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The Pre-Paryaya Tour

paryaaya-puurva sanchaara

Once he begins his paryaaya, the Swamiji does not leave Udupi for the whole of the next two years. In fact, great efforts are made so as to see that he does not leave Krishna Mutt itself. Because of this two-year confinement, about five months before the paryaaya ceremony, the Swamiji goes on pilgrimage to the different holy places in both south and north India. While on this pilgrimage he meets with disciples of Sri Madhva wherever he can and invites them to the paryaaya festival. During this tour of pilgrimage, the devotees invite the Swamiji to visit them so they can honor him. They also contribute generously towards the expenses of the forthcoming paryaaya.

The Swamiji visits places of pilgrimage from Kanyakumari to Badarinath and offers prayers and service to the Deities in those places in order to obtain blessings for the smooth running of the tenure of his paryaaya. This tour of pilgrimage is known as paryaya-puurva sanchaara. On an auspicious day the Swamiji offers special prayers to his Mutt Deities and begins the pilgrimage. He visits such places as Kanyakumari, Rameshwara, Tirupati, Mathura, Vrindavan, Dwaraka, Gaya, Kashi, Prayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badari, Hampi, etc.

Upon returning to his district, he visits the pilgrim centres of the district and then, on an auspicious day, he enters Udupi.

pura pravesha

Some ten to fifteen days prior to the paryaaya festival the Swamiji enters Udupi at the conclusion of his tour of pilgrimage. This is a time of great pomp and ceremony and the town of Udupi is decorated to welcome him. A large crowd gathers at the "joDu kaTTe" at the Udupi-Mangalore road to welcome him. If he enters Udupi from the Shimoga side, the reception is arranged near the Kadiyali temple which is on the Udupi-Karkal road.

As soon as the Swamiji reaches the place of welcome, he is garlanded by the leaders and dignitaries of the town. Flowers and fried rice are sprinkled on the route he will take to travel from the `manTapa' at the joDu kaTTe to the Car Street. The Swamiji is carried on a decorated chariot and his Mutt icons are carried on a decorated palanquin. This is a joyous procession and very colorful to watch -- effigies of the great saints in the tradition are also carried in procession, musicians play joyous music, scholars walk along chanting hymns from the Vedas, and a large joyful crowd of devotees follow.

The streets along the way to the Car Street are colourfully decorated and there are arches and manTap-s constructed along the route. These are named in honour of the previous piiThaadhipati-s of that Mutt.

Upon reaching the Car Street, the Swamiji offers prayers in the Chandreshwara and Ananteshwara temples before entering Krishna Mutt where he offers prayers to Sri Krishna. From here he goes to his own Mutt where the ritual of offering prayers to the nine planets is performed at the entrance. Later on, in a public function held on the Car Street, the citizens and devotees honour the Swamiji and offer him felicitations. He is profusely garlanded by the devotees. At this function the Swamiji outlines his plans and the projects he intends to undertake during his paryaaya-term. He then asks the devotees gathered there for their cooperation so his goals may be achieved.

hore kaaNike

One or two days before the paryaaya festival begins, the devotees bring in procession the large quantities of rice, jaggery, pulses (lentils), vegetables, coconuts, and other things needed for the mass feeding of devotees during the paryaaya festival. These are donated to the Swamiji's MaTha. The bringing of these in procession in trucks, carts, and by the head load through the different streets of Udupi is an impressive sight. The Swamiji accepts these contributions and blesses the devotees.


This is an important ceremony although not a large public one. Both the outgoing and incoming paryaaya Swamiji-s donate rice and vegetables to the other MaTha-s in Udupi. These are taken out in procession and delivered to the different Mutts. This is arranged because all the devotees and pilgrims visiting Udupi for the paryaaya festival must be fed and looked after properly. For this reason a contribution is given by the Swamiji-s to the different Mutts as a token of cooperation.

This section is by Raymond Crawford. Some of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryaaya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya

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Created October 4, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.