Annual Calendar of Festivals
in the line of
the Madhwa Vaishnavas

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 accord ing to the solar calender.  Here, in Krishna Mutt, the solar system is more popular and hence Yugaadi, 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.

Raama Navamii

Sri Raama 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 puurNimaa, special dishes are offered to the icon.  It is a day of festivity at the shrine of Mukhya PraaNa also.

Kuurma Jayanti

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

Akshaya tritiiyaa

The third day in the bright fortnight of vaishaakha 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 Tiirtha, the sixth piiThaadhipati in the lineage of Sri Pejawar Mutt. He is famous for his commentatory upon the Srimad Bhaagavata epic.  He lived in the 15th century and his vrindavana is in Kanva Tiirtha. 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 puuja.


From akshayatR^itiiyaa to the full moon day of the month of Vaishaakha a special vasantotsava, or the festival of spring, is arranged every day.  The maNTapa puuja 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 Dvaadashii

On a twelfth day in the brighter fortnight of vaishaakha, Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Veda Vyaasa through Satyavati. At about 3:00 P.M., a special festival is arranged.  The utsava muurti (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 paryaaya-s of those MaTha-s.

Bhaagiirathii Janmadina

Bhaagiirathii, 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 Bhagiiratha (hence the name, Bhaagiirathii). A special puujaa is arranged at the shrine of Bhaagiirathi beside the Madhva-sarovara.  A car festival is arranged in the evening.


On the tenth day of the bright fortnight of aashaaDha 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 Shaaligraama 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 aashaaDha is known as prathamaikaadashii, or shayanii Ekaadashii.  The period covering the next four months is known as the chaaturmaasya.  It is believed that during this period, the Lord Vishnu reposes on His serpent-bed Adi-shesha in what is known as the `yoga-nidraa' (literally meaning "the sleep of yoga").

On this Ekaadashii day, Maadhvas observe a sacred ritual of initiation by embossing the sacred seals on their foreheads, chests and arms by way of heated mudraa-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 mudraa-dhaaraNa and return to their places of residence.  Even women and children get initiated in this manner.

From this day onward the next month, the shaaka 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 aashaaDha, the paryaaya Swamiji takes a ceremonial shave and this is the commencement of chaaturmaasya 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  ||

      It is the rainy season.  The paths are full of insects.  We shall
      restrict our movements so that they are not hurt.  As per a
      statement of Shruti, a fortnight (of scriptural practice) is
      considered as equal to a month.  We propose to spend four
      fortnights here in a fixed place so that no harm be caused to
      living beings.

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, Bhaagavata and the works of Sriman Madhvacharya.

Now-a-days, instead of the full-moon day of aashaaDha, the chaaturmaasya starts from the fifth day of the dark fortnight of aashaaDha.  This coincides with the anniversary of passing of Sri Tiikaachaarya (Sri Jaya Tiirtha).

During the Ekaadashii fasting days of this period a special worship known as jaagara puujaa takes place in the nights.  After the raatri puujaa the Swamiji carries on his head a tray containing a TuLasii. 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. (Ekadashii 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 simhaasana in front of the seat known as the Madhva-piiTha and (3) in the candrashaalaa 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 Chaaturmaasya, the chanting of sacred texts takes place every day in the chandrashaalaa.  As well as this, special chanting takes place in the simhaasana. They also take place everyday throughout the year in the chauki during the time of the mid-day meal.

Sri Jaya Tiirtha's `puNya tithi'

Sri Jaya Tiirtha's anniversary of passing falls on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of aashaaDha.  As the great commentator upon Sri Madhva's works, Sri Jaya Tiirtha is known as Tiikaachaarya, and is loved and respected by all Maadhvas. It is for this reason that the system of commencing the Chaaturmaasya on this day came into vogue.

Sri Jaya Tiirtha's anniversary is celebrated in Udupi by the chanting of the Nyaaya Sudhaa and his other works, and by lectures and discourses upon them. A special feast is also arranged.

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


The thread-renewal ceremony for those belonging to the clan known as Rg Vedii-s takes place on the shraavaNa 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 hastaa in the month of simha the men belonging to Saama Veda branch celebrate their upaakarma.  This usually comes in the lunar month of bhaadrapada.

The Krishna MaTha celebrates all these three upaakarma 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 Rgupaakarma is celebrated in the Ananteswara temple and the Yajurupaakarma 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 Rgupaakarma.

