Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha of Shiroor Mutt Ascends the Paryaya Pitha for the third time

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Report By Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle
Pictures by Anil Alva and Eugene

Udupi, 18 January 2010: In what could be described as the spectacular and awe inspiring ceremonies and rituals and festive atmosphere, on Monday, 18th January 2010 at 8.30 AM, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha, the thirtieth pontiff of the Shiroor Mutt ascended the Paryaya Pitha for the third time since he took over as the head of the Mutt in 1971.

Udupi in general and Shiroor Mutt in particular have been preparing for the grand biennial Paryaya since many months. As the Paryaya day was approaching, the city witnessed the hoardings of greetings being put up with Shri Lakshmivara Tirtha’s pictures, welcome arches being erected, buntings on both sides of the roads and streets and the roads being repaired and cleaned.

Devotees of Shri Krishna, followers of Shri Madhvacharya, founder of the Ashta Matthas, tourists and people in general from far off places, surrounding regions and the city of Udupi had started streaming in to the city from the evening of Sunday, 17th January 2010 to witness the grand carnival-like procession early the next morning. People in groups, with families, elderly, middle aged, young and even children were seen moving around the city in gaiety and expectation enjoying the festive atmosphere of the Paryaya. Many people were seen shopping from the road side hawkers lining the various streets leading to the Temple-Mutts complex. Many were seen standing in queue to enter the Shiroor Mutt and see its interior that had been thoroughly renovated. The decorative lighting of the temples and all the Eight Mutts in the complex was just mesmerising. The intermittent fireworks would make the people to look up in the sky for the shower of light. The streets and important buildings were also decorated with lights.

In order to keep the people busy and entertained till early morning, a number of musical concerts, both classical and orchestra were arranged at different places. One such orchestra, known as Kalakar Orchestra was in action near the ST Bus Stand to which Kannada film star Diganth who had acted in the Kannada film “Manasare” and Tulu picture “Kadalda Mage” was present for sometime.

In a programme organised at the Car Street by the Paryaya Welcome Committee on Sunday, 17th January 2010 evening at 7PM, Shri Sugunendra Thirtha Swamiji of the Puttige Mutt, who had successfully carried on the mantle of the Paryaya Swamiji for the last two years was felicitated. This programme was attended by Mr. B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Dr. V.S. Acharya and other prominent members in the government, administration and religious establishments.

Since early morning on Monday, 18th January 2010, people in thousands had occupied all the vantage points on both the sides of the main road through which the procession was to pass through. In the high rise buildings people could be seen in groups in balconies and even on the terraces.

Prior to the procession, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha Swamiji had proceeded early in the morning to have the ritual pre-paryaya bath in the Dandathirtha near Kaup. Thereafter, he joined the pontiffs of other Mutts except the Puttige Mutt at Jodu Katte and viewed from a pre-fabricated stage various doll dancers, music groups and various tableaus depicting episodes from the Epics and Puranas passing through the crowded road. The solemn procession started at around 5.30 AM. The palki carrying the chief deity of the Shiroor Mutt, Shri Vittala led the procession followed by Sri Lakshmivara Thirtha and other pontiffs of six Mutts, all carried in palkis. At every short distance, the palkis halted in order to ease the pressure on the palki bearers and to enable the people to have ‘darshan’ of the Paryaya Swamiji and other pontiffs. The Chief Minister and other dignitaries also were present to witness this grand procession.

After two hours, the procession reached the entrance of the Shri Krishna Temple complex where the Paryaya Swamiji and other pontiffs alighted and walked on the strips of white clothes spread in front of them. First, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha and other pontiffs had the ‘darshan’ of Shri Krishna through the Window of Kanaka (Kanakana Kindi). Thereafter, the entire entourage visited the Shri Chandra Mouleshwara and Shri Ananteshwara Temples before entering the main Shri Krishna Temple where the outgoing Paryaya Swamiji, Shri Sugunendra Thirtha welcomed the next Paryaya Swamiji, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha at around 8.30 AM.


