SRI KRISHNA TEMPLE AND EIGHT MATHS
Among the several disciples of Sri Madhva, eight monks were jointly and severally made responsible for conducting the daily worship of Lord Krishna at Udupi, besides the usual duties of monkhood. These eight direct disciples of Madhva established separate lines of their own by ordination, and these eight lines of ascetic came to be known as the Eight Maths of Udupi.
In the beginning, the Swamiji’s of the Eight Maths used to be in charge of Lord Krishna’s worship, by turns, for two months each. The system of worship in its present form is believed to have been established in the 16th century by Sri Vadiraja Swami, a celebrated pontiff of one of the Eight Maths called Sode Math. According to the present practice, the Swamijis of Eight Maths conduct worship, by turns, for two years each. This tenure of worship by rotation is known as PARYAYA. The Swamiji, who is in charge of the worship, is called the PARYAYA SWAMIJI, and his Math called the PARYAYA Math. The ceremony of handing over the charge of worship by one Math to another is known as the PARYAYA FESTIVAL. This festival, held once in two years, in the month of January, attracts thousands of pilgrims.
Lord Krishna is worshipped scrupulously 14 times a day, according to an elaborate code of elegant rituals, starting at 4 AM and closing at about 11 AM. A distinguishing aspect of this worship is feeding of devotees on a large scale.
Besides the holy image of Sri Krishna, there are many subsidiary deities and noteworthy spots for pilgrims to see inside Krishna Temple, and around the Car Street. There are two small enclosures enshrining images of Hanuman (Mukhyaprana) and Garuda in the north-western and south-western corners of Sri Krishna temple. These deities were brought from Ayodhya and installed in the 16th century by Sri Vadiraja Swami. In the north eastern corner, one can see a room containing a holy seat called SIMHASANA. This is the spot on which Sri Madhva used to sit and meditate. It is the privilage of the Paryaya Swamiji to occupy this seat for Japa, meditation and distribution of holy water and prasadam to devotees. This holy seat is near the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Krishna Shrine. At this entrance, there is a beautiful image of Sri Madhva, installed by Sri Vadiraja Swami.
Adjacent to the main corridor through which the pilgrims enter the Krishna temple, there is the holy tank called MADHVA SAROVARA. The Swamijis have to bathe in this tank beofre they commence the worship at the shrine. A lovely image of goddess Bhagirathi is worshipped in the south-western corner of this tank.
In the outer wing of the temple, on the northern side, pilgrims come across a small shrine of Subrahmanya, dining halls, administrative office, Vrindavans of deceased Swamijis, and auditoriums meant for religious discourses or cultural programmes.
The headquarters of the Eight Maths are housed in eight buildings situated around the Car Street. The names of these Maths and their original monks are as follows:
1. PALIMARU Math – Hrishikesha Theertha
2. ADAMARU Math – Narasimha Theertha
3. KRISHNAPURA Math – Janardana Theertha
4. PUTTIGE Math – Upendra Theertha
5. SHIROORU Math – Vamana Theertha
6. SODE Math – Vishnu Theertha
7. KANIYOORU Math – Rama Theertha
8. PEJAVARA Math – Adhokshaja Theertha
The names have been listed according to the serial order in which they assume charge of worship of Sri Krishna and conduct the Paryaya.
Malpe – Malpe a natural port, about 4 kms to the west of Udupi, is an important port of the Karnataka coast. It is situated at the mouth of the Malpe/Udyavara River. The place has fascinating natural scenic view. It has been a centre of commercial activities for a long time.
St Mary’s Island – St. Mary’s Isles are a group of small islands to the north of Malpe. They are just a few scattered projections of rock raising out of the western or Arabian Sea a round Malpe. Boats are available to go the island from Malpe.
Ambalpady – Situated 3 kms away from Udupi, Ambalpady is a well-known Shakti kendra. The 500-year old temples of Mahakali and Janardhana are famous.
Kaup – A hamlet about l2 kms south of Udupi, Kaup is situated on the coastal belt, which passes through the west coast National Highway. It has an old lighthouse, the guiding star of navigators who are warned of the presence of dangerous rocks in the sea. There is also an old ruined fort. The place is known for its temples of goddess Mariamma. The Jaina Basadi there is in ruins and so also an old Janardhana shrine.
Perdoor – There is an ancient temple of Ananthapadmanabha. Perdoor About 19 kms east from Udupi. is a known for Yakshagana.
Brahmavar – Situated about 13 kms north of Udupi, it is an ancient cultural centre of the region being adjacent to Barkur, The three main temples Mahalinga temple, Gopinatha temple and Janardhana shrine.
Barkur– Barkur a hamlet of Kachur village is about 16 kms. to the north of Udupi. The place has several temples containing inscriptions of historical value.
Shiriyara – A historic place 8 kms from Barkur, well known as Mekkekattu, is famous for the beautiful wooden idols.
Mandarthi – Located 26 kms northeast of Udupi, Mandarthi has the famous Durgaparameshwari temple, which is an important centre of Shakti worship.
Nilavar – Situated on the banks of River Seetha (Seethanadi), this scenic place attracts thousands of devotees for holy bath during vrishcika maasa panchami.
Kota – Known for the historically famous Amratheshwara temple.
Vandar – A historical place known for the Kambala sport, which takes place every year on December 12th.
Padubidri – About 26 kms. from Udupi on the Udupi – Mangalore Road, it has a Brahmasthana, a Mahalingeshwara temple and a Mahaganapati temple. A religious festival called the Dakke-bali is held in the Brahrnastha here once in two years.