Dharmasthala is an Indian temple town on the banks of the Nethravathi River in the Belthangadi taluk of the Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, India.

The town is known for its Temple which houses the shrine of Shiva, Manjunatha, Ammanavaru, Chandranath and the Dharma Daivas (guardian spirits of Dharma) — Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari.

Dharmasthala represents religious tolerance. A Jain Tirthankara is worshiped beside Daivas and Lord Manjunatha (Shiva). The priests are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the guardian of the temple a Heggade (Jain). To those who come here for justice, the Heggade dispenses judgments that are said to represent the will of the deities.

Local legend says that the Shiva Linga in Dharmasthala was brought here by a local person with great powers, named Annappa. Legend is that he used to work for the Heggade family. Once when the Heggade he was serving wanted to worship Lord Shiva, Annappa had assured him to get one linga and vanished from the sight. The next morning, he had already established the linga in Dharmasthala, a few metres away from Heggade’s house.

Later it was learned that the linga was from Kadri near Mangalore, from the Kadri temple. By then, Annappa had vanished and he was never again sighted in the vicinity. Now people in Dharmasthala worship Annappa as Annappa Panjurli, a local god deva and a hero.

Lakshadeepa, the festival of lights, is the annual festival of Dharmasthala in November–December. On an average the flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people a day. A mechanised kitchen provides free food for all pilgrims, and there are guest houses with modern amenities.

Nearer to Manjunatha temple a statue of Lord Bahubali, carved out of a single rock, was installed at Dharmasthala in the year 1973. It is about 39 feet (12 m) high with a pedestal of 13 feet and weighs about 175 tonnes. This is one of the five stone statues of Bahubali in Karnataka.

The mahamastakabhisheka of lord Bahubali has since been performed thrice in 1982, 1995 and 2007, with a grand spectacle that brought together many jain monks and people from all over the country and beyond.

The monolithic stone sculpture of Lord Bahubali symbolizes renunciation, self control and subjugation of the ego as the first step towards salvation. The digambara form of Bahubali represents complete victory over earthly desires and needs, which forms the edifice for spiritual ascent towards divinity.

The centuries old Shri Chandranatha Swamy Basadi at Dharmasthala has been maintained in the pristine condition and is amongst the one of the most revered and celebrated Digambara shrines in South India.







Leave a Reply