Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala, Holy Land, is renowned hindu religious shrine having 700 years of of history. Here diety is Lord Shiva (Supreme) worshipped as Lord Manjunatheshwara and His Holiness Parama poojya, Padmashri Shree shree Dr. Veerendra Heggade is a present Dharmadhikari of Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala.
Dharmasthala, a sacred place, as the name suggests is a place of Truth, Faith, Communal harmony, Cultural Tolerance and spiritual experience in the Holy Land. Here, everyone enjoys the generous hospitality without any distinction of caste, creed or class whatsoever. Dharmasthala pilgrim center situated on the banks of river Nethravathi in Beltangady Taluk of Dakshina Kannada (South Canara) District.
Legend: This place was originally called "Kuduma". The lineage of the Dharmadhikari can be traced back over 700 years. According to the legend, a Jain Heggade couple, Birmanna heggade and his wife Ammu Ballathi (resided at Nelyaadi beedu) known for piety and hospitality, Four Dharmadevatas - Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumarswamy and Kanyakumari got impressed with the hospitality and the treatment given by the Heggade couple, the Dharmadevatas appeared in their dream and promised to stay at Kuduma. As per the wish of the Dharmadevatas, Birmanna Heggade built temples for Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumarswamy and Kanyakumari and performed the rituals and ceremonies from time to time.
Sometime later, when Lord Annappa Swamy, the messenger of the Dharmadevatas brought Shiva-lingam from Kadri near Mangalore, Heggade built a temple of Manjunatha Swamy and installed the Kadri's Shiva Linga there. So that Dharma could be established in the name of the Lord.
Around the 16th Century, Devaraja Heggade invited Shri Vadiraja Swami of Udupi to visit the place. The Swamiji gladly came but refused to accept biksha (food offering) because the idol of Lord Manjunatha had not been consecrated according to vedic rites. Shri Heggade then requested the Swamiji to reconsecrate the Shivalinga himself.
Pleased by the observance of the vedic rites and Heggade's charity to all, the Swamiji named the place Dharmasthala, the abode of religion and charity.
Daanas at Dharmasthala:
Sri Kshetra is known for Annadaana, Vidyadaana, Aushadadaana and Abhayadaana.
Annadaana: The average flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people everyday. Every one of the thousands of pilgrims who daily visit shri Kshetra Dharmasthala is an honored guest irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status. Advanced mechanized and clean kitchen provides free food for all pilgrims at the Annapoorna Choultry, the beautiful dining hall is equipped to feed people.
Free boarding and lodging with modern amenities are also to all the visiting devotees provided with sincerly. There are six modern guest houses Netravathi, Vaishali, Sharavathi, Gayatri, Gangotri and Saket along with Ganga, Kaveri and Narmada (old guest houses).
Vidyadaana: Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala by the SDMCET Society manages a 25 institutions ranging from primary schools, Gurukula to teach yoga, Sanskrit, and professional courses in Engineering, Medicine, and Dental Sciences in Dharmasthala, Ujjre, Mangalore, Udupi, Dharwad and other places of Karnataka state.
The Siddavana gurukula started by the Late Manjayya Heggade has become a model educational institution. Over 250 students are provided free lodging and boarding and learn yoga, Sanskrit in addition to basic school curriculum. The specialty of this institution is its endeavor to teach values based on Indian Culture.
Aushadadaana: In the field of health care, The medical trust also provides services to eradicate and prevent many diseases in local villages. contribution is unlimited. The Mobile Hospital established by poojya shri Heggade is fully equipped to deal with emergencies and provide medical treatment to the rural folk at the inaccessible interiors of Malnad area. A modern T.B.Sanitorium is built by Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Medical Trust to give relief to the patients of tuberculosis.The Ayurvedic Hospitals at Udupi and Hassan provide Ayurvedic medicines as per the ancient text. The Nature Cure Hospital built on the banks of the Netravathi River, has created renewed faith in the system based on the five elements of Air, Earth, Ether, Water and Light. SDM Eye Hospital at Mangalore, is one of the most modern allopathic eye treatment centres.The SDM Dental Hospital caters to regular dental needs and specialised treatments such as oral implants, surgery for cleft lip and other orthodontic surgeries. Shri Heggade has been actively involved in propagating the practice of Yoga, the ancient system of fitness. Surya Namaskara Camps are regularly organised where Yoga is taught to the masses. Further 250 high school teachers are trained in Yoga every year, who in turn teach at least 100 students each.
