The matha area resembles a living ashram, a holy place for daily devotion and living. Surrounding the Sri Krishna Matha are several temples, the most ancient being made of basic wood and stone of 1,500 years origin.(See Udupi for more)
The Krishna Matha was founded by the Vaishnavite saint Shri Madhwacharya in the 13th century. He was the founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta. It is believed that Madhwacharya found the idol of SriKrishna in a large ball of gopichandana.
As told by Sri Madhwacharya in his TANTRASARA SANGRAHA the Idol is placed Pashimabhimukha. All the other idols in other Ashta mutts are facing Western side as well. Once Kanakadasa, a pious worshiper and devotee of Lord Krishna, was staying in a makeshift hermitage in front of Krishna mutt. There was an earthquake in the night and the outer temple wall cracked such a way that there was a wide enough opening for Kanakadasa to have darshana of the idol. Till today, devotees still worship Lord Krishna by praying through the same window where kanakadasa was seeing the offerings/Pooja from outside.It is known as Kanakanakhindi, and is decorated by an arch named after him. A statue has also been erected. A similar window covers the immediate front of the Idol and is called Navagraha kindi. It is often mistaken to be Kanakana kindi
Direct students of Madhwacharya were many. His first disciple was Shri Sathya Theertha. All other mathas except the Ashta mathas were established by Sri Padmanabha Thirtha. His disciples do not have the right to perform pooja to Lord Udupi Shri Krishna as it is headed and governed by the Ashta mathas.
The daily sevas (offerings to god) and administration of the Krishna Mutt are managed by the Ashta Mathas (eight temples). Each of the Ashta Mathas performs temple management activities for two years in a cyclical order. They are collectively known as the Krishna Matha.
The Krishna Matha is known throughout the world for its religious customs, traditions, and learning in Dvaita or Tatvavaada philosophy. It is also the centre of Daasa Sahitya, a form of literature that originated in Udupi.
During the Paryaya festival, held every two years, the temple management is handed over to the next Matha. Each of the Mathas is headed by a Swami, who will be in charge of the temple during his Paryaya. The Paryaya is held on even years like 2008, 2010 and 2012. Festivals like Makara Sankranthi, Ratha Sapthami, Madhva Navami, Hanuma Jayanthi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Navarathi Mahotsava, Madhva Jajanti (Vijaya Dashami), Naraka Chathurdashi, Deepavali, Geetha Jayanthi etc. are celebrated very grandly by Paryaya Mutt every year.