Hayagriiva Jayanti

The full moon day of shraavaNa is celebrated as Hayagriiva Jayanti.  It was on this day that the Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Hayagriiva on this Earth.  This is an especially important festival of Sri Sode Mutt. During the paryaaya of other MaTha-s also, special rituals are performed by offering the special dish of `Hayagriiva maDDi' which is a favorite of Sri Hayagriiva.

The same day pavitraaropaNa is also performed.  Silken threads are folded into three and then 12, 24, or 36 pavitra knots are tied.  This is then placed on the icon like a garland.  This is known as pavitraaropaNa.  It is believed that by offering this garland, demerits or bad effects accrued due to any shortcomings or defects in the ceremonies and rituals performed that year are warded off.  This thread is also known as Kalki daara.

After offering these threads to Sri Krishna, they are sent to other MaTha-s along with prasaada, and are also distributed to householders.

Dadhi vrataarambha

From the twelfth day in the bright fortnight of shraavaNa to the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada the people observe dadhivrata. During this time the devotees abstain from eating curds.

Anniversary of Sri Raghavendra Swami

The anniversary of Sri Raghavendra Swami falls on the second day of the dark fortnight in the month of shraavaNa. The paryaaya Swamiji offers special services to the saint and arranges a feast.  Seminars and discourses take place. A three-day festival is also arranged in the shrine of Sri Raghavendra Tiirtha.

Sri Krishna Jayanti

The eighth day in the dark fortnight of the month of simha is the day of incarnation of Sri Krishna.  If the RohiNii star is on at midnight the day is known by the name janmaashhTami.

Those who follow the lunar calender celebrate this on the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the lunar month of shraavaNa.  Those who follow the solar calender celebrate it on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the solar month of simha.  This may fall either in the month of shraavaNa or bhaadrapada.  It may be noted that the star RohiNii appears on the eighth day in the month of simha.  Hence the solar calendar appears to be more appropriate to follow in celebrating the festival, and is followed in Udupi.

Sri Krishna Jayanti is celebrated with great pomp and ceremony in Udupi.  The devotees fast during the day and scholars chant Bhagavad-giitaa, Bhagavat, and other sacred texts. In Sri Krishna MaTha, the icon of Sri Krishna is decorated as a young child.

At midnight, as the moon rises, dishes such as chakkuli and laddige are offered to the icon of Sri Krishna and sacred leaves of bilva are offered.  Water and milk are poured with shaNkha (conch-shell) by the devotees.  As per tradition, cowherds from the nearby villages also offer arghya of water and milk in front of the icon of Sri Krishna.

The rituals offered to Sri Krishna which take place in the early morning of the next day are like those offered on a dvaadashii day.

Note: In the homes of the devotees, Sri Krishna Jayanti is celebrated with great piety. They fast throughout the day and in the night, as midnight approaches, they perform abhisheka to the family icon. After the midnight pooja they then break their fast.

Mosaru kuDike

During the day the Car Street fills with devotees who have come to celebrate the birth of Sri Krishna. It is a festival celebrating Sri Krishna's sport, fun, and frolic. The utsava muurti (processional icon) of Sri Krishna is taken around the Car Street on the golden palanquin.

Mud pots, known as mosaru kuDike, which contain turmeric and saffron water, are suspended from wooden poles.  Devotees, dressed as cowherds, jump and hit at the pots with sticks in an attempt to break them. This is to celebrate the pastime of Krishna when He broke butter pots and ate their contents.
In Udupi, the icon of Sri Krishna holds a churning rod and rope, and so this re-enactment of breaking the butter pots by the people celebrates an important episode from the childhood pastimes of Krishna. For this reason it is celebrated with much pomp, festivity and fun.

Fancy dress parades relating to the childhood pastimes of Sri Krishna take place in the Car Street. Also appearing are dancers dressed as tigers and bears and so on, as a sort of service to Lord Krishna on his birthday.  The Swamijis of all MaTha-s give presents and remuneration to these performers.

Ganesha chaturthi

The fourth day in the bright fortnight of the month of bhaadrapada is celebrated as the festival of Lord Ganesha.  A special puujaa is performed to Ganapati. This puujaa is also offered to Sri Vishnu through the elephant-faced god.

The icon of Ganapati made of clay by artists of Udupi is brought to baDage maaLige during an auspicious period on that day.  The entire area is decorated artistically with different kinds of decorations. A huge rangavalli of Ganesha is constructed in front of the icon. This is a feast to the eyes for the next four days.

After worshipping the special Ganapati icon for four days the icon is taken out in procession and then immersed in the Madhva-Sarovara.

