Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Dharmasthala

Location Details

Temple name   – Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple

Main deity        – Lord Siva

Location           – Dharmasthala, Karnataka, India


Located in Dharmasthala, Karnataka, the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is situated amidst the Malnad Hills on the banks of River Nethravathi. Believed to be one of the Shri Kshetras, the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Manjunatha and is also popular for Annadhaana, Vidyadhaana and Abhayadhaana. As per beliefs, the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is attributed to the revered Jain Basadi and the temple is also widely known as Chandranatha Swamy Temple. Padma Bhushan Shri D. Veerendra Heggade is the current and the 21st Dharmadhikari of the temple.

The Deity worshipped

Shree Manjunath, a distinct form of Lord Shiva, is the presiding deity of the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple. The deity present in the temple is in the style of Udbhava Linga. Lord Manjunath represents mythological relationship, religion and scholarship.

Besides the main deity there is also a Nrusimha Saligrama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, that sits beside the main deity. Goddess Ammanavaru (Parvathi), Lord Mahaganapati, Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha are worshipped in the temple. Mangaladevi, in the form of Shakti, is also worshipped in the temple.


Initially built by Birmanna Pergade, a jain chieftain, the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple was later reconstructed by Devaraja Heggade during the 16thcentury. The Linga of the temple was obtained from Kadri, a place close to Mangalore. As per legend, once Devaraja Heggade invited Shri Vadiraja Swami of Udupi to visit the place and accept some Bhiksha. After observing the Linga in the temple the Swami was very annoyed and refused to accept the Bhiksha, since the Linga was not consecrated as per Vedic rites. On learning about the matter, Devaraja requested Shri Vadiraja Swami to consecrate the Linga.  Highly satisfied by the philanthropic and religious efforts of Devaraja, Swamiji named the place as Dharmasthala or the abode of religion and charity.

Scriptural references

There are numerous legends associated with the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple. Some of them are as follows:

  • As per legend, some angels disguised as needy humans visited the house of Barmana Heggade. Impressed by the kindness and hospitality of the family the angels appeared in the dream of Heggade and promised him that they would stay in Kuduma (Earlier name of Dharmasthala) and also directed Barmana to make generous donations to the needy. As per the wish of the angels, Barmana built temples in dedication to the angels Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kanyakumari and Kumaraswamy.
  • As per another legend, a deity named Annappa worked for the Heggade family in human form. One day he disappeared after installing a Shiva Linga near Heggade’s House, since Heggade had once expressed his wish to Annappa that he wanted to worship a Shiva Linga. Later it was learned that the Shiva Linga belonged to the Kadri Temple near Mangalore. Annappa is worshipped as Annappa Panjurli, by the people of Dharmasthala.

Soon after taking charge as the 21st Dharmadhikari, Shri Veerendra Heggade completed the construction and installation of the 39ft. Bahubali, weighing 170 tonnes, in Dharmasthala.

Cultural Significance

The Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is of immense cultural value, because of the fact that the temple follows secular tradition. The current Dharmadhikari himself is a Jain and there is no discriminatory practice that is encouraged by the Temple.

Daanas at Dharmasthala:

The Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is also known for the Annadaana, Aushadadaana, Vidyadaana and Abhayadaana. Every single day thousands of pilgrims visit the temple and they are provided with free boarding and lodging in the Netravathi, Vaishali, Sharavathi, Gayatri, Gangotri, Saket, Ganga, Narmada and Kaveri guest houses. All the Annapoorna Choultry pilgrims are provided with free food. The SDMCET Society manages 25 Institutions and some of them are as follows:

  • Siddavana Gurukula: Founded by the Late Manjayya Heggade, it is an institution which promotes the Gurukul system of education and provides free boarding, lodging, and Sanskrit and Yoga classes to almost 250 students.
  • Samoohika Vivaha Mahotsava – Since 1972, mass marriages are organized and sponsored for hundreds of couples, who can marry as per their own religious rites. The expenses related to the wedding dress, Mangalasutra and feast for a limited number of guests are borne by the society.
  • Sarva Dharma Sammelana – This multi religious meet is organized by the society and is encourages an assemblage of spiritual leaders, artists and Litterateurs.
  • Shri Manjunatheshwara Cultural and Research Foundation: This body assists the conduct of research on arts, crafts, literature and religion. The museum named Manjusha, displays the age old cultural artifacts.
  • Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust: This trust is mandated with the preservation of temples.

