The word "Dharma" traditionally means religion, ritual, duty, righteousness, and alms. It also implies justice, truthfulness, freedom from fear, faith, solace, fulfillment and peace.
Dharmasthala is the perfect embodiment of the word "Dharma" for it displays every shade of meaning with which the word is imbued. The greatness of Dharmasthala, however is the fact that it has added an active element to "Dharma", such that it touches the lives of people with a transformational directness that is unique.
To those that come for worship, Dharmasthala represents religious tolerance wherein caste, creed and faith of pilgrims are no bars. For here, the Jain Theerthankara is worshipped on the same consecrated grounds as the native Daivas and Lord Manjunatha (Lord Shiva). The priests are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the guardian of the temple is Heggade, a Jain by faith. Altogether forming a confluence of faiths that harmonize in belief of the Omnipotent.
Shri Dharmasthala temple located in the village of Dharmasthala, in Belthangady Taluk of South Kanara District of Karnataka State. It is one of the most sacred places in South India.
It is situated in on the Mangalore-Charmady Road 40 miles from Mangalore. The river Nethravathi flows in this region where pilgrims take bath on their way to the temple.
There are hills of Jayakeerti Betta or Shivarathri Betta and Badinede Betta in the surrounding areas. This temple attracts Jains, Hindus, Christians and Muslims too, who come there for amelioration of their ailments in some form or other. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shri Manjunatha Swamy which is a form of Lord Shiva is believed to be very powerful.
Dharmasthala is known for it's beautiful surroundings and Sri Manjunathaswamy Temple. In Dharmasthala, charity is a way of life, extended to all without discrimination. Sri Dharmasthala which is one of the sacred places in South India and is a famous pilgrim centre. It is situated in the village of Dharmasthala, in Beltangady Taluk of South Kanara district about 75 kms from Mangalore.
Sometime later when Annappa Swamy, the messenger of the angels brought Shivalingam from Kadri in Mangalore, Heggade built a temple of Manjunatha Swamy and installed the Kadri's Shiva Linga there.
Eight hundred years ago, Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma in Mallarmadi, then a village in Dakshina Kannada. There lived lived a Jain chieftain, Birmanna Pergade and his wife Ammu Ballalthi in a house called Neliyadi Beedu. They were simple, pious and affectionate people. All knew the Pergade family for its generosity and hospitality.
According to the legend, the guardian angels of dharma assumed human forms and came to earth in search of a place where dharma was being practised and could be continued and propagated. They arrived at Pergade's abode. And the Pergade couple received these visitors with great respect. Pleased by their sincerity and generosity, that night the Daivas appeared in Pergade's dreams. They explained the purpose of their visit and instructed him to use this house for the worship of the Daivas and dedicate his life to the propagation of dharma.
Asking no questions, Pergade built himself another house and began worshipping the Daivas at Neliyadi Beedu. This continues even today. As they continued their worship and their practice of hospitality the Dharma Daivas again appeared before the Pergade in his dreams. This time they asked him to build separate shrines to consecrate the four Daivas - Kalarkai, Kalarahu, Kumaraswami and Kanyakumari. Pergade was instructed to choose two people of noble birth to act as the Daivas' oracles and four worthy persons to assist Pergade in his duties as the executive head of the shrines.
In return, the Daivas promised Pergade protection for his family, abundance for charity and fame for the kshetra. As desired Pergade built the shrines and invited Brahmin priests to perform the rituals. These priests requested Pergade to also install a Shiva linga beside the native Daiva. The Daivas then sent Annapa Swami to procure the linga of Manjunatheswara from Kadri, Mangalore. Subsequently, the Manjunatha temple was built around the linga.
Main Entrance of the Dharmasthala Temple Dharmasthala as a holy Kshetra attracts Jains, Hindus, Christians and Muslims too, who come there for amelioration of their ailments in some form or other. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shri Manjunatha Swamy (another form of Lord Shiva). Dharmasthala has a legendary relationship with Kadri Manjunatha temple of Mangalore. About 5 centuries ago the guardian angels of Dharmasthala were said to have blessed a Jain family. They built shrines and installed images of Dharma Daivas. Tradition says that Dharma Daivas sent a vassal Annappa for the purpose of bringing the Linga (idol) from Kadri. The Annappa Shrine faces the Linga of Manjunatha in Dharmasthala. Lord Manjunatha symbolizes the close inter relationship of mythology, religion and scholarship in India. The Annual festival of 'Deepotsava' is held in November or December. The important feature of which is lighting of innumerable lights in the large space around the temple. Dharmasthala is also famous for its Chair of Justice. The Judge is called Dharmadhikari.
The major attraction of Dharmasthala - Manjunatha Temple was built by Sri Devaraja Heggade in the 16th century. The architecture of the temple belongs to the age-old Sapta-Konkana region. The original temple was built from clay, wood and laterite.