At the entrance of the shrine also there is a small icon of Ganapati.  Special worship is arranged there to the Lord Vishnu in the form of Sri Vishvambhara.  The priests perform a sacrifice known as gaNahoma.  The Swamiji offers prasaada of Lord Vishvambhara to Ganapati and performs aarati.

A special icon of Ganapati made of five metals is present at Ananteshwara and is worshipped every day.  Here also, the festival of Ganesha is celebrated with pomp.

There is a very interesting story in connection with this Ganapati, but I have forgotten the full details. I was going to mention it in the chapter containing the initial reference to Ananteshwara but because of incomplete memory of the story I didn't. It goes along the lines -- the icon had been worshipped in a fort (can't remember where) and when the fort was attacked by marauding Muslims the icon was removed and eventually placed in the Ananteshwara temple for safe keeping. Even after the Muslims had been driven back, the icon remained in the Ananteshwara temple.

There is also one story about Lord Krishna regarding Ganesh Chaturthii. It is said that one who looks at the Moon on Ganesha Chaturthii will be accused of being a theif. And it came to pass that Krishna did look at the Moon on this Caturthii and was later accused of stealing the Shyamantaka jewell.

During Ganesha-chaturthii, special festivals are held here during the night and it is a magnificent sight. The whole of the temple is lit up with oil lamps and the people queue up to view the icon. Because of all the oil lamps this is the best time to view the icon.

Bhuuvaraaha jayanti

The fifth day in the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada is celebrated as Bhuuvaraaha Jayanti. In Sri Krishna Mutt, special dishes of roots and bulbs are offered to the icon. In Sode MaTha, a special festival is arranged as Sri Bhuuvaraaha is the presiding Deity there.

Kalki Jayanti

The sixth day in the bright fortinight of bhaadrapada is celebrated with special services to Sri Vishnu in the form of Kalki. This will be the day when He will appear in the future.

Dadhi Vaamana Jayanti

It was on the twelfth day in the bright fortnight of bhaadrapada that Sri Vishnu took the incarnation of Vaamana and came down to earth. The icon of Sri Krishna is decorated as the small boy Vaamana.  Special naivedya of curd and rice is offered.  A good feast is arranged for the devotees.

After observing a month's diet restrction of avoiding curds, people start taking yogurt on this day. The period beginning from this day onward, up to the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of aashvayuja, is known as kshiira vrata. During this time milk is not to be partaken of.

Ananta chaturdashii

The fourteenth day in the bright fortnight of the month of bhaadrapada is known as anantana vrata.  The Lord Ananta Padmanaabha is invoked in a pot filled with water and decorated with coconut and flowers.  Special puuja is celebrated with fourteen varieties of dishes.


From the first day to the ninth day in the bright fortnight of ashvayuja, the icon of Sri Krishna is decorated with the costumes of the goddesses such as Shrii, Bhuu, Durgaa, Satyabhaamaa, and Saraswatii.

All the works of Sri Madhva are chanted by the scholars during the days of Navaratri.

Pustaka puujaa

The volumes of holy scriptures are worshipped during the period of the stars muulaa to shravaNa, commencing from the sixth or seventh day of navaraatra and going up to the ninth or tenth day in that fortnight. In the northern corner of the hall known as candrashaale, palm leaf manuscripts are arranged in a nicely decorated maNTapa. Sri Veda Vyaasa and the goddess Saraswati are worshipped as guardian angels of learning and scholarship.

At the conclusion of the mahaapuujaa on each of these days, the Swamiji performs Vyaasa puujaa and at the conclusion of the rituals on the last day, the scholars celebrate their initiation ceremony.

Vijaya dashamii

This is the festival of harvest.  Tender shoots of corn are ceremoniously brought to the shrine and worshipped.  They are then tied to the different parts and objects of the shrine.
This is the day the front gate, on the eastern side of the Mutt where the icon of Sri Chenna Keshava is installed, is opened to bring in the tender shoots. The entrance which was formerly used for going inside the shrine from the Madhva Sarovara is now used only once a year. The new rice is cooked and offered to the icon of Sri Krishna and a special feast called 'new meal' is served.

On this day a special feast is arranged at chauki.  On all the other days of the year the Swamijis sit for lunch facing south, but on this day, they sit facing east.

