Dharmasthala Temple of Sri Manjunathaswamy is located on the banks of the River Nethravathi in the town of Dharmasthala in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The deities worshiped here are Sri Manjunatha (Lord Shiva) and Ammavaru (Goddess Parvati) along with Jain Tirthankara Chandraprabha and Jain protection Gods, Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumarasvami, and Kanyakumari.
The Temple has presiding deities belonging to both the Hindu and the Jain community. The word “Dharmasthala” means “the place where the Truth or righteousness resides (Dharma meaning the truth and Sthala meaning the place of stay)”. Hence, the place signifies the abode of “Dharma” or truth & justice.
The priests are Hindus following Vaishnavism and the Jain Bunt family (the Pergades) run the temple administration.
Apart from the Temple, the Dharmasthala Temple administration also presides over and maintains various charitable institutions under its control. Further, the region of Dharmasthala is popularly known as the region of Annadana (providing free food), Vidyadaana (providing free education), and Abhayadaana (providing free lodging).
Also, the architecture style resembles the style of a temple in Kerala. The simple square plan of the Dharmasthala Temple has a pyramidal roof on top. The materials used for the base walls are granite and laterite. Moreover, wood and metals were extensively in the sculptures, roofing, and arches of the temple. The Shikhar consists of wood and gold plating.
What is the history of Dharmasthala Temple?
According to history, 8000 years ago, the town of Dharmasthala was popular as Kuduma. A Jain chieftain by the name of Birmanna Pergade lived there with his wife Ammu Ballathi. Nelliadi Beedu was the name of their home. The couple was famous for their generosity and simple life in the community.
Hearing the public talk, the four guardian angels of Dharma arrived at their home in search of a place where they could propagate the philosophy of Dharma. Hence, the Pergade couple received them in their human forms with great respect and sincerity. The angels were very happy with the hospitality of the couple.
At night, the Lord Dharma visited the couple in their dreams and asked the couple to vacate the house for the worship of the Daivas (Gods) and dedicate their lives to propagate Dharma. The Pergades then left the house and started worshiping the Dharma Gods. The Dharma Daivas appeared once more and communicated to the Pergades that they have to build separate shrines for the four Dharma Daivas – Kalaharu, Kalarkai, Kumaraswami, and Kanyakumari.
He also needed to choose two persons of Noble birth to act as an oracle for the Daivas and four persons for helping the Pergades in administration. The Daivas, in turn, promised the Pergade family protection from all evils, abundance in funds and fame.
As instructed, Shri Pergade built the four shrines and invited the Brahmin priests to perform the rituals. On the request of the Brahmins, he sent Annappa Swamy, to procure the idol of Shri Manjunathaswamy from Kadri. Later, a shrine was built making Dharmasthala as Lord Manjunathaswamy’s abode.
In the 16th century by Shri Vadiraja Swamy of Udupi performed the consecration ceremony of the Linga by following the holy Vedic rites.
The Pergades and their future generations maintain absolute selflessness to date and are famous for their simplicity and charity. The successive Pergade family’s eldest male member assumes the responsibility of the Dharmasthala Temple and his title is Dharma Adhikari and Heggade. The current Heggade, Shri Veerendra Heggade belongs to the 21st generation of the Jain family.
What is the significance of Dharmasthala Temple?
The significance of Dharmasthala Temple is that it is an epitome of religious tolerance and charity. The Temple Complex houses a Jain shrine for Sri Chandraprabha Swamy and a Hindu shrine for Lord Shiva. Also, Dharmasthala Temple priests belong to Vaishnavite sects (who treat Lord Vishnu as the supreme God).
The Heggade who is the authority of the Dharmasthala Temple administration performs a kind of judicial function also. Devotees also believe that Lord of Dharma resides at the Temple and that justice will prevail here. Civil complaints called Hoyulus are settled here between the parties involved after they present their cases to the Heggade. The decision given by the Heggade on the Hoyulus is accepted by the civil courts of the country.
The Dharmasthala Temple is famous for the Chaturdanas in Karnataka. Chaturdanas means “Four types of charities”. The four types of charities that take place in the Temple are Anna Danam, Abhaya Danam, Aushadh Danam, and the Vidya Danam. The Anna Danam scheme involves providing free food to all the pilgrims visiting the Temple. Another scheme involves the Heggade offering his advice to people who queue to meet him in matters of general life.
This is the Abhaya Danam. The Temple administration runs several hospitals and health care centers and offers free medical aid to the needy. This is under the scheme of Aushadh Danam. Under the Vidya Danam, the trust has constructed several non-profit educational institutions that provide good quality education to the underprivileged class of the society.
