Udupi hotels across the country are known for their crispy masala dosas, piping hot vadas and tangy sambars. But, did you know these hotels, unwittingly, also helped curb caste-based segregation in public spaces in India?
It all started in the 13th century in Udupi, a small coastal town of Karnataka. Here, a popular Sri Krishna temple began the practice of serving free meals, or annadhana, to its devotees. Both the menu as well as the timings for when the food was served were fixed.
History texts say that the cooks that trained in these temples eventually moved to other parts of the country, like Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, and went on to set up Udupi hotels in these areas.
In 1942, a young boy who had migrated to Mumbai from Udupi set up the first Udupi Sri Krishna hotel. Sometime in the 1950s, two brothers set up Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR), another Udupi-style hotel. After 80 years of business, MTR is now considered to be more of an institution.
So how did these restaurants…