Buddha jayanti, and Madhva jayanti

The vijaya dashami day is also celebrated as Buddha jayanti. Vishnu is worshipped in the the form of the Buddha on this day.
Sri Madhva was born in Paajaka Kshetra on the vijaya dashami day and a special puujaa is performed to the icon of Sri Madhva in the shrine of Sri Krishna and also to the icon of the Acharya at Anantheswara.

Shamii puujaa

A procession of victory and the worship of the Samii tree are special rituals taking place the same day.  A tableau of an army is taken in a procession to the Mahisha Mardini temple at Kadiyali with all royal paraphernalia and a shamii tree is worshipped there.  The priest of the MaTha performs the ritual.  Afterwards the royal elephant of the Mutt is also worshipped.

Pashchima jaagara puujaa

For a period of one month, beginning from midnight on the tenth day of the bright fortnight of ashvayuja, and continuing up to the eleventh day in the bright fortnight of kaartika, special puujaa-s are performed daily in the late hours of the night. This ritual is known as pashchima jaagara puujaa because it is performed by remaining awake during the latter half of the night. It is performed to please Sri Kartika Damodara. Rice, jaggery, fruits and coconuts are offered and aarati is waved around the icon.

This period of one month is also observed by refraining from eating pulses (lentils). During the preceding three months of the Chaaturmaasya, vegetables, curds (yogurt) and milk have not been eaten.

Aakaasha diipa

During the month of kaartika, the sky-lamps are lit to propitiate Kartika Damodara. The stems of areca trees are set up and the light are hung from the top of these posts. Each of the eight Mutts has two of these sky-lamps, but Sri Krishna MaTha has four of them.


The ritual of worship through lamps begins on the twelfth day of the dark fortnight of the month of aashvayuja.

On the evening of the following day, an oil lamp is lit on the southern side of the shrine. During this ritual, known as yamadiipa, the priests pray to Yamaraaja, the god of death, to ward off untimely death and also to obtain prosperity for mankind.

JalapuuraNa and Ganga puujaa

On the same night the metal pot used for heating water is cleaned and decorated. A swastika is drawn on the floor by the side of the pot and Sri Ganga and Sri Trivikrama are worshipped after placing a shaaligraama upon it. The fire to warm the water is lit by the Swamiji and the pot is heated during the night.

Naraka caturdashii

At dawn on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of ashvayuja, after removing the flowers from the icon of Sri Krishna, and after the nirmaalya visarjana puujaa, the Swamiji applies oil to the icon. Sri Krishna is then washed with gram flour and hot water.  This ritual is performed to commemorate the defeat and destruction of the demon Narakaasura by Krishna. It was on this day that Sri Krishna took an oil bath before sunrise and then went to Praagjyotishha (modern day Assam) to vanquish the demon. During the day a special feast is arranged in the chauki.

The oil and gram flour offered to Lord Krishna is later distributed to the devotees present; they apply them to their body and then take a bath.

Baliindra puujaa; alakshmii nissaraNa

On either the same day or on the next day, when the new moon period occurs in the night, the devotees celebrate the baliindra festival to ward off inauspiciousness.

In the Car Street in front of Kanaka's window, the image of baliindra is drawn on the ground using coloured powder. A lamp post is also erected to ward off inauspiciousness. In Krishna Mutt, after the night's regular puujaa, and in the presence of the Swamiji, the priests worship Baliindra. Through him the worship Sri Vaamana and they also perform other rituals to ward off inauspiciousness.


The first day of the bright fortnight of kaartika is known as bali paaDya. On this day the cowshed of Krishna Mutt is cleaned, white-washed and decorated. The cows are bathed and decked with flowers. Special dishes are offered to them and aarati is performed.

TuLasii puujaa

For twelve days, beginning on the first day of the bright fortnight of kaartika and continuing up to the twelfth day, Sri Keshava and another eleven forms of Vishnu are worshipped via the TuLasii plant. This worship is performed after the raatri puujaa and is one of the most important festivals of Sri Krishna Mutt.

The TuLasii vRindaavana, which is located near the tiirtha maNTapa, is nicely decorated. All the oil lamps around the huge lamp-post which is located there are lit and musicians sing and dance around the TuLasii vR^indaavana. The Swamiji worships Sri Kartika Damodara for twelve days by twelve different names through this sacred plant.

Utthaana dvaadashii

The twelfth day in the bright fortnight of kaartika is known as utthaana dvaadashii. On this day, Sri Vishnu, who has been "sleeping" since the shayanii eekaadashii day, is "woken up." From this day onwards, a series of festivals begin in Sri Krishna MaTha.
This is also the last day of the TuLasii puujaa which has been performed for the past eleven days. The puujaa which has been held in the night time is performed this morning after the mahaa puujaa is over.