The mukha man-dap or the pavilion in front of the temple is supported by wooden pillars. The entrance, which is a three-storied structure, features sloping roofs, admired by Kalases. The premise of the temple is decorated with around 100,000 oil lamps, during the Laksha Deepotsava festival. It is also a famous pilgrim of Jains where one can find 11 meter high Bahubali statue. It is a perfect place to meditate. There are many other attractions nearby Dharmasthala including Manjusha Museum, Shiva temple in Karanje and Vasanthamahal.The museum of Dharmasthala treasures some antique objects like ancient paintings and manuscripts. The car museum of the place showcases some collections of vintage cars.
The Linga was obtained from Kadri, close to Mangalore, whose own shrine sits facing the Linga, inside the temple. Nrusimha Saligrama sits beside the linga, which is an avatara of Lord Vishnu. Shrines of Goddess Ammanavaru, or Parvathi, and Lord Mahaganapati, are located inside the sanctum sanctorum. Within the temple premises to the west is the temple of Goddess Durga, and to the north the temple of Lord Ganesha. The devotees strongly believe that worship of Mangaladevi brings riches and delight. Mangaladevi is worshiped as "Shakti" here. The temple has a special significance for the maidens. It is believed that those who conduct their marriage in this sacred temple will have a happy married life.
There are also other shrines belonging to four Dharma Daivas - Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumaraswamy and Kannyakumari nearby main temple. Goddess Ammanavaru and Lord Mahaganapathi shrines lies in inner circle of the main sanctum.
Daanas at Dharmasthala:-
Sri Kshetra is known for Annadaana, Vidyadaana, Aushadadaana and Abhayadaana. The average flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people every day. Free boarding and lodging with modern facilities are provided to all visitors . There are six modern guest houses Netravathi, Vaishali, Sharavathi, Gayatri, Gangotri and Saket along with Ganga, Kaveri and Narmada (old guest houses). Advanced mechanized and clean kitchen provides free food for all pilgrims to the Annapoorna Choultry; beautiful dining room equipped to feed people.Every one of the thousands of pilgrims who daily visit Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala is an honored guest irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status.
Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala by the SDMCET Society manages almost 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.
Free mass marriages 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, Mangalasutra 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 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.
To those that come for worship, Dharmasthala represents religious tolerance wherein caste, creed and faith of pilgrims are no bars. For here, the Jain Theerthankara is worshipped on the same consecrated grounds as the native Daivas and Lord Manjunatha (Lord Shiva). The priests are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the guardian of the temple is Heggade, a Jain by faith, altogether forming a confluence of faiths that harmonize in belief of the Omnipotent.
Shri Bahubali in Dharmasthala:-
Dharmasthala is famous for Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple and Bahubali monolithic statue of 39 feet height and weighing more than 210 tons. This statue, located on Ratnagiri Betta, was brought to this location from Karkala in 1982. Confluence of various religions is the evidence of the tolerance and spirit of oneness that is the quintessence of Dharmasthala.
Legend of Bahubali:-
Bharatha and Bahubali were the sons of the first Jain Theerthankara, King of Rishabha. After is reign he gave Bharatha, his elder son, Ayodhya to rule. To Bhaubali he gave Podanapura. Bharata then acquired the celestial spinning Chakra Ratna, that empowered him to conquer the world.
With his chakra, Bharata conquered many kingdoms and achieved total sovereignty over them then he set to conquer his brother Bahubali's Podanapura. On requesting Bahubali to accept his supremacy, Bahubali refused, thus infuriating Bharatha.
To avoid a bloody war, the two brothers fought each other hand to hand. Bahubali vanquished his arrogant and acquainting brother and would have killed him, when realization dawned on him. This realization brought disillusionment with the world of lust and greed. Bahubali renounced the world and handed over his kingdom to Bharatha.
He assumed the role of Digambara to begin penance naked and standing until he gained enlightenment. This symbolizes total detachment from the material world owing only to service the mankind.
Chandranath Swamy Basadi:–
A Jain temple which has been renovated in recent past. The installed image has a brilliant golden halo. The place is peaceful and quiet for a little meditation. The temple has decent stone sculptures.
This hill is also called as Badinede Betta. His Shrine and dwelling place of four Dharma Daivas - Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari situated on this hill.
Devotees may avail Darshan, Pooja & Prasadam from 6-30 a.m. to 2-00 p.m.
Abhisheka, Archane will be held from 8-30 a.m. to 11-00 a.m.
At night Darshan, Pooja will be held from 7-00 p.m. to 8-30 p.m.
Thulabhara Seva can be offered at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 Noon on any day.
(Materials supplied by Temple only)
Main Festivals held at Sri Dharmasthala Kshetra:-
Ganesha Festival (Ganesha Chowthi ) - Worship of Lord Ganapathi in the Temple and the storehouse
Navarathri - A nine-day festival, Special worship at the Sri Ammanavaru Shrine.
Deepavali - Festival of lights and commencement of special annual ceremonies.
Laksha Deepotsava - Festival of lights, celebrated for five days in the month of Kartika (November - December).
Shivarathri - Night-long Bhajan and special poojas with Car festival.
Annual ‘Jathre’ (annual festival or carnival) - A nine-day Festival with Car festival and other rituals is held in April every year.
Patthanaje - This is the last festival held in May before the onset of the monsoons.
Annadana (offering food) at the famous Annapurna dining hall is aunique feature of Dharmasthala.
How to get there:-
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.