Karnataka is a land of spiritual vibes. Here we find many piligrimage centres. Every district of Karnataka has many ancient and unique temples. Coastal districts of Karnataka is not only famous for its marine beauty for its serene temples.
Most of the temples in coastal region have a legacy of centuries. All these temples are throng by devotees. Dharmasthala is one of the most famous temple in the country. It is covered with beautiful nature.
The Dharmasthala Temple is a historic temple that is about eight centuries old. It is dedicated to the Lord Shiva i.e Manjunath Swamy and is situated in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada District. As the name suggests, Dharmasthala is a land of Dharma and holiness. Here no one is suppose to do wrong things like robbery, speaking lie, and cheating others. Also many devotees believe that if any one does it then the God will surely punish him/her if the victim approaches the Manjunathswamy.
The Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple although dedicated to Lord Shiva, is very unique in nature. Besides the primary deity, there are other idols like Dharma Daivas and Shakti or Ammanavaru as well as the four Guardian Spirits of Lord Dharma such as Kalarkayi, Kanyakumari, Kalarahu and Kumaraswamy.
As per history, the area was ideally in a village called Kuduma in Belthangady. The famous Jain Bunt Chief Birmanna Pergade, used to reside in his house at Nelyadi Beedu along with his wife Ammu Ballalthi. One day, the four guardian angels of Lord Dharma masked themselves as human beings and entered the house. They were on a quest of preaching and propagation of Dharma and received a very warm welcome in return. They even requested the chieftain to vacate the house, which he accepted. Finally, they ended up making separate shrines for the four Daivas as well. A lot of this communication happened over dreams, and finally, dreams turned into reality.
After Pergade made the shrines, Brahmin priests were invited to conduct the rituals, who then asked Pergade to construct a Shivalinga right next to the Daivas. The temple was later constructed around these significant structures.
Birmanna Pergade and Ammu Ballalthi, the makers of the temple ideally, are the hereditary trustees of this temple. Different positions or designations are assigned to each member. While the eldest member acts as the Chief Administrator or Dharmadhikari, he earns the title of the Heggade. He is entrusted with the duties of solving disputes revolving around criminal and civil cases. This has been going on for years now and currently, Veerendra Heggade is the Chief Administrator.
The devotees are expected to conform to certain rules to pay respect to the sentiments associated with the temple. The men are supposed to remove their shirt and vest. While the ladies are not allowed to enter the temple wearing nighties, and the men cannot enter wearing half pants. Children below two years cannot enter the Sanctum Sanctorum. Many devotees are fond of the prasad or meals of temple here.
The Manjusha Museum is situated very close to the temple and is a storehouse of armours, swords, old cameras, vintage cars from Sri Veerendra Heggade’s collection.
Kateel, Moodbidri, Udupi, Mangaluru, and Subrahmanya are the places one can visit during his/her Dharmasthala visit. September to February is the best time to visit Dharmasthala.
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