During the afternoon of the utthaana dvaadashii, the processional icon of Sri Krishna is taken out to the nicely decorated maNTapa in the middle of the Madhva-Sarovara. The ritual of pouring milk on the shaaligraama by the Swamiji takes place, and Sri Vishnu is woken up after his four months of yoga-nidraa in the milky ocean. Flowers and fruits are offered and aarati is waved.


On the day of utthaana dvaadashii, the festival of lakshadiipa begins. This festival is held for four days up until the full moon day and is one of the important festivals of Krishna Mutt.
In the evening, after the night service, the ritual of offering navagraha daana is held.  Nine types of grain are offered to the priests to please the Lord of the nine planets. Swamiji then brings out the processional icon of Sri Krishna from the sanctum sanctorum; it is then placed in a palanquin and taken in procession to the Madhva Sarovara. It is then  placed in a decorated boat and after aarati is waved by the Swamiji, the boat is rowed around the maNTapa. This festival is known as teppotsava. The crowd of devotees sits in rows around the tank and respectfully stands up as Sri Krishna passes them by. The boat goes around the sarovara three time. The oil lamps are reflected in the water and the musicians play devotional music. This is one of the nicest festivals held to worship Sri Krishna.

While Krishna is being rowed around the sarovara to the delight of His devotees, the festival icons from Ananteshwara and Chandreshwara are brought out by the priests. Sri Krishna is then brought out from the sarovara and placed in the GaruDa ratha along with the icon of Hanuman. The icons of Ananta Padmanabha and Chandramaulishwara are placed in the small chariot.

Swamiji waves aarati to Sri Krishna, Ananta Padmanabha and Chandramaulishwara, and then the devotees begin to pull the ratha-s around Car Street. The royal elephant, the pipers and musicians, and other paraphernalia go in front of the cars.  Vedic hymns are chanted as the cars move forward, and lamps are brought out and handed to the paryaaya Swamiji, who offers aarati to Krishna on behalf of all His devotees.

On both sides of the Car Street oil lamps are lit in rows. In between these thousands of lamps the two cars move gracefully. In the southern end of Car Street the cars stop and the Swamijis sit on a cloth spread on the ground. A discussion on philosophical topics is held there among the scholars assembled.
At the end of the discussion, fireworks are set off and a large cloth dipped in oil is set alight and held high in the air. This display is of great delight to the assembled devotees, especially the children.

When the cars return to Krishna Mutt, vasanta puujaa and other night rituals are performed as usual.

Chandreshvara rathotsava

The second day of the bright fortnight of the month of maargashiirsha  is observed as the annual festival of the Chandramaulishvara temple. The icons of Ananteshwara and Chandreshwara temples are placed in the GaruDa ratha and taken round the Car Street with pomp and festivity.

Subramanya shashhThi

The sixth day of the bright fortnight of maargashiirsha is known as Subramanya shashhThi or Skanda shashhThi, the birthday of Subramanya a.k.a Kaartikeya a.k.a Skanda, the son of Shiva.  A special ritual is arranged in the shrine of Subramanya.  In the forenoon the icon of Subramanya is taken round the Car Street in the garuDa ratha and a special feast is arranged in chauki.  Once in a paryaaya a special ritual known as naaga maNDala is held in the vasanta maNTapa on this day.

Dhanurmaasa puujaa

During the period of the solar month of dhanu a special puujaa is performed at dawn by offering Krishna a dish of green gram.  The devotees are fed the main meal of the day in the early morning hours, during this month.


On the day of the vyatiipaata yoga in the solar month of dhanu a special puujaa is performed in the morning by offering a dish made of green gram.


Just like dhanurvyatiipaata the day of vyatiipaata yoga in the month of dhanu is celebrated with special ritual.

MukkoTi dvaadashii

The twelfth day in the shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of maargashiirsha is celebrated as mukkoTi dvaadashii.  A special puujaa is performed that day and an offering of a dish of green gram made to Krishna.

Datta (Dattaraya) jayanti

The full moon day in the month of maagashiirsha is known as Datta jayanti.  It was on this day that Vishnu was "born" as Datta through Anasuya, the wife of sage Atri.  A special puuja is arranged for Datta on this day.


