The Dharmasthala Temple is a beautiful, historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated around 65 kms from Mangalore. This is temple is very famous and a pioneer in Annadhanam (feeding the mass). The modern, hygienic, automated kitchen of this temple has been designed to feed 30,000 to 70,000 pilgrims on any given day. Padma Vibhushan Shri D.Veerendra Heggade,who is the Dharmadhikari (CEO), is instrumental behind this eco friendly kitchen and its operations.The kitchen and the food preparation process, serving food to thousands was recently featured on National Geographic channel as one of the most efficient and resourceful mass kitchens of India.
The history of the temple dates back to 800 years. Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma, where lived a village chief called Birmanna Pergade and his wife Ammu Ballalthi in a house called Nelyadi Beedu. They were pious and affectionate couple known for their generosity and hospitality .
According to legend, four Dharma devadais (guardian angels) Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari arrived at Pergade’s home as mortals in search of a place where Dharma was being practiced .The Pergade couple hosted these adithis (guests) with all their humility and hospitality. Pleased by their sincerity that night the Dharma devadas appeared in the dreams of Birmanna Pergade, asked him to vacate his house for the worship of the God Dharma and dedicate his life to the propagation of Dharma.Without hesitation, the Pergade moved out of his house and began worshipping the Deities at Nelyadi Beedu. This continues even today.
These Dharma devas appeared in Pergade's dream and asked him to construct seperate shrines for them. Pergade built the shrines and invited brahmin priests to perform the temple rituals. These priests requested Pergade to also install a Shivlinga beside the native devadais. A local person serving Pergade called Annappa Swamy was sent to procure the idol of Lord Manjunatheshwara from Kadri, near Mangalore. Later, Shree Manjunatha Swamy temple was built around this idol.
Around the 16th century, Shri Devaraja Heggade, the chief care taker of the temple in the Pergade family lineage, invited Shri Vadiraja Thirtha of Udupi to visit the place. Swami Vadiraja sensed that idol of Lord Manjunatha had not been consecrated according to the agama sastras (vedic rites). Shri Heggade then requested the Swamiji to reconsecrate the Shiva Linga himself. The Swamiji named the place Dharmasthala meaning the abode of religion and charity. The charity work established by the Pergades 800 years ago have been nurtured and maintained by 21 generations of the Heggade family.
The Temple : The temple is situated in a big sprawling space and has been built in the Kerala temple architecture. The temple constructed with wood, stone and metals. The base structure of the temple is made using granite and laterite. The temple has a pyramidal roof. The conical roof is made of wood and is covered with gold plated copper plates in order to protect the inner framework from the vigorous monsoons of the western ghats. THe gold plated gopuram over the sanctum is in traditional South Indian style.
Lord Shiva as Shri Manjunatheshwara in the form of lingam is the moolavar (principal deity). There are sannidhis for the Dharma devadais Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari. There are sannidhis for Ganesha, Subramanya, Goddess Ammanuvaru (Ambal or mother Goddess in Kannada),Sri Annappa swamy.
Annaprasadam (Annadhanam) A three course meal with a sweet is offered to every one of the thousands of pilgrims, who visit the temple is offered free food,irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status. It is a tradition not to leave Dharmasthala without having the meal,which is the prasadam of this temple.Annapurna Choultry, the hall where the food is served is equipped with a hygienic, automated kitchen designed to feed 30,000 to 70,000 pilgrims on any given day.Shri D.Veerendra Heggade makes sure that the kitchen is run on alternate forms of energy to make kitchen truly eco friendly.The kitchen and the food preparation process, serving food to thousands was recently featured on National Geographic channel as one of the most efficient and resourceful mass kitchens of India.
Sunday and Monday
Morning : 10.30 Am to 4.30 Pm
Night : 07 Pm to 10 Pm
Tuesday to Saturday
Morning : 11 Am to 02.45 Pm
Night : 07 Pm to 10 Pm
There are special pooja on Sivarthri, Pradosham days. Ganesh Chaturthi, Navarathri (Dussera) are also ver important here.During the April, the 'Pattanajae Jatre' is celebrated just before monsoons. One of the major festivals includes Laksha Deepothsava or the Festival of Lights towards the end of the year is a major festival here.
Some tips to the vistors
There are a few mandatory rituals to be followed within the premises.
Temple location The temple is situated in the town of Dharmasthala.
Temple Timings The temple is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m, 12:15 p.m to 2:30 p.m in the evenings 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
How to reach? The nearest Airport is Mangalore. The temple is around 65 kms from Mangalore and can be easily reached by road. There are plenty of buses from Mangalore,Sringeri,Udipi,Kukke Subramanya to this place.
Where to Stay? There are clean and hygienic accommodations available at the temple premises itself. Ganga, Kaveri and Narmada and nine new modern guest houses Sannidhi , Nethravathi, Gayathri, Vaishali, Saketha, Gangotri, Sharavathi, Rajathadri and Sahyadri. Online booking for these can be done at https://www.shridharmasthala.org/online-room-booking/
Other interesting places around Dharamasthala The Manjusha Museum is situated very close to the temple is a museum of armors, swords, old cameras, vintage cars.
Situated atop the Ratnagiri Hill 1 km from the Manjunatha temple is the majestic shrine of lord Bahubali standing at a height of 39 feet.
The famous Kukke Subramanya temple is around 55 kms from here. Udipi Sri Krishna temple and Srigeri Sri Saradha temple are around 100 kms from here. Horanadu Sri Annapoorani is around 90 kms from here.
Plan your itinerary in such a way that you visit these "the must visit in your life time places".