Thereafter, both the outgoing and incoming Swamijis entered the sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagudi) and offered worship to the Chief Deity, Shri Krishna. The transfer of the religious and temporal power between the two Swamijis took place in the Sarvajna Pitha where in front of the image of Shri Madhvacharya, Shri Sugunendra Thirtha Swamiji handed over the Akshaya Patre and the flat spoon to Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha Swamiji by which the power was symbolically transferred from the incumbent Swamiji to new Paryaya Swamiji.
Moving from the Sarvajna Pitha, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha who assumed the Paryaya Pitha proceeded to ‘Badagu Malige’s Western Floor) Aralu Gaddhige’ along with other pontiffs. This is where the temporal power of the Swamiji is located with the store rooms and the offices are situated. After honouring the other six pontiffs, every one moved to the Rajangana Darbar Hall, where dignitaries and people were waiting for a public reception of the Paryaya Swamiji.
Mr. K. Raghupati Bhat, the MLA of Udupi, welcomed the Paryaya Swamiji, pontiffs of other Mutts, dignitaries including the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. B.S. Yeddyurappa, Home Minister-Dr. V.S. Acharya, Mr. Jatin Prasad, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas in the Central Government, Mr. Oscar Fernandes, member of the Rajya Sabha and Mr. D.V. Sadananda Gouda, MP.

The Paryaya Swamiji, Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha was ceremonially offered ‘Prasad’ brought from Tirupati, Mantralaya and Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala. The Chief Minister then felicitated the Paryaya Swamiji on behalf of his government in particular and the people of the state in general. In his brief speech, the Chief Minister promised a number of welfare measures for the Udupi city and district on the occasion of the Paryaya. Jatin Prasad and Oscar Fernandes also felicitated the Swamiji and spoke on this occasion appreciating the Paryaya ceremonies. Jatin Prasad said that the Shri Krishna temple and the Eight Mutts of Udupi are symbols of communal harmony. Oscar Fernandes tracing the 800 years history of Shri Krishna Temple pointed out that a lot of welfare activities have been undertaken by these Mutts and hoped that under the Paryaya Swamiji the good work will continue. Mr. Pramod Madhvaraj, Chairman of the Paryaya Welcome Committee, in his address said that the Paryaya Ceremonies have become the festival of the people.

Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha Swamiji presented shawls and mementos to the Chief Minister, Oscar Fernandes, Jatin Prasad and other dignitaries. On behalf of the pontiffs of other Mutts, the pontiff of the Pejavara Mutt addressed the gathering and promised all support and guidance to the Paryaya Swamiji. Shri Lakshmivara Thirtha thanked all the people for their cooperation and best wishes on the occasion of his Paryaya Pitharohana.

As the programme was going on, I could see a lonely pigeon picking up some grains on the floor of the Rajanagana Darbar oblivious of the proceedings in the hall. It was not afraid of any one, neither any one tried to shoo it away. I felt that this pigeon is the symbol of peace and harmony for which the Shri Krishna Temple and all the Eight Mutts stand for and the peace and harmony that the country needs the most.

The law and order throughout the Paryaya Festival also known as the Nada Habba was excellent. In spite of heavy rush, people maintained excellent discipline and order. The police were courteous and the Mutt officials were cooperative. The experience of attending and participating in the Paryaya Festival since Sunday evening till 10.30 AM on Monday morning was an experience of life time for me personally. I had never seen nor experienced such a vast gathering and such wonderful arrangements and solemn ceremonies and rituals that too as a reporter and photographer.

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Comments on this Article
pradeep, bangalore Thu, January-21-2010, 3:00
Thanks... wonderful, amazing .. liked it very much... so precise and neat with snaps..
Anitha, Manipura Thu, January-21-2010, 12:01
bellevision hats of you thank you very much for giving lovely photos of Udupi Paryaya mahothsava. Keep it up
Sathish Nayak, Kadambila/ Dubai Tue, January-19-2010, 9:24
woww...Thank you so much Mr. Eugene and Mr. Anil..Nice Pic captured..i felt i m in Udupi.!!!!!
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Tue, January-19-2010, 8:10
Great efforts by Dr. Eugine and Anil. You have captured and briefed it very well.
Naveen M., Moodubelle Tue, January-19-2010, 3:32
Thank you Mr.Eugene and Anil for efforts to cover the Event. Nice pictures and very informative report. I felt that I am watching the live Paryaya procession.
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