Udupi’s famous 900 yr old Sri Krishna Temple is a relaxed and personal kind of place at this time of year, with less visitors because of the monsoon rains.
In the dry season it gets thousands of visitors each day. Worshippers come to see the young Lord Krisha whose attire is changed daily. No two days are ever the same.
He is also famously turned to face east ( or backwards). The story tells that when a devotee was not allowed in to see him, being an untouchable, Krishna instead turned around so that the devotee could instead see him through a crack in the west wall.
All this I know from the kindness of Smitha and her family who were visiting from Mumbai and took pity on my ignorance.
And the kindness continued as Sathya, a priest in the temple showed us around the Sri Krishna Temple’s Goshala, home to the temple’s cattle.
Sathya explained that the temple is part of a community of 400 students and priests who live on site and showed us the huge dining hall that serves meals, free of charge to the many pilgrims who visit, many traveling long distances.
In peak times they feed 5,000 to 10,000 people a day. The food is cooked in huge pot and was indeed very good.
Smitha’s lovely family invited me to sit with them and Smitha shared her interest in nutrition and helping people to eat a traditional Indian diet despite modern challenges.
We waited for the dishes to be brought around by temple priests: rice with rasam…
…a great jackfruit, pumpkin and eggplant sambar…
…payasam for dessert and a sweet doughnut type pastry.
My efforts don’t do justice at all to the good food. Being extra slow to eat by hand my dishes sadly ended up mixed together!
But I did save room for the famous Gadbad Icecream at Woodlands nearby!
And while we were there we had to sample their other specialties like banana buns with chutney, rawa idli with sambar and coconut chutney and pineapple kesari bath.
Woodlands also had this really interesting Moode ‘leaf’ idli steamed in a banana leaf.
And you can’t leave Udupi without seeing the lovely Malpe Beach which surprisingly was allowing swimming.
Malpe had that real Goan feel (Goa is pretty close really) with the lovely bright houses in amongst the coconut palms. It would be a great place to stay a few nights.