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The Legend of Udupi Paryaya

    Categories: Udupi

Udupi Paryaya – so, you have heard that this year is going to be very special for Udupi due to the Paryaya. And, now you are eager to know what Paryaya is?

Udupi Srikrishna Temple. Image courtesy Rkrish67

What is Udupi Paryaya

It is the bi-annual celebration of the Ashta matthas (eight monasteries) of Udupi that signifies the transfer of responsibility from one Swamiji (head priest) to the other. But, this will be a disgrace to the holy culture and interesting story behind this one of its kind festival. So let me take you on the interesting journey of the Udupi Paryaya and make you feel the divinity of Udupi, a city that has become synonymous to the Krishna Matthas.

Udupi Paryaya – Legends

The story begins somewhere around the 13th century. A huge ship was being loaded with sandalwood logs to be transported from Dwarka, the kingdom of Lord Krishna. The sandalwood loaded ship traveled a long distance and the journey was going very smooth. But suddenly the sea waves started being fiercer every moment and the ship lost its way. The sailor, the sandalwood merchant and the helpers on the ship all feared for their life and started praying the lord of Dwarka to help them.

The gate to Udupi. Image courtesy Vinayaraj

The Saint Madhvacharya

Here a saint named Madhvacharya was sleeping peacefully in his monastery in Udupi. He was suddenly awakened by a dream that told him to save the ship caught in the storm near the coast of Karnataka. The holy saint taking it as an order from the Supreme Lord rushed towards the sea-shore. There he used his saffron robe as a flag to direct the ship towards the land. The ship reached the coast without damage. The merchant offered Madhvacharya to take anything from the ship as a thanking gift. The saint initially refused the gift but on merchant’s repeated request he said he will take two logs of sandalwood as a token gift.

Malpe Beach, Udupi. Image courtesy Shravan Kamath94

It turned out that the two sandalwood logs were actually idols of Lord Krishna and his brother Balarama that were so much covered with sandalwood offered by the devotees that the merchant mistakenly took them as sandalwood logs. The saint installed the statue of Balarama in a temple at Malpe Beach and brought the Krishna idol to install it in his monastery at Udupi.

According to the legends, the Supreme Lord himself came to live in Udupi on the request of Madhvacharya, one of the greatest saint and philosopher of Hinduism. This made Udupi Vaikuntha (lord’s abode) on Earth.

Rituals of Udupi Paryaya

All the rituals of the monasteries were designed and dictated by Madhvacharya. When the saint felt the need to retire he passed on his responsibilities to eight of his direct disciples. Each disciple was given the position of Swamiji of the individual monasteries and each of them had to take turns for doing thirteen rituals daily for the Krishna Temple. Earlier the chance was rotated in two months i.e. each Swamiji had to do take the responsibility of the temple for two months.

The tradition has now been modified and each Swamiji gets 2 years of Paryaya i.e. the responsibility of the temple. After the end of his tenure, he passes on the responsibility to the next Swamiji.

The ritual or the responsibility passing ceremony is held on 18th January of every even year. So, it is going to be held with great pomp and show on 18th January 2018.

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