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Diocese of Udupi

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Diocese of Udupi
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Udupi is a coastal diocese in Karnataka state. It is the 14th Catholic diocese of Karnataka. Udupi is specially known for Sri Krishna Temple of the Hindus and the cluster of eight temples (Asta Mata). Karnataka has 10 Latin dioceses, three Syro-Malabar dioceses and one Syro-Malankara diocese.


Kannada is the main language spoken by the majority. Konkanni is the official language of the diocese. Tulu, Perso-Arabic, Beary basha and English are also are spoken.


The new diocese of Udupi was announced on July 16, 2012, the day of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo of Shimoga diocese was appointed as the first bishop of the new diocese by Pope Benedict XVI. Before, it was the part of 125 year old diocese of Mangalore and is the saffrogan of Bangalore archdiocese.

The diocese of Udupi has a history of more than five centuries as part of Mangalore diocese. The faith of the people has grown ever since 1515 through the works of European and Goan missionaries. Its mother diocese of Mangalore has served in the initial years the dioceses of Calicut, Kannur, Gulbaga, Udupi and six Syro Malabar- Malankara dioceses before they were established.

On Sept. 1, 1886, Pope Leo XIII established the Indian Hierarchy. In virtue of this hierarchy, Mangalore ceased to be a vicariate and took its place on the Indian Hierarchy as the independent diocese with the then Vicar Apostolic Italian Jesuit Maria Pagani being its first bishop.

While the church of Mangalore is attacked continuously by pro-Hindu fundamentalist groups since 2008, it has experienced the tough captivity of local Muslim emperor Tippu Sultan in 1784 with the blame of Christians supporting British colonials against the fight for independence.

More than 35,000 Christians were taken captives by the soldiers of Tippu on Ash Wednesday that year into a place called Srirangapattanam around 270 kilometer from Mangalore.

The researchers agree that it was a heavily tragic blot in the history of Mangalore but the survivors have come back in faith after the death of the Sultan. They also agree that some 28 churches existed then in undivided Mangalore dioceses were destroyed by the soldiers.

Udupi diocese was inaugurated by Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India on October 15, 2012, in the presence of nearly 15000 faithful, 350 priests and number of religious women in the Kallianpur Milagres Cathedral of Udupi.

The Udupi diocese is spread across 3500.75 square kilometers. It has more than 1, 06,000 Catholics and 14,287 families in 48 parishes of three civil taluks of Karkal, Udupi and Kundapur. It has 61 diocesan priests, 23 religious priests, 219 religious sisters, 40 convents and 9 houses of religious men. The interstate famous shrine of St Lawrence of Karkal-Attur is part of Udupi diocese.


Karnataka is ruled by pro-Hindu political party of Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) since May 2008. It has more than 110 state constituencies out of 224 across the state. During the present political rule, there have been number of cases of attacks on the minorities and their institutions in Karnataka.


The diocese has good network of roads. It is well connected with national highways passing through the diocese of Udupi connecting to different parts of Karnataka state and India. The Konkan Railway connects the region with Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala states by train. Neighboring district South Canara has a seaport at Panambur near Mangalore. While Mangalore International Airport is situated near Mangalore, domestic Airport of Mysore offers number of air services.


Udupi Diocese is spread across the Udupi civil district that was formed in 1997. It is a fine stretch of coastal land covering an area of 3500.75 square kilometers beautifully sandwitched between the Arabian Sea in the west and the Western Ghats in the east. It is stretching from the Sankalakaria River in the south to Byndoor in the north.

The district is largely agricultural. But in the recent past many industries have come up. Manipal, a suburb of Udupi, is home to the headquarters of famous Syndicate Bank. It is renowned as an education and medical hub. Udupi is the birth place of two national banks - Syndicate and Corporation. Udupi is also known to be fishing district. Small-scale industries like the cashew industry, food industry, milk co-operatives have come up in the district. Many areas of the district are known for cultivation of jasmine flowers. Nagarjuna Power Corporation has set up Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) in spite of the strong opposition of the localities. Now it is generating 1200 mw of electric power.


The percentage of literacy rate of the Karnataka state has increased from 66.64 percent in 2001 to 75.60 percent in 2011, according to Census 2011. Udupi district has a population of 11, 77,908. Out of them 91.69 percent of men and 81.41 percent women are educated.


Yakshagana is the popular folk art of Hindus mostly used in Udupi and South Canara districts. The Yakshagana is a night-long dance and drama performance practiced in the region with great fanfare. Pilivesha (tiger dance) is a unique form of folk dance in some places fascinating the young and the old alike, which is performed during some of the Hindu festivals especially near the Udupi temples. Karadi Vesha (bear dance) is one more popular dance for religious celebrations. Kambala or buffalo race is conducted in water filled paddy fields. There are number of other folk dances and songs in each region.

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