Udupi can conjure up images of steaming plates of food owning to the name of the cuisine; its namesake. Yes, it is famous for the cuisine, which has found ardent fans around the country now. But it is also well-known for its temples and celebrations. Janmashtami in Udupi is celebrated on a grand scale and has a distinct flavor to it. It is unlike any other Janmashtami celebration in the country.
Udupi (or Udipi) in Karnataka is by the Arabian Sea and its beaches are serene stretches of sand. It is a major city some 60 km away from Mangalore. It is an important cultural center too. The city is very famous for The Krishna Temple – the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha. It was built in the 13th century and is significant as a pilgrimage. It is said that the idol in the temple has a connection to Dwarka. Apparently, it was originally from Dwarka and found its way to Udupi by way of a gift of gratitude.
This town with its many attractions is perfect for a quick trip from Bangalore or a short drive from Mangalore. Other attractions in and near Udupi are Malpe Beach, St Mary’s Island, Padubidri, and Karkala. These places make Udipi ideal for short relaxing trips and also for spiritual sojourn.
You can plan a trip to Udipi around different festivals including Janmashtami to see the town dressed in a different light.
Other notable temples in and around Udipi are –
– Anantha Padmanabha Temple
– Shri Anantheswara temple
– Shri Janardana and Mahakali Temple
– Ananteshwar Temple
– Chandramouleshwara Temple
– Batte Vinayaka Temple
– Shree Bramalingeshwara Temple
Janmashtami in Udupi
Janmashtami in Udupi has been a muted affair since the last two years due to COVID. But this year it may take place with the same zeal as usual. In Udipi, the festival traditions are quite unique and people come here from far flung places to experience the same. This year the festival falls on 18th August and the festivities will continue till the end of next day.
Shree Krishna Leelotsava is an important component of Janmashtami in Udupi. Here you will see Pili Vesha or Tiger Dances (people dressed as tigers) as part of Janmashtami celebrations. This dance is also known as Huli Vesha and is one of the most exciting components of the celebrations. Different groups participate in the dance and practice the choreography for weeks before the festivities are set to begin.
The Krishna Temple is akin to an ashram – both by way of architecture and traditions. The eight monasteries that surround the temple have their own separate customs too. The idol is placed on a chariot and is part of the procession during festivities. Raas Leela is also an important component of Janmashtami in Udupi.
One distinct aspect of this temple is a window – a worshipping window. This is the space from which devotees get a glimpse of the idol inside the temple. It is decorated with a filigree design and adds to the uniqueness of the temple.
You can book flights to Bangalore via Indian Eagle and travel to Udupi via road or train. If you are visiting Karnataka especially any place near Udipi; visiting the city during Janmashtami can be a special cultural experience.