The Annaprasadam at the Annapurna Choultry is one of the Mega Kitchens in the world, found a mention in the National Geographic as one of the most efficient and resourceful kitchens in India. The Kitchen can serve 30,000 to 70,000 pilgrims every day. Moreover, the kitchen modern. The wastage is disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.
The statue is naked in appearance symbolizing complete victory over earthly desires and ascent towards divinity.
What are the timings of Dharmasthala Temple?
Here are the timings of Dharmsthala temple:
|Open||6:15 AM||8:30 PM|
|Morning Darshan||6:15 AM||11 AM|
|Afternoon Darshan||12:15 PM||5:15 PM|
|Shatarudrabhishekam Pooja||8:10 AM|
|Shiva Sahasranamavalli||10:45 AM|
|Mahanaivedya Samarpana||11:30 AM|
Dharmasthala Temple Food Timings
Dharmasthala Temple serves very hygienic food for free and is a must-have. The timings are from 12 pm to 2 pm.
What is the dress code for Dharmasthala Temple?
The Dharmasthala Temple administration has a strict dress code for both women and women and if not followed, they are disallowed from entering the temple premises. Men are required to remove their shirts and vests before entering the Sanctum. Bermuda half-pants, nighties, and miniskirts are not allowed.
Children below 2 years of age are not allowed to enter the Sanctum.
Which festivals are celebrated at Dharmasthala Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Dharmsthala temple are:
All the festivals in Dharmasthala Temple take place during these 11 days. It starts with the Ganesha Festival and then the Laksha Deepotsava for five days. The chest containing the ornaments of the Dharma Daivas is taken around in a procession on the sixth day. The next four days are the days when the Dharma Daivas visit the Heggade through a Darshana Patthiri.
The festival of lights is held for five days every year during the month of Karthik (November – December). The event includes events like Sarva Dharma and Sahitya Sammelanas. The Sarva Dharma event means giving equal importance to the philosophies of all religions. Also, Sahitya Sammelan means literary meet for all people.
The festival occurs in February or March at Dharmasthala Temple. The festival signifies the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Some also believe that this is the day when Lord Shiva absorbed the poison that turned him blue during the churning of Amrit’s episode in mythology. Devotees keep fast and sing bhajans throughout the night and into the day. Special Poojas take place for the Linga. Thousands of pilgrims from in and around Karnataka visit the shrine to receive blessings from the God themselves.
Which sevas and poojas take place at Dharmasthala Temple?
The following Sevas take place for Sri Manjunathaswamy:
- Shata Rudrabhishekam – The Pooja is extremely auspicious and sacred. Devotees also believe that by performing the Pooja at Dharmasthala Temple, one can obtain protection and fulfillment of the wishes from God.
- Bilva Pathrarchana – The Archana takes place for the deity at Dharmasthala Temple with the Bilva leaves on behalf of the devotee.
- Panchamrutha Abhishekam with Ekadasha Rudrabhishekam – The Lord is bathed with “Panch Amrit” that are Milk, Curd, Ghee, Honey and Sugar on behalf of the devotee. Then the Ekadasha Rudrabhishekam Pooja is performed for all the eleven Rudras of Lord Shiva. After the aavahan (welcoming of the deity), sthaapna (giving a seat to the deity) Laghu-nyasam is recited. Then Rudra Trishati is recited. Abhishekam is also done to each of the 11 Rudras with all the 11 dravyas prescribed in the Shiv Puraana
- Karpoora Aarti – The Aarti takes place for the Lord with Camphor known as the Karpoora on behalf of the devotee.
One can also obtain the Theertha bottle and Sri Prasada from the Seva counter at Dharmasthala Temple.
The following Sevas take place for Sri Ammavaru:
- Pavamanabhishekam – The word Pavamana means water that flows and purifies. This Abhishekam is performed amidst hymns for the purification of the soul.
- Flower Pooja – The Goddess is decorated in a delightful combination of flowers and Archana is done with flowers amidst several chants and mantras.
- Panchamrutha Abhishekam – The priest bathes the Lord in “Panch Amrit” that are Milk, Curd, Ghee, Honey and Sugar on behalf of the devotee.
- Kumkumarchana – The Archana takes place for the Goddess with Kumkum on behalf of the deity.
- Besides the above Sevas to the Lord and Goddess, special Sevas also take place which are:
- Gold Pallaki Utsav – The priest worships the idol of the Lord and the Goddess in a Golden Pallaki on behalf of the devotee.