Abhayadaana: Free mass weddings which were started in 1972 have gained popularity. Every year hundreds of couples are getting married (Saamoohika Vivaha mahotsava) here. Following the tradition of the Kshetra where all religions and castes are welcome, hundreds of couples are married in accordance with their personal religious rite. The expenses of the wedding dress, Mangalsutra and Wedding feast for a limited number of the couple's guests are borne by the Kshetra.
A Sarva Dharma Sammelana (multi religious meet) is often held and blessed by all spiritual leaders from various faiths and schools, and patrons of art and literature, from far and wide.
Shri Manjunatheshwara Cultural and Research Foundation conducts research on religion, literature, arts and crafts. The ancient scripts are being deciphered by scholars and experts and translated into modern language so that the gems of ancient literature may once again find their true place in Indian literature. Manjusha, the museum, displays the cultural artifacts of the past. Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust has been s established for the preservation of temples.
Shri Heggade has been instrumental in bringing about the revival of Yakshagana, and started a school for Yakshagana were budding artists are trained in the intricacies of this highly demanding art form. The ancient ethnic crafts, Navalgund Carpets and Kasuti Embroidery have been revived on a non-profit basis.
Shrines to Visit at Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala:
1. Shri Manjunatheshwara
2. Shri Ammanavaru
3. Four Dharma Daivas: Kalarahu, Kalarkaayi, Kanyakumari and Kumaraswamy
4. Lord Ganapathi
5. Lord Annappa
1. Maha Ganpathy Temple at Annapoorna Choultry
2. Shrine of Annappa Swami and the abode of Dharma Daivas, Badinade Hill
3. The Neliyadi Beedu: The original abode of the Heggades and the Dharma Daivas.
4. Shrine of Shri Chandranatha Swami at Sri Chandranatha Basadi
5. The statue of Shri Bahubali at Ratnagiri Hill
Other places to visit at Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala
1. Vintage car museum
2. Manjusha vastu sangrahalaya (museum)
3. Pushpa vatika
4. Vasantha Mahal - Cultural Hall
Festivals at Dharmasthala:
1. Lakshadeepotsava: Festival of lights and grand illumination celebrated for five days in the month of Kartika (November - December).
2. Once in twelve years there is a festival called Nadavali, which lasts for 13 days.
3. Mahamasthakaabhisheka to 39 ft monolith of Bhagawan Bahubali
4. Special pooja, Night long bhajans and Rathothsava on Shivarathri day
5. Navarathri: There are special poojas on all days of Navarathri. Special worship at Ammanavaru shrine. Distribution of sarees to married women.
6. Ganesha Festival: Special poojas are performed to Lord Ganapathi Temple at Annapoorna Choultry
7. Deepavali: Ranga pooja and car festival, Ceremonial idol of the Lord taken out in procession.
8. Pattanaje: Last festival of the Year (May 24th)
Past Dharmadhikari's of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala:
Some of the prominent in the Dharmadhikari's of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala are Kumarayya Heggade, Manjayya Heggade (the second), Chandayya Heggade, Rathna Varma Heggade.
Veerendra Heggade - the present Dharmadhikari:
His Holiness Parama poojya, Padmashri Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade who is a present Dharmadhikari of Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala from 24th October 1968 contributed very much for all round development of the temple, villages, education etc.
Shri Manjunathaswamy Temple
Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala
Belthangady Taluk, Dakshina Kannada District
Karnataka State - INDIA
Pin code: - 574 216
How to reach Dharmasthala
There are plenty of busses ply from all over the Karnataka state. Frequent bus facility is provided by Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is a very convenient one.
Mangalore airport is the nearest Airport.
Other places around Dharmasthala:
1. Kukke Subrahmanya, is around 60 Kms from Dharmasthala
2. Ram Mandir, near Dharmasthala (on the banks of river Nethravathi)
3. Udupi Sri Krishna Temple, Udupi.
4. Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple, Kateel, near Mangalore
5. Horanaadu Annapoorneshwari Temple, Chikamagalur District.
Distances from Dharmasthala
1. Udupi: about 100 Kms.
2. Mangalore: about 75 Kms
3. Subrahmanya: about 60 Kms
4. Bangalore: 325 Kms
5. Kundapur: 145 Kms
Road map to reach Dharmasthala.
From Bangalore to Dharmasthala via Nelamangala, Kunigal, Hassan, Sakaleshpura. (via National Highway-48)