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Monday, 22 August 2011

Udupi hopes Anna Hazare will play Krishna to vanquish graft

This temple town, known across the world for its Krishna temple, is all decked up for vitla pindi (also known as mosaru kudike in Kannada and dahi handi in Hindi).

On Monday, youth will compete to break earthen pots hung at an elevation of about 30 feet, in imitation of the young Lord Krishna’s attempts steal butter.

The town went into a celebration mode soon after the arghya pradahana (when the fast period ends) at 11.42 pm on Sunday following the ‘birth of infant Krishna’ The celebration went on till the early hours of Monday, as people went around the town greeting each other and distributing ashtami sweets.

“This Janmashtami is perfect in every sense. Rohini nakshatra (the star under which Krishna was born) Krishna paksha and ashtami (eighth day in the Hindu calender) have all occurred together.According to the vedic calculations, Krishna’s birth time this year has the constellation as it was in Dwapara Yuga. The birth time is 11.42 pm on Sunday. That is also the right time, according to the almanac written in Drugganita or vedic mathematics, which also deals with astrophysics,” said Paryaya swamiji of Shiroor Math, Lakshmivara thirtha.

“This is also a good time for the country. The situation is a little turbid because of the opposition to the movement led by Anna Hazare. Special prayers will be done for the success of Anna’s campaign against corruption on Krishna Janmashtami,” Paryaya swamiji said, recalling a verse from the Bhagavad Gita.

“Yada Yada hi Dharmasya, Glanirbhavati Bharata…. Sambhavami Yuge Yuge, which means that god will return to earth whenever adharma is on the rise, to vanquish evil.”

The swamiji said, “In present times, corruption is evil and god has sent Anna Hazare to vanquish it. We should all pray to Lord Krishna on this day to help Anna overcome corruption.”

The swamiji who is known for his skills in doing alankaras (adornment) of the idol of Lord Krishna has made the idol look like Balakrishna (infant Krishna).

During vitla pindi, players of mosaru kudike will be given cash incentives. The traditional huliveshadharis (people who dress like tigers) and children who participate in the muddu Krishna contest on can also expect incentives.

“A sum of Rs50 lakh has been set aside for the purpose of rewarding those who participate. This sum will also be used to reward the traditional cooks in the pantry of the Krishna temple as well as the Shiroor Math. Nearly 14,000 chaklis and 20,000 laddoos will be distributed to devotees on the day of vitla pindi,” the swamiji said.

This temple town is now a gathering of folk artists, Hulivesha (masqueraders), Yakshagana and Bayalata artists, puppeteers and musicians.
On Sunday night, they outperformed themselves, with virtuoso performances.
They will also participate in vitla pindi.

Gopalas ready for the reach
The car street of Udupi is all set for the vitla pindi. ‘Gopalas’ (people who raided the mosaru kudike suspended at a height of a three-storey building), have formed teams. Each of the teams is identified by a colour, much like the T-20 teams in
The youth groups of Udupi have trained their Gopalas ahead of the event. They have been practicing hard, breaking earthen pots hung from trees.
‘Chapparas’ (scaffoldings) have been erected in 18 different places; four of these line the Car Street.
The one in front of the Krishna temple was the highest, at 38 feet. A human pyramid with six layers of Gopalas will be needed to reach the pots hung on this ‘chappara’.

Huli vesha, an Udupi tradition
Another attraction of the Krishna Janmashtami celebrations in
Udupi was the huli vesha
(tiger masqueraders).
Men paint their bodies in stripes, imitating those of a tiger. They move like tigers and entertain people with a dance.
In the past, to make the act look authentic, chickens and sheep were killed; these days, however, with heightened consciousness ofcruelty to animals, the killing of sheep and chickens is dispensed with.
In 2001, in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, the killing of animalsfor this purpose was banned.
“Painting one’s body to take part in the huli vesha comes with pain, and some expense. The Shiroor math has offered cash incentives to compensate those who take part in huli vesha. This will help preserve this traditional art,” said Lakshmivara thirtha.

Shivamoni to star
Shivamoni, percussionist of
international repute, will be part of the Janmashtami celebrations at Udupi’s famous Krishna
“The Shiroor math has donated five acres of land to Shivamoni in Shiroor for him to open a school of music. This Janmashtami, the swamiji will present a golden necklace with tulasi beads to Shivamoni,” said the diwan of Shiroor math, Latavya Acharya.


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