Sunday, September 25, 2022
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Paryaya Festival

Paryaya festival is one of the most important festivals in Udupi in South Karnataka. The festival which began in 1298 AD, is celebrated at the famous Udupi Sri Krishna Temple on the fourth day after ‘Makar Sankranti’ (17th or 18th of January) once in two years. Just as the word 'Paryaya' means transition or change, the festival involves the ceremony of handing over the authority of the ‘Paryaya Peetha’ and the rights of worship of Lord Shiva and the administration of the temple, from one prophet of the eight mutts situated at the temple complex to another. The swamiji to whom the charge of the worship and administration is handed over is known as the paryay swamiji.  During 1522, it was Saint Sri Vadiraja Swamigal of Sri Sode math who introduced the system of the two year term (paryaya period). During these two years Paryaya Swami has the full responsibility to perform the customary poojas and festivals of Sri Krishna Mutt.

The rituals to be performed begins an year before the festival, wherein the subsequently appointed Swamiji has to carry out a pilgrimage to important holy places in India for spreading the Dwaita philosophy, and should return back to Udupi a fortnight before the Paryaya festival when he is given a warm welcome called as ‘Pura Pravesha'. The main attraction of the festival is the Horakanike procession on the Paryaya day. The paryay swamiji dressed in traditional robes is carried in a beautifully decorated palanquin followed by caparisoned elephants, giant guises and various groups of tableaus. The colourful procession tours through Udupi town. On the way, the paryaya Swamiji throws various offerings like fruits, flowers and money to the crowd of devotees. At the end of the tour, Paryay swamiji enters the Krishna Math accompanied by the retiring swamiji and thereafter the hand over ceremony is held at Sarvajna peetha inside Krishna Math. The retiring swamiji hands over keys and other articles to the paryay swamiji.

Large number of people from different parts of India attend this festival. ‘Paryaya Darbar’ is one of the attractive part of the festival held at 6:15 hrs at Rajangana, in which many famous persons will be felicitated. Other attractions are cultural programs and colourful car festivals which are conducted for a week. The festival starts in the early morning.

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