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This article is about the municipality in India. For its namesake district, see Udupi district.
Coastal City
Temple City
Udupi Krishna Mutt- kanaka gopura
Udupi Krishna Mutt- kanaka gopura
Udupi is located in Karnataka
Coordinates: 13°20′20″N 74°44′42″E / 13.3389°N 74.7451°E / 13.3389; 74.7451Coordinates: 13°20′20″N 74°44′42″E / 13.3389°N 74.7451°E / 13.3389; 74.7451
Country India
State Karnataka
Region Tulunadu
District Udupi district
 • Type City Municipal Council
 • Council President Divakar Shetty
 • Total 68.23 km2 (26.34 sq mi)
Elevation 39 m (128 ft)
Population (2011)[1][2]
 • Total 165,401
 • Density 2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)
 • Official Tulu, Kannada, Konkani
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 576101 (City)
Telephone code 0820
Vehicle registration KA-20
Website www.udupicity.gov.in
"Udupi - The Temple City"

Udupi (ಉಡುಪಿ in Kannada, also spelled Udipi) is a city in the southwest Indian State of Karnataka. It is the headquarters of Udupi District. Udupi is notable for the Krishna Temple and lends its name to the popular Udupi cuisine. It is also known as Lord Parasurama Kshetra, and is famous for Kanakana Kindi.

Udupi, also known as Rajata Peetha and Shivalli (Shivabelli), a centre of pilgrimage, is situated about 60 km north of Mangaluru and about 422 km northwest of Bengaluru.

Religious significance[edit]

Udupi is known for the Krishna Mutt (Temple of Lord Krishna) and as the native place of the Vaishnava saint Shri Madhvacharya, who founded the (dvaita) sect of Vaishnava Hinduism and the Udupi Krishna Mutt (in the 13th century). He is known as the third form of Mukhya praana( literally meaning 'primary life source'), after Hanuman and Bheema.[3] For Vaishnavas and Dvaitas all around the globe, including ISKCON, Udupi is a significant place. It is of historic importance due to it being the birthplace of a new branch of philosophy and of a great philosopher and saint.

Idol of Udupi Shri Krishna- Mythology and History According to a folklore, there was a storm in the sea at Malpe, which is a seashore, about 7 kilometers from the center of the town. Shri Madhvacharya was on the shore at the time and saw a ship that was in trouble. He helped the ship reach the shore to safety. The sailors were very grateful and gave him idols of Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama that they found in a rock of gopi-chandan ( a fragrant mud, with significance in Hindu vaishnava culture). He did the pratishte (installation) of the deity of Lord Balarama near Malpe. This temple is known as Vadabandeshwara. He brought the deity of Lord Krishna and did the pratishte at Udupi. This temple is known as Krishna Mutt (pronounced 'ma-ta' meaning a temple by swamijis i.e. saints)

Chariot in front of Sri Krishna Temple,Udupi,India.

The idol was not made by man. The story of the idol is covered in the Hindu mythology. Devaki, Krishna's mother asks Krishna to show her his form as a child, as he was brought up by Yashoda devi. Stories of Krishna's childhood are known for their sentimental beauty. Lord Krishna is known to have shown wonderful innocence, love, beauty and mischief along with courage and dharma to his devotees. These are known as 'baal-leela'. The Lord becomes a child instantly and Goddess Rukmini, wife of Krishna, a form of Goddess Laxmi, sees this. She calls Vishvakarma, the architect of devatas, to make such an idol, and Krishna promises his presence in this idol- holding a Kadagolu ( a wooden ladle/ rod used in olden days to churn butter), its rope held in his left, curling around his young form, and a halo behind his head, to his devotees (who are usually called 'sajjana', which literally means 'good people', but is used to refer to Vishnu's devotees, that show humanity or goodness along with knowledge,devotion and detachment to all things shallow). Hence, a prefix of 'Rukmini Karaarchita' is placed before Udupi's Sri Krishna. [4]

Shri Madhvacharya handed over the puja and administration of Krishna Mutt to his eight disciples. Each of them set up their Matha (monasteries) around the Krishna Mutt.[5] These are known as the Ashta Matha ('ashta' means 8 in Sanskrit). These Mathas are Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura, each named after villages around. Since then, 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 used to perform the pooja of the divine idol (worship in a procedural way) and the Mutt management activities for 2 months, until Vadiraja Theertha Swamiji, who with divine permission, changed it to two years, in a cyclical order. During the Paryaya festival, which is held every two years, the Mutt management is handed over to the next Matha. Each of the Mathas is headed by a Swami, who will be in charge of the Mutt during his Paryaya.

