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Annual Festivals

All Vaishnava festivals are celebrated in Sri Krishna Mutt with great pomp and grandeur. On special occasions, the icon of Krishna is decorated in magnificent costumes and thus becomes Mastya, Kurma, etc. Krishna decorated as Arjuna's charioteer is especially eye-catching. Sri Krishna Mutt is a hive of activity throughout the twelve months of the year and the following is a list of the more important festivals celebrated with great pomp and ceremony.


The first day of the month of Chaitra is the New Year's day according the lunar calender. Similarly, the first day of the month of mesha is the new year according to the solar calender. Here, in Krishna Mutt, the solar system is more popular and hence Yugâdi, the New Year festival, is celebrated according to the solar calender.

A tray containing a coconut, fruits, jewels, and a mirror is placed in front of the icon of Sri Krishna on the previous night. The next morning, these auspicious objects are the first things seen by Sri Krishna. This ritual is known as the darshana of kaNi. The paryaaya Swamiji then takes an oil both first thing in the morning, and a priest reads out the almanac for the coming year to those assembled -- the latter activity is called panchaanga shravaNa. Special dishes are offered to the deities. A grand festival is arranged in the dining hall at chauki.

Matsya Jayanti

The third day in the bright fortnight of the chaitra month is believed to be the day when Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Matsya, the fish. On this day the icon of Sri Krishna is decorated with an armor resembling a fish.

Râma Navamî

Sri Râma was born on the ninth day of the brighter fortnight of chaitra. On this day the icon of Sri Krishna is decorated with bow and arrow instead of the usual churning rod and rope, and a special service is arranged to be held at noon. A car festival takes place in the night. Since the personal icon of the Swamiji of Sri Palimar Mutt is that of Sri Rama, a special festival of Rama is celebrated with even greater pomp and festivity during the paryaaya of that MaTha.


On the full-moon day of the month of chaitra, known as the chitraa pûrNimaa, special dishes are offered to the icon. It is a day of festivity at the shrine of Mukhya PrâNa also.

Kûrma Jayanti

The second day in the brighter fortnight of the month of vaishâkha is celebrated as Kûrma Jayanti. On this day the icon of Sri Krishna is decorated as a tortoise.


The third day in the bright fortnight of vaishâkha is the day of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Parashurama. The icon is decorated with an axe, to depict Him in a heroic pose.

This coincides with the anniversary of passing of Sri Vijayadhvaja Tîrtha, the sixth pîThâdhipati in the lineage of Sri Pejawar Mutt. He is famous for his commentatory upon the Srimad Bhâgavata epic. He lived in the 15th century and his vrindavana is in Kanva Tîrtha. There is also a pipal tree by the side of the vrindavana under which he is believed to have written his commentary.

During the tenure of Sri Pejawar MaTha a special festival is arranged in Sri Krishna Mutt on this day and the akshaya paatra given by Sri Madhva is offered a special pûja.


From akshayatR^itiiyaa to the full moon day of the month of vaishâkha a special vasantotsava, or the festival of spring, is arranged every day. The maNTapa pûja a which is usually held in the maNTapa in front of the sanctum sanctorum is now celebrated in the vasanta mahal. Different kinds of kosambari, puLiyogarai, etc., are offered to the Deity.

Vasanta Dvâdashî

On a twelfth day in the brighter fortnight of vaishaakha, Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Veda Vyâsa through Satyavati. At about 3:00 P.M., a special festival is arranged. The utsava mûrti (processional icon) of Sri Krishna is placed in the palanquin and taken to Vasant Mahal. Lemon juice, puLiyogarai, kosambari and other dishes offered to the Deity are distributed to the devotees assembled there. No separate vasantotsava festival takes place that night.

Narasimha Jayanti

Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Narasimha on the fourteenth day in the bright fortnight of vaishaakha. A special festival is arranged, but there is no tradition of decorating Sri Krishna as Narasimha.

Since Sri Krishnapur MaTha and Sri Kaniyur MaTha have the icon of Narasimha, special car festivals and feasts are arranged on that day during the paryâya-s of those MaTha-s.

Bhâgîrathî Janmadina

Bhâgîrathî, the goddess Ganga, was born on the tenth day in the bright fortnight of the month of jyeshhTha. It was on this day that the river Ganges came down to the earth at the request of Bhagîratha (hence the name, Bhâgîrathî). A special pûjâ is arranged at the shrine of Bhâgîrathi beside the Madhva-sarovara. A car festival is arranged in the evening.


On the tenth day of the bright fortnight of âshâDha a special abhishekha is performed to the icon of Sri Krishna. In the morning the icon is scrubbed and washed and all other MaTha icons and shâlagrâma are also cleaned. A special feast is arranged: On the previous day the temple premises, oil-lamp holders, instruments of rituals, jewellery, etc., are washed and cleaned.


