SRI LAKSHMI VENKATESHA TEMPLE, UDUPI
India is a land of temples. It is said that, Indian is a born philosopher. To this perhaps it may be added that Gowda Saraswath Brahmin is a born worshipper. It is because of this attitudinal inherence the Gowda Saraswats on their exodus from Goa constructed Temples wherever they settled. This was to meet the cultural, social and spiritual needs independently. The settlers in and around Udupi, thus were compelled, being anxious and enthusiastic to construct a temple at Udupi. As if by God's grace at this juncture the gift of land by late Smt. Kaveri Amma alias Sathyabhama Amma (Sridevi Nayak) through an endowment deed on 11.7.1883 was of great avail. By the gift it was intended that Pooja (scriptural form of worship) to her family Deity "Sri Narasimha" be performed on installation at the proposed temple along with the temple Deity. For this purpose she gifted two sets of properties to meet the expenses of Poojas to "Sri Narasimha" and the temple Deity separately.
The names of the 9 members of GSB Community articulated in the original gift deed of Smt. Kaveri Amma are:
- Sri Chinivartha Ananthayya Shanbhag - Shroff and Land Lord
- Sri Ananthayya alias Sheshagiri Pai - Land Lord and Merchant
- Sri Ammembal Krishna Pai - Advocate
- Sri Kumble Subba Rao - Advocate
- Sri Vasudeva Prabhu - Advocate
- Sri Haradi Upendra Pai - Taluk Supervisor
- Sri Krishna Padiyar - Merchant and Land Lord
- Sri Manjunatha Anantha Baliga - Land Lord
- Sri Shroff Venkat Rao - Shroff.
Later these became the hereditary trustees vested with powers of construction and administration of the Temple. They being ardent devotees of Lord Venkatesha, with the assistance and co-operation of the members of the community and also of a group of dedicated and devoted volunteers, expeditious construction of a Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbha Griha) made of granite stone and copper plated roof was accomplished. For this the foundation stone had been laid by H.H. Srimad Bhuvanendra teertha Swamiji of Sri Samsthan Kashi Math. The idol of Sri Venkatesha was got sculpted by the then celebrated sculptor of Karkala Sri Laxman Shanbhag. Standing on a one foot pedestal the idol is of 3 feet height. The serenity of beauty on the countenance is divinely spectacular. The hinder arms holding conch and disc (chakra) and the frontal arms showing assurance of security (Abhayahasta) and the other scretched upto knee (depicting that the ocean of life will be knee deep to His worshippers) The installation ceremony of the idol was performed by Srimad Varadendra Thirtha Swamiji of Sri Kashi Math on 29.4.1896 (Shalivahana Era - 1818), "Durmukhi Samvat", "Vaishakha" month - 2nd of dark half) with the participation of thousands of devotees. Srimad Varadendra Thirtha blessed the congregation and predicted that the temple will acquire unexampled prominence and will foster enormous spiritual advancement in future. The enchanting "Namaskara Slokam" (the verse describing utmost obeisance) composed by the scholarly Srimad Varadendra Swamiji is on the pillar on the left hand side of the sanctorum. This supplicatory verse eulogises Lord Venkatesha as the God of Gods and destroyer of sins and can be deciphered in its replicated form, rendered in a very intelligent manner. The script of the verse is Kannada and language is Sanskrit and is as follows:
Srimad Varadendra Teertha camped at the temple after the installation ceremony and regulated the routine of the temple. His Holiness selected suitable priests from respectable families and entrusted them with the daily Pooja duties.
Routine of the Temple: The temple doors are opened at 6.00 AM.
1) At 7.00 a.m. the first pooja namely "Nairmalya Visarjana pooja" is performed. "Naivedya" of "Payasa" etc is offered to the Deity during this pooja.
2) At 10.00 a.m. "Panchamritha Abhisheka" is performed.
3) The midday and main pooja is at 12.45 P.M. At the time of this pooja a 9 1/2 seers of rice will be offered as "Naivedya" (this is presently increased to 12.75 seers of rice along with other dishes)The temple remains closed thereafter.
Once again at 6.00 P.M. the door will open and night "Pooja" will be at 8.30 P.M. Temple remains closed till next morning. Systematic performance of worship along with other prescribed periodic festivals conducted with faith and devotion of the priests spread the reputation of the temple.