In the 16th century during Sri Vaadiraja's administration, Kanakadasa an ardent believer of God came to Udupi to worship Lord Krishna. He was not allowed inside the Mutt since he was from a caste other than Brahmin, who, during the time were the only ones that had the privilege of entering the Mutt to offer pooja. It was believed by Brahmins and relegious scholars that worship of God was to be done by prescribed ways only. He tried to see Lord Krishna from a small window, but was only able to see Lord Krishna from the back. It is believed that Sri Krishna was pleased by Kanakadasa's bhakti(devotion), and so turned to window. This window is known as Kanakana Kindi (meaning Kanaka's window) and can be clearly seen from the outside of the temple. An arch decorates the window and is named after the daasa himself. A statue of Kanaka faces this arch. To this day, the Vigraha (Idol) of Lord Krishna faces the back of the Mutt towards the Kanakana Kindi. All Hindu temples have their Vigraha (Deity) facing the entrance of the temple, except Krishna Mutt. Lord Krishna's idol is not openly visible like in other temples. There is yet another window of nine small holes called navagraha kindi (literal meaning- the window of 9 planets) covering the front side and is decorated with carvings depicting the ten incarnations of Vishnu.

The Krishna Matha is known throughout the world for its religious customs, traditions, and learnings in Dvaita philosophy. It is also the center of Daasa Sahitya, a form of literature that originated in Udupi. The temple is built with minimalist materials, but has a lot of unique forms of worship of the idol. For example, after the pooja of the deity at night, the bells (usually present in Hindu temples that are rung by devotees) are not to be rung. Local word of mouth is that the all-knowing, omnipresent Master of the universe, Krishna, is asleep. Like in all temples, visitors can watch, but are usually requested not to create any interruptions. The temples prasadam is served to thousands of devotees every day. On special occasions Udupi is known to serve tens of thousands of visitors. ' Anna Bramha' is the name of the dining hall where food is served up until late night. Tourists, visitors and locals offer food to cows, ring bells, consume 'theertha' (holy water)and 'gandha' (literal meaning- good smell, but refers to sandalwood here), put money into 'Kaanike Hundi'(which means pool of offering), and also offer coconuts and other such auspicious materials to God.


As of the 2011 India census,[6] Udupi had a population of 165,401. Males constituted 49% of the population and females 51%. The average literacy rate was 93.89%, [7] higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy was 86% and female literacy 81%. Eight percent of the population was under 6 years of age.

Mogaveeras, Muslims, Beary, Nawayithis, Shivalli Brahmins, Goud Saraswat Brahmins(GSB), Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins(RSB), Bunts, Billavas, Devadigas, Padmashalis are some prominent communities in Udupi.

Udupi, which previously had a Town Municipal Council now has a City Municipal Council which came into existence in 1995. Areas around Udupi, such as Manipal,[8] Parkala, Malpe, Udyavar and Santhekatte were merged to form the City Municipal Council.

Udupi was carved out as a separate district from the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district on 25 August 1997. Udupi, Kundapura and Karkala were bifurcated from the Dakshina Kannada District and the Udupi District was formed. Savita S. Kotian and Prakash T. Mendon of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the current president and vice-president of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, after the election held at the Zilla Panchayat on 7 August 2014.[9]


Tulu is the most widely spoken language in Udupi City. Other languages spoken here include Kannada, Konkani. Muslims in Udupi speak Urdu Beary Bashe and Nawayath.


The climate in Udupi is hot in summers and pretty good in winter. During summers (from March to May) the temperature reaches up to 40 °C and in winters (from December to February) it is usually between 32 °C and 20 °C.

The monsoon period is from June to September with one of the rainfall averaging more than 4000mm every year and heavy winds.

