Udupi is one of the seven Mokshapuris highly revered in the Land of Parasurama. The sacred idol of Lord Balagopala, installed by Sri Madhwacharya (1238 AD - 1317 AD) was originally worshipped by Devi Rukmini in Dwaraka in the Dwapara Yuga. The idol of Lord Krishna holding the churning rod in one hand and the rope in the other with a smile on His lips envisages the childhood pranks of the Lord in His Gokul days.
Lord Krishna is believed to have asked celestial architect Vishwakarma to make this idol for Rukmini, who adored it till the end of Krishnaavataar. Arjuna had later hidden the image in the gardens of Dwaraka. It reached Udupi in course of time along with Gopi Chandana