Shri Heggade himself is playing a crucial role in reviving the Yakshagana School of art. The secular nature of the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is further testified by the fact that the priests of the temple are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the Dharmadhikari himself is Jain.

The Legend Bahubali

The monolithic statue of Bahubali in Dharmasthala, symbolizes the existence of religious tolerance and the quintessential spirit of oneness. The presence of the Bahubali statue also signifies the detachment from the material world and spiritual unification of human society at large.

The Heggade of Dharmasthala

The Heggade of Dharmasthala is very unique to the place and is a pious householder with numerous responsibilities. His major responsibilities are to propagate the Dharma in tandem with the command of the Daivas and to ensure that the traditional rituals of the temple are performed daily. The Heggade is believed to be a representative of Lord Manjunatha himself and he has to perform his social responsibilities by adhering to the traditional four danas i.e. Anna Dana, Aushada Dana, Vidya Dana and Abhaya Dana.

One of the duties of the Heggade is also to dispense justice through the settlement of the Hoyulus. The verdicts of the Hoyulus are also accepted by the Civil Courts across the countries. Shri Veerendra Heggade has also established the Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Dharmothana Trust, for the explicit purpose of preserving and restoring the temples. Shri Heggade also established the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) at Ujire, to empower the rural youth. This project is being executed in coordination with Syndicate Bank and Canara Bank.

Temple details

Originally constructed using clay, laterite and wood the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple is built based upon the Sapta-Konakana style of architecture. The Mukha Mandap or the primary pavilion of the temple is supported by wooden pillars. The three storied entrance of the temple features sloping roofs further accented by the Kalases.

The other major attractions of the temple are the Manjusha Museum, 11 meter high statue of Bahubali and the Shiva Temple in Karanje and Vasnthamahal.

Festivals at Dharmasthala

The major festivals celebrated at the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple are as follows:

  • Lakshadeepotsava: Celebrated in the month of Kartika i.e. the months of November-December, the Lakshadeepotsava is celebrated for five days i.e. from Ekadashi to Amavasya.
  • Nadavali: This festival is celebrated once in every twelve years and the festivities lasts for thirteen days,
  • Navarathri: On this occasion special poojas are performed at the shrine of Ammanavaru. Bhajans, Harikathas, feasts and saree distribution are organized on this auspicious occasion.
  • Ganesha Festival: Special rituals are performed on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi at the Mahaganapathi Shrine located at Annapoorna Choultry. On this occasion, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in a tank near Beedu in the evening.
  • Shivaratri: Rathotsavas, special poojas and night long Bhajans are organized on this very auspicious day.
  • Deepavali: On the occasion of Deepavali, the idol of Sri Swamy is encircled around the temple. Special poojas such as Ranga Pooja and the Seva of the Silver Chariot is initiated from this day.
  • The other major festivals celebrated in the Sri Manjunatheswara Temple are anniversary of Shri Veerendra Heggade’s Pattabhishekha, Pattanaje festival and the nine-day annual festival in which poojas are offered to the Dharmadevatas.

Dr. Heggade’s Message

“I wish that the heart and soul of all the people in the world can come together in vanishing all the disparities and other differences we have.  The world has to unite and the world has to think of peace and prosperity in India, especially the district of Dakshina, Kannada.  We have always had a vision for communal harmony, peace, living together and prosperity of all human beings, so that the humanity of the world should be together.  Let’s be together, join together, grow together, and prosper together.  I wish and pray to Manjunatha Swamy to have all the success for your website and through this more understanding, brotherhood, and prosperity to human kind.”

Address and contact details

Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore.

Nearest airport: Mangalore & Bangalore

Best Season to visit: October to February, June to September

Address of the Temple:

Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatha temple

Dharmasthala – 574 216

Belthangady Taluk

South Kanara District

Karnataka State – INDIA

Phone: 08256-317121, 08256-317123, 08256-317124, 08256-317141

Timing of Temple

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)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *