Udipi temple - traditional change of Swamiji and Mutt !!

Sri Madwacharyariy and his disciples with  krishna's idol poornaprajna.org

Above image:  Sri Madwacharya holding sri Krishna's stone idol made of saligram and his young disciples.

Ratha or Chariot in front of Sri Krishna Temple,Udipi.udipikrishnamutt.com

Udupi Sri Krishna Matha,  one among the foremost  famous  Sri krishna temples in India is in Udipi, in the Distrrict of Udipi in Western Karnataka. Udipi  is part of "Parasuram kshetra" and has a history of 700 years. Thousands of people visit this holy place to seek the blessings of Bala Krishna (Krishna in child form)

Navagraha kindi - nine small windows for darshan of sri. Krishna. udipi..salagram.net

Udipi is a Sanskrit word - 'Udu' means stars, 'pa' means lord of; hence the name implies Lord of stars. Here the star is the Moon.  According to one legend, Udipi was ruled by one Ramboja, a disciple of Parasurama, incarnation  of Lord Vishnu. Parasurama created a land in between Kokarna and Kanyakumari and made his close disciple Ramboji the King of this place. This place is also called Roopya Peetha which later became known as Udipi.

Sri Madhyacharya, who  was born in a small  village near Udipi on a Vijayadasami day in 1238 AD became an ascetic (Sanyasi) at a tender age of 12. At later stage he became a proponent of Dwaita philosophy that had considerable impact on a section of Hindu population. Before his pilgrimage to Badrinath in the north in  1317 AD (since then he never returned to Udipi), he established the Sri Krishna temple. So, Madhyacharya is the founder of this temple. His sets of rules, temple rituals, festivals and puja  are still being followed by the temple administration.

Ratha or Chariot in front of Sri Krishna Temple,Udipi.en.wikipedia.org

Sri Madhwacharya, being a stickler for discipline with respect to  daily puja protocols, rituals, etc., established eight Mutts called "Ashta Mutt."   Since the establishment of  mutts, the custom has been that  the head of each mutt has to run the administration, conduct puja protocols, etc., in accordance with  the  rules and traditions being followed by the mutt. etc  and accordingly their tenure will be for two consecutive years by rotation. The head of the mutt is responsible for mutt activities during that period.

Of  all the  Ustsavas associated with Sri Krishna temple the "Paryaya" is of great religious importance. During  this time, there will be a change of Acharya or chief of Mutt. Old Mutt administration will hand over the rights to administer, conduct puja, etc., to the new Mutt and its head - chief Acharya. The duration of the new Mutt's authority will be for two years only. All eight mutts will get a chance to run the temple and thus, a Mutt with its head has  to wait for 16 years for their next turn of management.  

In the earlier days, the duration of time was just only two months. Sawamiji  Sri Vadiraj changed this rule to two years for better management of temple. This change of Swamiji and Mutt every two years is referred to as "Paryaya." This Mahautchava or great festival will be held on the 17th and 18th of January of alternate years, that is 2008, 2010, 2012 and so on.
Sri Krishna temple  main entrance,Udipi.en.wikipedia.org

The Paryaya festival is not only open to people who follow Madhwa Sampradhyam (tradition) but also to other communities.  The festival will attract more than 2 to 3 lakhs (200,000 to 300,00) of people across Karnataka.  For the worship of Sri Krishna, Sri Madhwachara chose 8 young children and gave them Sanyasa in 1317 AD; he made them become ascetics (renunciation of materialistic life, following strict discipline, learning of  Veda Sastras, language skills in Sanskrit, conduct of pujas / prayers, etc). Thus, he established Moola Peethas  ( primary Peetams/Mutts). Subsequently Sri Vadiaj Swamiji changed  certain rules and made one Paryaya Swamiji responsible for temple management, Nithya (daily) puja, free food, etc. During the Paryaya festival the new Swamiji of the Mutt on the midnight will go to Danda Thertha (Kaappu) and finish bathing. Next day by 5 Am he will come to Jodukattu. Here all the other Swamijis of the Mutts will gather there on the Rath Beedi (Car street). After darshan  of Sri Krishna through Kanak-kindi, the new head will visit other near-by temples. After visiting the Sri Krishna temple water tank - Madwa Sarovar, hwill come to Sri Krishna temple and do Deva puja, etc. After exchanging silver ladle, he will ascend the Peetha /Mutt.

The eight Mathas  established by Sri Madhwacharya are   Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura with each Mutt headed by a chief Arharya. The head of the  current Mutt and the Mutt are in charge of running the temple, its daily affairs, puja timings, temple festivals, revenue from temple properties, annual maintenance of the temple and its related buildings  service to devotees free food - Annadhnam to the vistors regardless of caste, etc between 11 am to 11 pm daily, etc. Services to the lord should be done with utter devotion and commitments and will be done till the next mutt head takes the responsibilty after two years.

An interesting aspect of this traditional change of temple management under new head periodically  is not being  followed by other  Hindu mutts such as the Ahobila mutt, A.P Sri Andavan Swamigal of Srirangam (both Vaishinava mutts), T.N., the mutts of Sankarachariar of Kanchi, T.N.,  Sringeri, Karnataka and Puri, Odisha. Even some Aadheenams  (of Shavite mutt) in the districts of Thanjavur, Madurai and else where don't follow this rare tradition.


.Adamaru Paryaya 2020.Udupi Paryaya procession.  youtube.com

Paryaya,  a unique  religious ritual associated with Sri Krishna temple, Udipi  takes place every alternate year. The responsibility of  pujas  and administration of Krishna Matha is shared among the heads (seer or monk or pontiff) of Ashta Matha's established by Sri Madhvacharya centuries ago. Each swamiji of every mutt gets chance to perform puja to Udupi Sri Krishna by rotation for a period of two years.