Climate data for Udupi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.8
Average low °C (°F) 20.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.1
[citation needed]
Rathabeedi or Cart street of Udupi


Main article: Udupi cuisine

The term Udupi (also Udipi) is synonymous with vegetarian food now found all over world.[citation needed] The origin of this cuisine is linked to Krishna Matha (Mutt). Lord Krishna is offered food of different varieties every day, and there are certain restrictions on ingredients during Chaturmasa (a four-month period during the monsoon season). These restrictions coupled with the requirement of variety led to innovation, especially in dishes incorporating seasonal and locally available materials. This cuisine was developed by Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins who cooked food for Lord Krishna, and at Krishna Matha in Udupi, the food is provided free of cost. Restaurants specialized in Udupi cuisine can be seen widely in most metropolitan and large cities around the length and breadth of India.


National Highway NH 66 passes through Udupi. Other significant roads include the State Highways to Karkala and Dharmastala and to Sringeri. The NH-66 provides a link to Mangalore and Karwar via Kundapur. Private as well as government buses connect Udupi to parts of Karnataka. Udupi has a railway station on the Konkan Railway. The nearest International Airport to Udupi is Mangalore (Bajpe) Airport, which is 50 km away.

City and suburban transport is available for travel within Udupi and suburbs. The buses originate from the suburban bus stand (City Bus Stand). There are different route numbers.

The nearest harbour/port to Udupi is Malpe, which is 5 km away, and Gangoli (Byndoor), which is 36 km away. The New Mangalore Port/Harbour is 50 km away from Udupi.

Udupi Railway Station is managed by the Konkan Railways. It is about 4 km from Udupi city and is on the Kanyakumari-Mumbai rail route. Direct trains are available to Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Amritsar, Chandighar, Pune, Ajmer, Jaipur, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Okha. Cities like Mysore, Belgaum, Jodhpur, Agra, Ernakulam, Kollam(Quilon) etc. also connected with Udupi. Konkan has a beautiful scenic view throughout its way.

Economy and industry[edit]

Udupi is becoming a major city of Karnataka. People here have the highest average per-capita income in Karnataka according to a recent survey by a private firm.[citation needed] The poverty rate in Udupi is fairly low when compared to Bangalore and other districts of Karnataka.

Udupi is the birthplace of the Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank and Harsha Retail, the leading retailer of coastal Karnataka. [10][11] Udupi's economy depends mainly on agriculture and fishing. Small-scale industries like the cashew industry, and other food industries and milk cooperatives are the most prominent. There is no large-scale industry in Udupi.

The Karnataka government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Cogentrix Light and Power Industry to set up a thermal power plant in the district at Nandikur. However, because of stiff opposition from citizens and environmentalist groups, the project has been temporarily suspended. An attempt by the Nagarjuna Power Corporation to set up a similar plant at nearby Padubidri also met strong opposition. Now, the power plant has not only been set up, it is generating 1,200 MW of power under the name of Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), a subsidiary of Lanco Infra, an Andhra Pradesh-based infrastructure major. The opposition, however, continues.

Manipal, a suburb of Udupi, is home to the headquarters of Syndicate Bank. It is renowned as an education and medical hub. The world famous Kasturba Medical College[12] & MIT(Manipal Institute of Technology)[13] is situated here.

TEBMA Shipyards Ltd is located in Malpe harbour complex. It is involved in building multipurpose platform supply vessels (MPSVs), platform supply vessel, geo-technical research vessel, dredgers and tugs for Indian as well as export markets.[14]

Udupi has a local handloom sari industry. Made of pure cotton and lightweight, the sari has art silk design on its border and pallu besides butta of art silk dotting it. Hard work, low returns and competition from power loom has led to a drop in the number of weavers of nearly 95% over three decades.[15] A geographical indication tag for Udupi sarees is under examination with the Geographical Indications Registry of India.[16]

Art and culture[edit]

Bhuta Kola, Aati kalenja, Karangolu, and Nagaradhane are some cultural traditions of Udupi. The residents celebrate festivals such as Eid Ul Adha, Eid ul Fitr, Diwali, Makara Sankranti, Navaratri and Krishna janmashtami. Folk arts like Yakshagana are also popular.

Rathabeedhi Geleyaru and Kalavrinda are local non-profit organisations, founded to encourage creative pursuits, especially those that keep alive the traditions of the region. Its primary focus has been historic dramas.