- Silver Lalaki and Deepothsava – Devotees light a large number of lamps or deepams in dedication to God and perform several Poojas and rituals.
- Ranga Pooja – The Pooja takes place only between Monday to Friday with either 24 Yede or 48 Yede.
- Tulabhara Seva – The Seva can take place between 7:30 AM to 12:30 AM on all the days of the week. This Seva includes the devotee sitting on one side of the Tula or the weighing balance. Also, devotees make offerings equivalent to their weights. Then they donate them to the temple. The Seva can take place for both children and adults at the Temple. The Pooja material depends on the choice of devotee like rice, coconut, flowers, bananas, jaggery, sugar, and coins.
How to reach Dharmasthala Temple?
Here’s how to reach Dharmsthala Temple:
- Air – Nearest Airport is Mangalore International Airport which is about 65 km from Dharmasthala Temple.
- Train – Mangalore railway station at a distance of 74 km is the nearest railway station to Dharmasthala. Devotees can hire taxis from there.
- Road – KSRTC buses operate buses from all over the state to Dharmasthala.
Bangalore to Dharmasthala
Here’s how to reach from Bangalore to Dharmasthala:
- Air – Fly from Bangalore International Airport to Mangalore. Mangalore International Airport is about 75 km from Dharmasthala Temple.
- Train – Take a train from Bangalore to Mangalore. Mangalore railway station at a distance of 75 km is the nearest railway station.
- Road – KSRTC buses operate regularly from Bangalore to Dharmasthala.
Where to stay in Dharmasthala?
The Dharmasthala Temple management operates ten guest houses all of which contain basic and hygienic amenities. The guest houses are Ganga, Kaveri, Narmada, Gayathri, Nethravati, Vaishali, Sharavathi, Saketha, Gangotri, and Rajathadri. Besides the Dharmasthala Temple accommodation, several private hotels and lodges also provide good quality accommodation to the devotees.
Where to eat in Dharmasthala?
The Annaprasadam offered free of cost to all the visiting devotees is a must-have for any visitor who wishes to eat at the temple. The meal consists of three courses and is served in a very hygienic manner. Several small vegetarian hotels are there around the Dharmasthala Temple Complex.
The cuisine is mainly South Indian but certain restaurants do serve North Indian and Chinese dishes as well.
What are some of the temples nearby?
Some of the temples near Dharmsthala temple are:
Sri Chandranatha Swamy Basadi
The ancient and one of the most important shrines for Jain pilgrimage is within the town of Dharmasthala. The Temple dates back by several centuries and is an important Digambara shrine. The Temple consists of marble in a traditional Kerala style of architecture.
The Bahubali Hill
A devotee must visit the gigantic statue of Bahubali erected on a hill near the Temple Complex. The statue is 39 feet tall. According to the legend associated with Bahubali, Bharat and Bahubali were the sons of the first Jain Tirthankara, King Rishabha. When Rishabha renounced all material things, he gave the kingdom of Ayodhya to Bharat and Podanapura to Bahubali.
Eventually, Bharat conquered the whole region except Podanapura. To avoid bloodshed, they both fought hand to hand. Just when Bahubali was going to kill Bharat, he realized the futility of war and feud. So Bahubali handed over the Kingdom to Bharat and renounced the world to become a Saint or a Digambara.
Sri Sadashiva Rudra Temple
The Temple is about 12 km away from Dharmasthala in the village-Suriya. Moreover, the Temple is 700 years old. The uniqueness of the Temple lies in the fact that it accepts only clay offerings on behalf of Lord Shiva, who is the presiding deity of the Temple. Moreover, offerings like clay chairs, tables, bride and groom, cradle, house, cattle, and limbs are available outside the Temple for the devotee to choose and offer.
Kukke Subrahmanya Temple
The famous Temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya is located at a distance of 47 km from the Dharmasthala Temple. The Lord Subrahmanya idol represents him as a guardian of snakes and their King Vasuki. Also, the famous Ashlesha Bali, Nagasarpa Dosha Pooja, and the Naagprathishta take place here.
Sri Udupi Krishna Temple
The unique Temple of Sri Krishna in a Bal Avatar is situated at a distance of 101 km from Dharmasthala. The idol of Sri Krishna is represented as a child holding a churning rod in one hand and a rope on the other. Moreover, this form of Krishna is not present anywhere else in the world. Devotees also believe that Lord Krishna’s wife Rukmini made the idol.