When the time comes to go on a pilgrimage to the places of intense interest for Mâdhva-s, Udupi is the place to use as home base. There are seven famous centres of pilgrimage in the North and South Kanara districts known as Tulunad.
roupyapiiTham kumaaraadriH kumbhaasii cha dhvajeshvaraH | kruuDagokarNamuukaambaaH saptaitaa mokshadaayikaaH ||
raupya pîTha (Udupi), kumârâdri (Subrahmanya), kumbhâsi (Kumbhasi), dhvajeshvara (Koteswar), kruuDa (Shankaranarayana), gokarNa (Gokarna) and muukâmbâ (Kollur) are the seven givers-of-mukti (holy places).
From Gokarna in the north of Tulunad to Subrahmanya in the south is a distance of some 200 miles. Gokarna is in North Kanara while Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kumbhasi, Koteswar, Shankaranarayana and Kollur are in South Kanara. Gokarna is in the region of one hundred miles to the north of Udupi and Subrahmanya approximately one hundred miles to the south.
The meaning and origin of the word `Udupi':
Udupi is known as oDipu in the Tulu language. Narayana Panditacharya in his notes called Bhâva Prakasha on the Sumadhva Vijaya records thus:
rajatapiiThapurasya oDipu ityapabhrashhTa saMGYaa
The modern name Udupi must have developed from this ancient folk name.
A different etymology is provided by certain other scholars, but there is not too much credence given to it. According to them the original Sanskrit name is derived from uDupa (uDu 'star' + pa 'lord') -- lord of the stars, namely, the moon. Udupi then refers to Shiva, who bears the moon on his head. Since there is the ancient temple of Chandramaulishwara in Udupi, the place may have been known by the name Udupi, after its ancient deity.
It is quite evident that this idea developed very recently. The author of the Sumadhva Vijaya opines that the word is of Tulu origin. The word `Udupi' also does not seem to have been associated with Shiva anywhere else in the Sanskrit literature.
Even if the word is to be considered to be originating from a Sanskrit root, one can provide a better explanation and etymology. `Udupi' also means boat or raft in Sanskrit:
uDupaM tu plavaH kolaH
The word `Udupi' can then mean a place to which Lord Krishna came
(from Dwârakâ) by boat.
The Tulu word oDipu can also be associated with a more or less similar meaning. There is a temple at Malpe which is known as oDabhaaNDiishvara. There appears to be some kind of relationship between the words oDabhaaNDa and oDipu. Its Kannada version is `Udupa'. The root element of all these words is oDepu, meaning "cracking," or "breaking." Until the secret of this word is cracked, the origin of the modern word Udupi will remain shrouded in mystery.
This temple at Malpe is well worth a visit and appears to be of great vintage. It is only a short distance to the beach from the temple and so it is possible to walk to where Sri Madhva saved the ship carrying the icon of Sri Krishna from being wrecked during a storm.
The beach itself is quite pleasant to walk along. At one time cargo ships that had been decommissioned were drawn up on the beach and cut up for scrap. This was some distance to the south but was very interesting to watch.
Shivaruupya - Shivalli
The original name of the village of Udupi is Shivalli. Later on an
attempt was made to Sanskritize this name into Shivaruupya because
Shiva dwelt there. The author of the (Su)Madhva Vijaya refers to
vedaadrisad.h rajatapiiThapureshvaraabhyaam.h |
graamo vibhuushitataraH shivaruupyanaamaa ||
(Su. Vi. II-10)
"The village stretching up to Indrali Hills in the East (presentday Manipal) and presided over by Lord Ananteshwara is known as Shivaruupya."
There is a popular legend which tells us how this ancient village became Shiva's village in ancient times:
King Râmabhoja decided to perform a sacrifice and so began to plough the land in preparation. A serpent was hit by the plough and died on the spot. To atone for this sin the king constructed four shrines in the four corners of the village.
The four serpent shrines are known as muchchilkoDu, maangoDu, arikoDu and taangoDu. Actually these are Skanda shrines. About two miles to the South-East on the way to Alevoor is the muchchilkoDu shrine near KukkikaTTe. This shrine which is under the jurisdiction of Sri Pejawar Mutt has been renovated beautifully and the area looks like a peaceful hermitage. Another Skanda shrine is located at maangoDu about three miles to the South West of Udupi. This is also renovated nicely. About three miles to the North-East of Udupi by the side of Puttur temple on the National Highway is the arikoDu shrine. This is in very bad condition as the walls have collapsed. Also, there is no approach road.
The place known as taangoDu which is supposed to be in the North-East corner of the village has not yet been located. It needs to be identified and renovated. In the middle of the village King Râmabhoja worshipped Lord Parashurâma in the form of a Shivalinga on a silver seat. This temple is now known to us as Ananteshwara.
When Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Parashurâma on this Earth he was "trained" by Shiva in the art of archery. To commemorate this student-teacher drama, Lord Vishnu wanted to get himself identified with the linga so that both the teacher and the student were worshipped simultaneously by the devotees. Sriman Narayana, reclining on a serpent, came down to this temple and stayed in the linga. This is a rather unusual incident and the concept of Ananteshwara came to vogue as a result of this.
Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha, in his masterpiece Tîrtha Prabandha
extols Ananteshwara in this way:
ivaantaryaamitaaM sviiyaaM priyaan.h prati nibodhayan.h |
dayaavaarinidhiH shaiviiM shilaamaashritya shobhate |
iiSasyaahiiSapadaviim bhaasayanniva bhaaviniim.h |
adhyaaste sheshashayanaH snigdhaaM liN^gashilaam.h
(Tî Pra. I.14-15)
'The Almighty Lord got himself merged in this Shivalinga to proclaim to the devotees that he rests in the soul of Shiva also. To prove this cosmic truth Vishnu rests in this Shivalinga.'
Before the birth of Sri Madhva, his father, Nadillâya (a.k.a. Madhya-geha BhaTTa), had worshipped this Deity to beget a male child. It is believed that he used to pray to Lord Bhujangashayana enshrined in this idol. Narayana Pandita makes a reference to this in his commentary Bhâva Prakâshika on the Sumadhva Vijaya:
svadarshanoruvratine nishiite | praaptaaya bhogiindragato hariH prabhuH | svaM darshayitvaa khalu kuJNjamaadhava | dvijaaya tadvat.h pratimaaM vyadhaapayat.h ||
Even now the deity is known as Ananteshwara, Anantâsana and Anantapadmanâbha. `Ananta' means the serpent Shesha. Hence Ananteshwara means the Lord Narayana reclining on a serpent. Ananta is also another name of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu enshrined in the Sivalinga came to be designated as Ananteshwara.
Ananteshwara was a famous temple and pilgrim centre of this region. It was also a centre of Vedantic philosophy and formed a suitable background for the advent of Sriman Madhvacharya.
It was because of this temple that the place was ranked as foremost among the seven centres of pilgrimage. One should not forget that the Nadillaya couple could beget an illustrious son who was destined to be the great Achârya only because of their twelve years of worship at the foot of this deity Bhujangashayana ("the one who reclines on a serpent"). Hence this temple has great historic significance.
Sri Madhva used to sit in the Ananteshwara temple and teach his disciples. Even today the place where he used to sit is considered to be a holy shrine. The plank where he used to sit is still there but there is no icon of Sri Madhva. At one time a beautiful icon had been prepared to be installed here, but when the time of installation came around, Sri Madhva appeared in a dream and ordered, 'Please do not put any stone on me,' thus indicating that he was always and already present there. To this day the stone icon is kept outside and the devotees offer worship to the seat itself.
This shrine is very difficult for the devotee to see. One is not allowed to enter inside the temple itself, and the only way to see this place is through a small window on the southern side of the outer enclosure of the temple.
The Ananteshwara temple is an amazing place. As one enters from the street, one can see the huge linga which is deep inside the temple and lit by oil lamps. Inside the temple, but closer to the front, there is a small icon of Ganapati. To come here and pay respects to Lord Ananteshwara is a very calming experience and it is very easy for the hours to simply slip by without one noticing it.
When you step back and take in the view at the temple you can only marvel at the huge slabs of granite which make up the roof. It is the largest temple in this region in both its shape and its historic significance.
To the east of the Ananteshwara temple stands a smaller temple wherein presides Shiva, known as Chandramaulishvara. Because the temple is a very ancient one, precious little is known about its history.
This temple of Chandramaulishvara is smaller than that of Ananteshwara. To enter this temple one has to descend steps. It appears that originally there must have been a tank in that place which was later filled up with mud and a temple built on top of the fill.
We read in the Madhva Vijaya that the temple was originally known as muuDu devaalaya (mahendra digâlaya). Since it was on the Eastern side of the Chief temple Ananteshwara, it came to be referred to as the Eastern temple.
There is a special tradition the devotees participate in before entering the shrine of Lord Krishna. First they must visit Chandramauleshvara and then they go on to Ananteshwara. From there they proceed to Sri Krishna Mutt. Sri Vishvapati Tîrtha in his commentary on the Madhva Vijaya records this custom:
rajatapiiThapure amaraalayadvayaM vartate | tatra puurvaalayasthaH prathamato namyaH | pashchimaalayasthaH pashchaannamya iti sampradaaya niyamaH ||
'There are two temples, the Eastern one and the Western one. One must first salute Lord Shiva at the Eastern temple and then go to Lord Ananteshwara in the Western temple. This is the custom followed here.'
Even now the Udupi ashhTa-maTha Swamiji-s visit the temple in this order before they ceremoniously take charge of the management of Sri Krishna Mutt during the paryâya festival.
This section is due to Raymond Crawford, with some additional notes by Chetan S. Bhargiri. 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.
Created April 22, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.