatna made of beans, big happalam (pappad), saru (rasam), kodal made of white gourd (sambar), menas kai (a dish like sambar) made of chillies, curd, butter milk, bonda, vada (kaitano), laddu and jaggry (bhakshya).
Kasi halva made of fruits, Pathrode mad of Colocasia leaves and Chelakkai appam made of jack fruit are only Udupi's favourites. Sajjige, Bankibath (Upma), Uddinahittu made of gram and curd, Kai holigay like Boli and Golibaje, a relative of Bonda are the other delicious food items. It will take days to describe the tastes of Udupi.
The refreshing shore of Udupi
When we reached Malpe sea shore the wind was blowing. The kites of which the string are broken are wobbling in the sky. Children on the shore, looking at the sky. Even though it was a working day the sand shore was crowded. The beautiful Malpe beach is on the north side of Udupi. Parallel to the rough waves humiliated due to the rain, you can see the stretch of sand bank to a long distance. You can see the Malpe shipyard on the north side of the shore. The boats anchored in rows.
A crowd waiting to watch the sea through a telescope mounted on a tripod. They are watching the Saint Mary's island seven kilometers away. The firestones that bring the memories of the pillars and fences that the sculptures left behind incomplete make the island a wonderland. The Geological survey of India had declared this island as a National Geological Monument. You can see the top ends of the palm grove from the shore itself. It is said that Vasco Da Gama came here first before he came to Kappad beach. Gama called it El pardon De Santa Maria. But some how he did not get down at Malpe beach. So that credit got to Kappad.
There are boats from Malpe boatyard to the island. It will take three and a half hour journey. Minimum thirty passengers are required to avail the boat service. But we did not get permission to sail because of the strong wind and bad weather. You can see other three islands of rocks from the shore. They are known as Dariya Bahudurghada, Kari Illada Kallu and Dariya Gadara Kalluthe (Islands with hazardous stones). Little girls with plates of baji and fried corn moved around fighting the wind. Fishermen coming to the shore where the Udayavara river joints the sea. Ignoring the dusk the darkness spread over the beach.
A sea of sea rains
Kaup beach is the image of solitary magnificence of the nature. The people who enjoyed there, say that the right time to see the beach is during heavy rain. We reached the Kaup beach on the north side of Udupi in heavy rain. The deserted beach like solid silence. You can see the 130 feet tall light house standing like a huge elephant on a big rock rock on the north side of the shore. This was constructer by the British in 1901. While coming from Mangalapuram to Udupi you can see a sign board pointing towards west. We paid parking fee in a shop nearby and passed through an alley to Kaup. The rain is merging the sea and the sky in a gray shade in the horizon. Enjoy the Kaup quietly hearing the roar of the sea and the sound of the rain, the frustration of mind will dissolve away.
R L Harilal
Translation: Balachandran P