There are over 300,000 temples in India, and South India is home to some impressive temples. One of them is the Dharmasthala temple located in Dakshina Karnataka. The main deity of the temple is Siva referred to as Dharmasthala Manjunatha.
About the Dharmasthala Temple
The Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala temple is a unique temple and one of the renowned landmarks in the religious chronicle of India. The Dharmasthala temple dates back to 800 years. Manjunatheshwara or Dharmasthala Manjunatha is the chief and the presiding deity of this holy and spiritual abode. The Dharmasthala Manjunatha took the form of a Shivalinga and made the temple town of Dharmasthala an immaculate and holy place. The Dharmasthala temple is a Shaiva temple that is worshipped by Vaishnava priests ( who are followers of Lord Vishnu), and the administration is in the hands of Jain descendants.
Dharmasthala temple means the “abode of dharma”- the essence and nucleus of humanity and faith. The name screams Dharma, which means righteousness and the epithet of the most divine emotion in the world that transcends one’s cast, sex, gender, creed, and religion.
Legend and Origin of Dharmasthala Manjunatha
Dating back 800 years, Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma. It was known as Kuduma in Mallarmadi, which was a village in Belthangady. In this village lived a Jain Bunt priest or chieftain by the name of Birmanna Pergade. He, along with his wife Ammy Ballalthi, lived a comfortable life in a house called the Nelliadi Beedu. The legend and history has it that the angels who guarded Dharma took human incarnations and reached this abode of Pergade.
They were on the lookout for a place where Dharma was being preached, propagated, and practiced. The couple played excellent hosts to the visitors without knowing their true identity. They revered them as Indian tradition exemplifies a guest as Athiti and “Atithi Devo Bhava” ( Guest is God). Pleased by their hospitality and generosity, the Daiva ( Gods) of Dharma appeared in Pergade’s dreams. They explained why they visited him and asked him to vacate to house to worship Dharma.
This entire event was to propagate the importance of Dharma. Pergade and his wife built themselves another abode and began worshipping Dharma at Nelliadi Beedu. Thus the worship of the Dharma Daivas still continues.
The Daivas appeared before Pergade and asked him to build separate shrines dedicated to the four Daivas- Kumaraswamy, Kalarkayi, Kalarahu, and Kanyakumaru. They also instructed Pergade to choose two people from a noble lineage to act on behalf of the Daivas vision. They asked to see four worthy people to help him in his duties to perform the rituals as the head. In return to his devotion, the Daivas promised him the safety of his family, charity, and fame for the Kshetra ( Nelliadi Beedu).
Pergade built the shrines and invited renowned Brahmins to perform the pujas. The Brahmin priests requested Pergade to install the Shivalinga next to the Daivas. The Daivas sent their messenger to get the ShivaLinga from the Kadri Manjunatha temple, and the Dharmasthala Manjunatha temple was built around the linga.
Dharmasthala temple has since occupied a very special place in South India and has blossomed because of the charity of Shri Devraja Heggade, who consecrated the linga himself. With his blessings, the Dharmasthala Manjunatha temple has blossomed into a holy place of worship. Dharmasthala is well connected to various cities in South India, and Bangalore is the closest city. There are several Bangalore to Dharmasthala buses that ply every day at regular intervals.
Dharmasthala Temple Timings
- Darshana & Pooja: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. | 12:15 p.m to 2:30 p.m | 5-00 p.m. to 8-30 p.m.
- Abhisheka & Archana: 8-30 a.m. to 10-30 a.m.
- Thulabhara Seva: 8:00 a.m. and 01:00 Noon
While Dharmasthala temple is currently open post Covid-19 lockdown imposed across the state of Karnataka, devotees are requested to follow all the social distancing guidelines and preventive measures like wearing the mask and using hand santizer while entering the temple.
If you are planning a trip from Bangalore, then book a Bangalore to Dharmasthala bus via redBus website or download their app. Avail of deals and discounts to have a wonderful visit to the temple town.