The Udupi is said to have attained the status of Vaikuntha, the kingdom of God. The town is famous as a place of pilgrimage because of the temple Sri Krishna Matha.
The Krishna Matha was founded by the Vaishnavite saint Sri Madhwacharya in the 13th century. He was the founder of the Dvaita School of Vedanta.
In Dvaparayuga, when Sri Krishna was making mother Devaki happy by showing childhood mischiefs in the attire of a kid, his wife Rukmini watched it by hiding and requested that she also wanted such beautiful statue. Looking after the request by wife, he created a statue from Shalagarama Stone of Kadagolu Balakrishna and gave it to her. After Sri Krishna left to parandhama, arjuna established the statue and worshiped in Rukmini Vana(Dwaaraka - Gujarath). Gradually the statue got submerged in the soil containing gopichandana. In kaliyuga while a sailor was brining gopichandana logs in his ship near udupi (exactly Vadabandeshawara - currently Malpe), he was in danger due to heavy storm and knowing about the arrival of god Madhavacharya saved the ship. Looking at acharya's meditational powers the sailor was amazed and went on to offer valuable things in his ship, but acharya only accepted the gopichandana logs and came back to udupi chanting dvadashastotra and established the statue in the matha with all the rituals according to shastras after cleaning the statue in the lake. He then taught sarvamula lessons to eight of his disciples along with sanyasatva and provided them with the rights to perform pooja to Sri Krishna and to promote dvaitamata.
Sri Madhvacharya gave paramahamsa ashrama to eight balavatu, allocated them to Lord Krishna pooja, he gave them eight statues (Sri Rama, Chathurbuja Kaliyamardhana Krishna, Dvibuja Kaliyamardhana Krishna, Vittala, Vittala, Bhuvaraha, Narasimha and Vittala God) created by his own hands ordered them to continue the legacy. To eight disciples of them (Sri Hrishikeshatirtharu, Sri Naraharitirtharu, Sri Janardhanatirtharu, Sri Upendratirtharu, Sri Vamanatirtharu, Sri Vishnutirtharu, Sri Ramatirtharu, Sri Adhokshajatirtharu) acharya established eight mathas as Palimar matha, Adamaru matha, Krishnapur matha, Puttige matha, Shiroor matha, Sode matha, Kaniyuru matha and Pejavara matha. In order to perform the paryaya pooja efficiently, in the order as mentioned above, dvandva matha system was created involving two mathas. He allocated his ashrama teacher Sri Achyutha Prekshacharya hailing from the sanakadi yathi tradition to bhimasethu matha(sathyathirtha) as adipathi and his younger brother Sri Vishnuthirtha for sodhe matha and subramanya matha as moolayathi. Sri Madhvacharya was the devoted guru for Uttaradi matha, Sri Padaraya matha, Sri Raghavendra Swamy matha and Sri Vyasaraya matha.
Udupi is one among the 7 Parashurama Kshetras i.e. the places created by Sage Parashurama. History says Parasurama threw his axe from Gokarnam and it fell at Kanyakumari. The sea gave way to land, thus giving rise to all the coastal areas including Udupi. Apart from Lord Sri Krishna Temple, there are 2 important ancient temples in Udupi. One is Ananteshwara Temple and other is Chandramouleshwara Temple.
In Sanskrit, Udupa means moon. According to history moon prayed Lord Shiva here to get rid of a curse. Lord Shiva was pleased with moon’s prayers and blessed him in the form of Lingam which you can see in Chandramoulishwara Temple.Since moon prayed here the place has got its name Udupi.