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Entrance to the Udupi Krishna temple
Coordinates 13°35′N 74°45′E / 13.59°N 74.75°E / 13.59; 74.75
Country  India
Region Tulu Nadu
State Karnataka
District(s) Udupi
Council President Mr. Dinakar Shetty
127060 (2001)
286 /km2 (741 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
68.23 km2 (26 sq mi)
39 m (128 ft)

Udupi (Tulu: ಉಡುಪಿ; Kannada: ಉಡುಪಿ; Konkani: ಉಡುಪಿ) is a city and the headquarters of the Udupi District in the Indian state of Karnataka. Udupi is notable for the Krishna Matt located here. It also lends its name to the Udupi cuisine.



It is widely believed that the name of Udupi was derived from its Tulu name Odipu. The Tulu name in turn is associated with a temple at Malpe, devoted to Vadabhandeshwara. Another story is that the name Udupi came from the combination of the Sanskrit words Udu and Pa, which mean "stars" and "lord." According to legend, the moon's light was once reduced due to a curse by King Daksha, whose 27 daughters (the 27 stars, according to Hindu astrology) were married to the moon. The moon prayed to Lord Shiva to get back its original shine. Lord Shiva was pleased with the moon's prayer and restored its shine. Legend says that the moon and his wives made their prayer at the Chandramouleeshwara temple at Udupi, creating a linga that can be seen even today. According to this story, therefore, Udupi means the land of the "lord of the stars," the moon.

Religious significance

Deity of Lord Krishna installed at the Krishna Mutt in Udupi.

Udupi is known for the Krishna Mutt (Temple of Lord Krishna). The Krishna Mutt was founded by the Vaishnavite saint Shri Madhvacharya in the 13th century.

According to history, there was a storm in the sea at Malpe. Shri Madhvacharya was on the shore at the time and saw a ship which was in trouble. He helped the ship reach the shore to safety. The sailors were very grateful to him and gave him deities of Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama. He did the pratishte (installation ceremony) of the deity of Lord Balarama near Malpe. This temple is known as Vadabhandeshwara. He brought the deity of Lord Krishna and did the pratishte at Udupi. This temple is known as Krishna Mutt.

Shri Madhvacharya handed over the puja and administration of Krishna Mutt to his 8 disciples. Each of them set up their Mathas (monasteries) around the Krishna Mutt[1]. These are known as the Ashta Mathas. The Mathas are Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura. 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 performs temple management activities for two years in a cyclical order. 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.

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 temple since he was from the caste other than Brahmin, as during that time only Brahmin's had the privilege of entering the temple to offer pooja to the God. 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, pleased by the bhakti (devotion) of Kanakadasa turned to face the window. This window came to be known as Kanakana Kindi. To this day, the deity of Lord Krishna faces the back of the temple towards the Kanakana Kindi. All Hindu temples have their Vigraha (Deity) facing the entrance of the temple, except Krishna Mutt.

Naalbeedi or Car street of Udupi

Kanakana Kindi is decorated with carvings depicting the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Through the nine small holes of the window we see the deity of Sri Krishna as a very young boy. He holds the churning rod in His right hand and rope in his left. 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.


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

The Paryaya festival is held once every two years in the even years like 2006, 2008, 2010. The paryaya is held on 18 January on even years,starting early morning at around 3.00 A.M. During this festival there are tableaus from various groups which gather in Udupi in the early hours of the morning. People gather on the streets to watch them.

Krishna Janmashtami is held every year. During this festival groups of men wear "Pili Vesha (Tulu)/Huli vesha (Kannada)" Tiger costume and other costumes. They visit and collect donations from shops and houses around Udupi with a lot of enthusiasm among the participants and general public.

Bhajana Saptaha which is held in Sri Laxmi Venkatesh Temple. Saptaha means one week. During this time Bhajans are sung continuously day and night for 7 days. This falls during August of every year.

Rathothsava (Chariot festival) is held in almost all occasions around Rathabeedi. During this time the ratha (chariot) of lord krishna is pulled by locals around Rathabeedi.


As of the 2001 India census,[2] Udupi had a population of 113,039. Males constituted 49% of the population and females 51%. The average literacy rate was 83%, 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.

Bunts, Mogaveeras, Billavas, Konkanis Goud Saraswat Brahmins, Rajapur Saraswat, Kudalkar, Daivajna, Shivalli Brahmins, Kota brahmins, Koragas and Mangalorean Catholics are some of the 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, Malpe 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.

The Udupi Urban Development Authority (UUDA) is responsible for town planning and other related development activities in Udupi and the surrounding areas.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Weatherbase[1]

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 highest rainfall in India averaging more than 4000mm every year and heavy winds.


Tulu is the most widely spoken language in Udupi. Apart from this the other languages are Kannada, Konkani, Nawayath, and Beary bashe spoken by Bearys.


The term Udupi (also Udipi) is also synonymous with delicious vegetarian food now found all over world (see Udupi cuisine). 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.


Udupi-Manipal road

National Highway 17 passes through Udupi. Other significant roads include the State Highways to Karkala and Dharmastala and to Shimoga and Sringeri. The NH 17 provides a link to Mangalore and Karwar via Kundapur. Private as well as government buses connect Udupi to various 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 (Kundapur) which is 36 km from Udupi, New Mangalore Port/Harbour is 50 km away from Udupi.

Economy and industry

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]. Poverty rate in Udupi is fairly low when compared to Bangalore and other districts of Karnataka. People in Udupi lead a high standard of life.

Udupi is also the birth place of the Syndicate Bank and Corporation Bank. 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.

Udupi is also home to a well-known software company Robosoft Technologies, which is into product development for the Mac OS and Windows platforms. It is located at New Udupi(Santhekatte, Kallianpur). The company has brought Udupi a significant place in the global IT scenario.

Art and culture

Bhuta Kola, Aati kalenja, Karangolu, and Nagaradhane are some of the cultural traditions of Udupi. The residents celebrate festivals such as Diwali, Dusshera and Christmas. Folk arts like Yakshagana are also popular.

Rathabeedhi Geleyaru, a local non-profit organisation, was founded to encourage creative pursuits, especially those that keep alive the traditions of the region. Its primary focus has been drama.

Future Developments

Udupi is getting modernized day by day retaining its image as a pilgrimage centre. Lot of developments are taking place in the city and many projects are in pipeline.

Adi Udupi-Kadiyali Road passing through Kalsanka (State Highway 25 Malpe-Molakalmuru) which is an arterial road of the city is being widened into a 80 feet four lane double road. This project has been a long pending demand of the Udupi citizens. The widening is currently under progress. The stretch between City Bus Station and Kadiyali is opened for traffic after widening. The project is likely to be extended up to Manipal. The widening of this road has resulted in increase of land prices in the surroundings.

The widening of NH 17 from Surathkal to Kundapur to a four lane highway will result in widening of the stretch which passes through the city. Two flyovers at Kinnimulky and Karavali Junction will be coming up and are expected to ease the traffic jams to some extent at those junctions.

Due to large inflow of foreign and NRI students to Manipal, Udupi is expected to get an airport for landing ATR type aircrafts. Capt. Gopinath, Chairman of Deccan Aviation has stressed on the need for an airport here.

A monorail project has been proposed for Udupi along with Mysore and Mangalore by Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr. B S Yadyurappa in addition to Bangalore. This is due to increasing traffic within the city day by day. The feasibility study is yet to be conducted.

Private real estate builders and developers have proposed building shopping malls and multiplexes in future due to high average per capita income of the people here. The boom has already started with the hypermarket "Big Bazaar" which has already opened its outlet in Udupi.

See also


External links



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