The eleventh day in the bright fortnight of the month as âshâDha is known as prathamaikâdashî, or shayanî Ekâdashî. The period covering the next four months is known as the châturmâsya. It is believed that during this period, the Lord Vishnu reposes on His serpent-bed Adi-shesha in what is known as the `yoga-nidrâ' (literally meaning "the sleep of yoga").

On this Ekâdashî day, Mâdhvas observe a sacred ritual of initiation by embossing the sacred seals on their foreheads, chests and arms by way of heated mudrâ-s.

On this day, the sudarshana homa is arranged in Sri Krishna MaTha. Silver seals of chakra and shankha are heated in the sacred fire and they are stamped first o n the chest, forehead and shoulders of the Swamiji and then on the chest, forehead and shoulders of the devotees present. This is a sort of initiation that many undergo every year.

Devotees from far off places come to Udupi to participate in this ceremony on this day. They take a holy bath in the Madhva-sarovara, undergo the ritual mudrâ-dhâraNâ and return to their places of residence. Even women and children get initiated in this manner.

From this day onward the next month, the shâka vrata -- a ritual dietary restriction -- is observed. The eating of vegetables and chillies is forbidden for the duration. Only green gram, black gram, and such other items are used for cooking.


On the full moon day of âshâDha, the paryâya Swamiji takes a ceremonial shave and this is the commencement of châturmâsya or staying in a fixed place for a period of four fortnights.

After the daily rituals are over, the Swamiji holds a tray containing sacred clay and firewood, and addresses the assembled devotees thus.

      praayeNa praavR^ishi praaNi saN^kulam vartma dR^ishyate  |
      atasteshaamahimsaarthaM pakshaavai shrutichodanaat.h   |
      sthaasyaamashchaturomaasaanatraivaasati baadhake  ||

To this the householders present reply, `Please do stay here and grace us by your presence.'

During the next two months the scholars chant the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhâgavata and the works of Sriman Madhvacharya.

Now-a-days, instead of the full-moon day of âshâDha, the châturmâsya starts from the fifth day of the dark fortnight of âshâDha. This coincides with the anniversary of passing of Sri Tîkâchârya (Sri Jayatîrtha).

During the Ekâdashî fasting days of this period a special worship known as jâgara pûjâ takes place in the nights. After the râtri pûjâ the Swamiji carries on his head a tray containing a tuLasî. He dances chanting the glory of the Lord. The musicians and attendants dance and sing devotional songs and then the scholars chant the sacred epics until late into the night. (Ekadashî nights are meant to be spent awake in the study of scripture and chanting of prayers, etc., in addition to the whole day and night being spent fasting.)

Special discourses on the sacred epics are arranged in three places: (1) the platform in the Madhva-sarovara, (2) the room known as simhâsana in front of the seat known as the Madhva-pîTha and (3) in the candrashâlâ near the southern door of the shrine of Hanuman.

These arrangements are made so that the chanting of the sacred texts can be heard from the time the devotees take their bath in the Madhva-sarovara until they leave the temple after taking the darshana of Sri Krishna.

Apart from the châturmâsya, the chanting of sacred texts takes place every day in the chandrashâlâ. As well as this, special chanting takes place in the simhâsana. They also take place everyday throughout the year in the chauki during the time of the mid-day meal.

Sri Jayatîrtha's `puNya tithi'

Sri Jayatîrtha's anniversary of passing falls on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of âshâDha. As the great commentator upon Sri Madhva's works (such as the commentary on the Ishâvâsya Upanishad), Sri Jayatîrtha is known as Tîkâchârya, and is loved and respected by all Mâdhvas. It is for this reason that the system of commencing the châturmâsya on this day came into vogue.

Sri Jayatîrtha's anniversary is celebrated in Udupi by the chanting of the Nyâya Sudhâ and his other works, and by lectures and discourses upon them. A special feast is also arranged.

Nâga Panchamî

This is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month shrâvaNa. The serpent god is worshipped on this day in the Subramanya shrine which is located in front of the BaDagu MâLige.


The thread-renewal ceremony for those belonging to the clan known as Rg Vedî-s takes place on the shrâvaNa star day in the month of simha. Those who belong to Yajur Veda branch celebrate this on the full moon day of the month of simha. On the day of the star hastâ in the month of simha the men belonging to Sâma Veda branch celebrate their upâkarma. This usually comes in the lunar month of bhâdrapada.

The Krishna MaTha celebrates all these three upâkarma rituals. The people belonging to all these three branches and residing around the town of Udupi participa te in these rituals and wear new sacred thread.

The Rgupâkarma is celebrated in the Ananteswara temple and the Yajurupâkarma is (also) celebrated in the Chandramaulishvara temple.

Though the ceremony of changing the sacred thread does not apply to the Swamiji-s their ritual stick does have the sacred thread with it and hence it is to be changed. The Swamijis of Udupi perform this ritual on the day of Rgupâkarma.

This section is due to Raymond Crawford. Much of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryâya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tîrtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya.


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Created May 21, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.