Estd:  About 800 years ago


By: The Jain Chieftain, Shri Birmanna Pergade. Since then 20 generations of his lineage now known as Heggades have dedicated  their lives for the  management  and development of this sacred place, Dharmasthala which literally means the abode of Dharma. The head of the temple is known as Dharmadhikari under whose guidance, direction and vision the temple runs.  


The present Dharmadhikari, the 21st in the lineage is  Padmabhushan Shri  D.Veerendra Heggade, popularly known as Rajarshi, a man of vision and action. He is a Karmayogi of great dedication and devotion to duties.


Presiding Deity: Shri Manjunatheshwar(another name of Lord Shiva)


Other Deities: Mother Goddess Ammanavru, Lord Ganesh and the first Dharma Devates and also Annappa Swamy.


 Presiding Deity Consecreted  By: Shri Vadiraja Swamiji of Shri Madhwa Peetha, Udupi, in the 16th Century, AD.


Important Festivals: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi(September); Navaratri (9 days festival  during Dasara (Sept-October), Deepavali(Festival of Lights—Oct.-November), Laksha Deepotsava (Festisval of Lights and Grand illumination) for 5 days in Kartika, (Nov. December), Shivaratri(Feb.-March),  Annual Car Festival(April—Starting from Solar New Year’s Day for nine days) and Pattanaje(the Last Festival of the year May 24th)


The Temple also holds Annually Sarva Dharma & Sahitya Sammelan besides Cultural Programmes like folk dance, music, dance and drama during Dasara.

Journey Details: Well connected by road to Mangalore which has a Railway Station and also an Airport.

Unique Feature: The temple has a unique feature of giving justice if both the disputing parties agree. This is a judiciary function and the aggrieved parties will first report to the temple and the temple will immediately summon  the opposite party irrespective of the caste or creed or community. After listening to both the parties, the Dharmadhikari gives his verdict which is binding on both. There are no lawyers to plead, no court stamp fee or inordinate delay, either.

Another notable activity of the temple is to help financially restoration and repairs of other temples, if they seek assistance. Really a very noble gesture.


Legend: The original name of the place was Kuduma, the Headquarters of the Jain Chief Birmanna Pergade. Pleased with his piousness, the dharma devatas or the angels of righteousness arrived at this place. He constructed a temple for them. Later during the 16th Century, Shri Vadiraja Swamy of Shri Madhwa Peetha Udupi consecreted Shri Manjunatheshwara Idol brought specially from Mangalore Kadri temple and renamed this place as Dharmasthala,  in appreciation of the dharmic and charitable activities of the temple.  The tradition continues even now with more and more vigour, year after year. The temple serves free food every day to hundreds of people, visitors and devotees.  The kitchen and dining hall is mechanised to handle food for hundreds and it is worth seeing the mass feeding.


Welfare Activities: The temple runs a host of educational institutions, professional colleges including a Management Institute, in the state of Karnataka. The samoohik wedding programmes are very popular when the temple itself gifts the sacred gold mangalasutra, and bears the expenses of  wedding dress and also dinner to a limited number of guests of the couple. Every year more than 500 couples get married in this way, without any barrier of caste, creed or community, or without the problems of dowry and heavy expenditure.


Other Activities: The temple has a very active yakshagana folk dance- drama troupe and also a yakshagana  training centre. It has a Library of Ancient Manuscripts; a Museum to display many facets of the cultural heritage by exhibiting the sculptures, paintings, idols and other works of art. There is another museum where vintage cars of the bygone era, yet completely roadworthy are on display. One may not find such a beautiful collection of cars even in the United States, the very home of automobile industry. All this has been possible on account of the untiring efforts and farsightedness of  Shri D.Veerndra Heggade, the dynamic Dharmadhikari, who, always  moves with the  moving times.(Pic : Gomateshwar at Dharmasthala, carved By Dr. Shilpi Gopal Shenoy)

 Viewing differently, this is a unique temple where Hinduism and Jainism go hand in hand  almost without any line of demarcation. Therefore, the tall monolithic Bahubali statue carved around 1972 AD by Shilpi Ranjal Gopal Shenoy stands here with all majesty.

 In recognition of his invaluable and distinguished services to the society as a whole the Government of India conferred on him the title of PADMA BHUSHAN  in the year 2000. A rare honour to excellent Temple Management.

This is a temple of  All India fame, held in high esteem by GSBs as a pilgrimage centre.