There are several festivals during which huge crowds of locals as well as outsiders gather in Udupi.

During the biennial Paryaya festival, 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 pooja or worship of krishna, not to mention, the temple, during his 'Paryaya'. The Paryaya ceremony is held on 18 January on even years (like 2012, 2014 and so on), starting early in the morning at around 3 AM. During this festival there are representative tableau which gather near the entrance of the town (called 'swagata goopura' meaning the arc of welcome). Festivals like Makara Sankranthi(the day the idol's prathisha waas done), Ratha Sapthami, Madhwa Navami( the day on which the acharya disappeared while he was teaching his disciples, the exact place of which is still marked and visited by devotees, near the matta), Madhwa jayanti(the birth day of the great saint, Vijaya Dashami), Hanuma Jayanthi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Navarathi Mahotsava, Naraka Chathurdashi, Deepavali, Geetha Jayanthi, Daasara aradhanas, etc. are celebrated with grandiosity by the Paryaya Mutt every year.

Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated every year. During this festival groups of men wear 'Pili Vesha' (in Tulu; Huli vesha in Kannada), which literally means 'tiger costume'. They visit houses and shops around Udupi, to perform a rather unique dance. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the participants and public.

A yet another signature celebration is the Bhajana Saptaha Mahothsava, held in Sri LaxmiVenkatesha Temple, by the gowda saraswat community. 'Saptaha' means 7 days and throughout these 7 days, Bhajans are sung, day and night by devotees. This event takes place every year during the month of August, starting from Nagara Panchami till the next Dwadashi.

Rathothsava (chariot festival) is held in almost all occasions around Rathabeedi. A ratha (chariot) carries a 'utsava moorthi' of Lord Krishna. This chariot is pulled by devotees around Rathabeedi. Though, rathostava is common in the Hindu form of worshipping, Udupi is known for the multiplicity and beauty of the chariots and festivals.


A three-screen cinema multiplex Inox Movies has started in the newly built Central Cinemas in the foothills of Manipal;[17] it is located in Udupi-Agumbe State Highway 65 near Syndicate Circle of Manipal. Apart from this, other cinema theatres in the city are Alankar, Ashirvad, Diana, Gitanjali and Kalpana. Kalpana is near old Diana restaurant circle. Alankar, close to Kalpana theatre, is in the mid-city nearby Udupi bus terminus. Gitanjali, close to Alankar, is in Maruti Vithika nearby junction of SH 37 and 65. Diana theatre is near Chitpadi and Kukkikatte on Udupi-Subrahmanya State Highway 37 and Ashirvad is placed in Santekatte on the Edapally (Kerala)-Panvel (Maharashtra) National Highway near Robosoft Technologies Pvt Ltd and PVR Cinemas are planning to open cinemas in Udupi.[18]

Show timings

  • Alankar – 10:15, 13:30, 16:30, 19:30
  • Ashirvad – 10:15, 13:30, 16:30, 19:30
  • Diana – 10:30, 13:30, 16:30, 19:30
  • Gitanjali – 10:00, 13:15, 16:15, 19:30
  • Kalpana – 10:15, 13:30, 16:30, 19:30
  • Central Cinemas - INOX Manipal.

Other places of interest[edit]

  • The ancient temples of Ananteshvara and Chandramaulishvara.
  • Ambalapady Mahakali Temple
  • The Kadiyali Mahishamardini.
  • The Shankar narayana Temple, Kodavoor
  • Manipal Venugopal Temple, Manipal University, Dr TMA Pai Planetarium, Manipal Anatomy Museum, Manipal Health Sciences Library, Hotel Valleyview, Manipal Endpoint, Manipal Lake (Ganapati Temple) and Suvarna River (Ganapati Temple).
  • The Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Research Centre museum in the M.G.M. College premises.
  • Karkala Jain temples and Bahubali statue
  • Moodabidri Jain temples
  • Diana restaurant near Taluk office cross (Opposite Big Bazar).
  • Mookambika Temple, Kollur, Kundapur - Around 64 km.
  • Kaup Beach - Around 15 km.
  • Malpe Beach - Around 7 km.
  • St. Lawrence church, Karkala.
  • St. Antony shrine, kerekatte, siddapura.


See also[edit]


External links[edit]