Five days before makara sankramaNa, a seven day festival begins which ends on the day after sankramaNa. During the first five days the GaruDa ratha and the small ratha are taken out on procession.
The sixth day, sankramaNa, is believed to be the anniversary day of the installation of Krishna in Udupi. To celebrate this anniversary, the biggest festival in Udupi is held. The three cars are taken out on procession. Sri Krishna rides in the brahma ratha, Mukhya PraaNa rides in the smallest, and the processional icons of Ananteshwara and Chandreshwara ride in the GaruDa ratha. Devotees from all over India and even from abroad come to witness this festival.

On the seventh day, a special festival known as suvarNotsava, or chuurNotsava, is held after the mahaa puujaa. The brahma ratha is taken out in a procession which is the last in this series of festivals.
After the icon of Sri Krishna is seated in the chariot, the Swamiji waves aarati and then throws down coconuts, oranges, bananas, coins and other objects towards the devotees.  The devotees vie with one another in catching those fruits coming down as prasaada.

Another noteworthy feature of this day is that all Swamijis and scholars join with the common folk in holding the rope and towing the Lord's chariot.  They forget their differences of opinion, status, etc., and stand as equals in this sacred task of service to Krishna.

After the procession goes around the Car Street, the Swamiji takes sacred bath in Madhva Sarovara holding the processional icon of Sri Krishna in his hands. All the devotees join together and take bath known as avabhR^ita snaana or purificatory bath.

Thousands of devotees are fed on this day, It is said that during the past the paryaaya Swamiji used to take food in RaajaangaNa along with the common devotees, but since the crowd nowadays is so large and uncontrollable, the Swamiji now takes his food in chauki. Crowds in excess of ten thousand people are fed in this grand feast.

Ratha saptamii & BhiishmaashTamii
The seventh day in the bright fortnight of maagha is known as ratha saptamii.  The next day is observed as BhiishmaashTamii.  On both of these days the icon of Sri Krishna is taken out in procession after the night service. Special feasts are arranged for the devotees on both days.

Madhva navamii

The ninth day of the bright fortnight of maagha is the day on which Sri Madhva went out to Badarikashrama and disappeared.  (1317 A. D. pingaLa samvatsara maagha shuddha navamii).  This day is celebrated with great pomp and festivity.

The paryaaya Swamiji, as well as any other Swamijis residing at Udupi on this day, go to Ananteswara and offer special puujaa to the original icon of Sri Madhva.  They also chant hymns.  In Sri Krishna Mutt special puujas are offered to the icon of Sri Madhva.  The scholars chant Madhva Vijaya in the suurya shaalaa.
A feast for the thousands of devotees who have come to participate in this festival is held during the day. In the evening a painting of Sri Madhva and the volumes of his works are taken out in procession and kept in the vasanta maNTapa.  A special congregation of scholars is convened. Scholars are specially invited from far off places to participate in scholarly discussions.  At the end of the discussions the Swamiji honors those scholars by giving presents and honorariums.

In the festival at night Sri Krishna is taken out in the brahma ratha.

Shiva raatri

The fourteenth day in the dark fortnight of maagha is celebrated as Shiva raatri.  There are special puujaa-s at Ananteshwara and Chandreshwara, and a flag hoisting ceremony takes place in Ananteshwara. There is a special car festival in which the icons of both Chandramaulishwara and Ananteshwara are taken out in processionin the brahma ratha.

HoLi habba & kaama dahana
The full moon day in phaalguna is celebrated by bringing an effigy of kaama, the god of love, to the Car Street and burning it.  The visual burning of the replica of kaama symbolises the curbing of lust in our heart.

Next day the people throw color powder at each other and celebrate the Holi festival.

Vaadiraaja puNya tithi

The third day of the dark fortnight of phaalguna is celebrated as Sri Vaadiraaja's memorial day.  Especially during the paryaaya of Sri Sode Mutt, this festival is celebrated with great pomp.  During the paryaaya of the other Swamiji-s, special services are arranged in honor of Sri Vaadiraaja Tiirtha.  A great feast is arranged for the devotees.

Vyaasaraaja puNya tithi

The fourth day of the dark fortnight of phaalguna is celebrated as the anniversary of Sri Vyaasa Tiirtha.  Sri Vyaasa Tiirtha, though not a saint from one of the Udupi ashhTa-maTha-s, is nonetheless intimately connected with Udupi because of Sri Kanaka Daasa and Sri Vaadiraaja Tiirtha, his students.  A special feast is arranged for the devotees, and spiritual seminars are arranged on this day.

This section is due to Raymond Crawford aka Rama dasa ACBSP. Much 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.