Temples of Karnataka - Shri Dharmasthala Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Shri Dharmasthala temple located in the village of Dharmasthala, in Belthangady Taluk of South Kanara District of Karnataka State. It is one of the most sacred places in South India.

It is situated in on the Mangalore-Charmady Road 40 miles from Mangalore. The river Nethravathi flows in this region where pilgrims take bath on their way to the temple.

There are hills of Jayakeerti Betta or Shivarathri Betta and Badinede Betta in the surrounding areas. This temple attracts Jains, Hindus, Christians and Muslims too, who come there for amelioration of their ailments in some form or other. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shri Manjunatha Swamy which is a form of Lord Shiva is believed to be very powerful.

The legend has that the Shiva Lingam in Dharmasthala was brought to Dharmasthala by a man called Annappa who used to work for the Hegede family. Once when the Hegede he was serving wishes to worship Lord Shiva, Annappa promises to bring one Lingam and vanished from the sight. Before anyone could get from the sleep, Annappa installs Shiva lingam in Dharmasthala near Hegede’s house. This was the lingam from Kadri near Mangalore from the Kadri temple. By that time, Annappa had vanished and no can trace him anywhere. Now Annappa is worshipped as Annappa Panjurli, a local god deva and a hero in Dharmastala. His shrine faces the Linga of Manjunatha in Dharmasthala.

The Goddess Ammanavaru or Parvati and Lord Mahaganapathi shrines lie in inner circle of the main sanctum. There is an annual festival of Deepotsava held in November or December in which around one lakh divas are lighted. The place of Dharmasthala is also known as a Chair of Justice. The other shrines of the place include four dharma daivas such as Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumaraswamy and Kannyakumari near the main temple.

A monolithic statue of Bhagavan Bahubali weighing about 200 tons and measuring 52 ft long and 14 ft wide has been installed on the Ratnagiri hill near Dharmasthala.

In Dharmasthala, there is a museum called Manjusha which has the collection of great ancient works of arts, beautifully crafted stone, metallic statues, paintings etc. The vintage car museum is like a study place for history of transportation having a collection from an old horse chariot to rare vintage cars, all in good running conditions.


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