The Dhramasthala Temple is a jewel on the western ghats in Karnataka. This amazing temple is famous for its picturesque places and greenery along with divine Dhams.
The uniqueness of the temple made it popular among other Shiva temples. Hence the name itself speaks about the place’s specialty. Manjunatha Swamy is the main presiding deity. It is the land of righteousness and charity which is maintained even today.
I am so excited to share my experience during the Dharmasthala temple visit. After Corona’s first wave in 2021 March, my spouse and I set on a Dakshina Karnataka Pilgrim tour in Western ghats.
My visit to the Dharmasthala temple
We started our temple tour from Bangalore, the next day after the Shiva Ratri festival. It was around 11.30 in the morning. Bangalore was quite hot during March month. It usually takes around 6 hours from Bangalore to The Dharmasthala temple.
However, it took more than 6 hours for us due to traffic and halted for food in a high way. By the time we reached the foothill of the western ghats, we were tired.
Before visiting the Dhramasthala temple we visited another temple called Surya-Sadha Shiva temple, which is 9 km from the Dharamshala temple. On the way, we also visited one small Subramanya temple named Santhana Subramanya temple.
Lord Manjunatheshwara darshan
We made up our minds that it will be damn packed since it was the next day after Shiva Rathiri. Outside the temple, it was crowded with devotees. So we thought of buying a special darshan ticket. But fortunately, there was not much crowd in the temple.
Devotees enter the temple from queue complex there we happen to see a security guard, Enquired him where to buy special darshan tickets?
He told us there is no need for it since the temple was not crowded. We thanked him and happily started towards the temple with a smile on the face. We started running in the queue complex by laughing like kids.
In the queue complex, there were offices where you can buy a ticket for prasad if needed. The prasad prices are in different ranges, so one can buy according to their discretion.
When we entered the main temple sanctum, it was a bit crowded but worth it. We had a good darshan of Manjunatha Swamy along with the Ammanavaru, the form of Goddess Parvathi Devi.
Since it was a bit crowded inside the main temple sanctum, there was pushing in the queue line among devotees. We felt quite suffocating due to the crowd and mask.
Along with other devotees, we came out of the temple’s main sanctum and went for collecting Prasad, we came out of the divine Dham and took few photos.
After having Darshan of Manjunatheshwara Swamy, we had a small dinner. Started our journey towards the Mukambika temple in Kollur.
Legends of the Dharmasthala temple
To know this amazing story about Dharma, you need to travel 800 years back in time. During that time, before it was named Dharmasthala, a Jain couple used to live here.
There lived a Jain chief by the name Birmanna Pergade and his wife’s name was Ammu Ballalthi. They are well known among the people for their righteousness and hospitality. The home which they used to stay in is called Nelyadi Beedu.
The village they lived in was called Kuduma in Mallarmad, the present-day Dhramasathala. Once four guardian deities of Dharma disguised themselves as humans and came to Birmanna Pergade.
The Dharma Daivas were in search of a place where the Dharma is truly practiced and will continue. The couple who were not aware of the Dharma Daivas disguised forms received them with honor and showed great hospitality.
The Daivas were pleased by their service, they appeared in the dream of Birmanna Pergade. They revealed their true identity and asked him to vacate the home also instructed to make this place the Daivas worship place.
Also, instructed him to spend his life spreading and preaching Dharma. As per instruction, Birmanna Pergade vacated the home by constructing another home for him and made Nelyadi Beedu the Daivas worship place.
Lord Manjunatheshwara Lingam
Later, Daivas appears in the Birmanna Pergade dream and instructs to construct a separate shrine for them. Along with that, they gave a boon to him stating they protect their family, well-known name, and charity for the Temple.
Besides this, they also asked him to select people to help in running the temple. Birmanna Pergade built a temple for four Dharma Daivas and hired a Brahmin priest to perform rituals to the Daivas.
The priest suggests Birmanna Pergade install Shiva Lingam along with Dharma Daivas. The Dharma Daivas sent their assistant, Annappa Swamy to fetch Lord’s idol from the Kadri. Later a temple was built around the idol which is the present-day Dhramasthala temple.
Consecration of Manjunatheshwara
During the 16th century, once Shri Devaraja Heggade Dharamadikari invited Shri Vadiraja Swami from Udupi. Shri Vadiraja Swami was not pleased and didn’t accept the food offered.
Upon asking the reason for rejection, Shri Vadiraja Swami says the Lingam is not consecrated according to proper Vedic rituals.
As per the request of Shri Devaraja Heggade, he consecrated the idol with Vedic rituals and later named it Dhramasthala. The land is famous for its righteousness and charity.
What is the uniqueness of the Dhramsthala temple?
Unlike other Shiva temples, Dhramsthala follows different rituals. Here Vaishnava priests perform the daily ritual to the Lord Manjunatheshwara. Whereas Jains take care of the temple administration. It is the only place where you see the amalgamation of Hindus and Jains.
The Dharmasthala temple timing and dress code
Wear a decent dress while going to the temple. Men have to remove their shirts after entering the main temple sanctum.
The temple is open from 6.30 AM – 2 PM and from 5 PM to 8.30 PM. If you are planning on visiting the temple, then visit accordingly to the timings.
Room booking at the Dharmasthala temple
As India became digitize, booking tickets was made easy, but some temples laid out certain rules for devotees.
One can book rooms only 2 days before the check-in date. The date of the reserved room can’t be advanced or shifted. So make sure you plan properly and book the room.
Cancellation of room booking should be done 2 days prior. Otherwise, the amount will not be returned. Pilgrims who check-in should pay the refundable amount asked by the Guesthouse management. After checkout, if there were no damage done, the amount will be refunded.
Also, guest house management doesn’t hold responsibility for any loss or accidents. Importantly, guest house authorities don’t provide any darshan tickets for the pilgrims.
Make sure you provide proper Id proof while booking the room online and also carry the same while checking In.
Places to visit near the Dharmasthala temple
A great King and Lord of Jains, the remarkable statue is not just a naked figure of a great ruler. It is the statue that tells the greatness of patience and self-control. Bahubali stood for one year without any movement in self-observation.
People consider him Lord Bahubali for his strength, intelligence, and self-control. His story was made as a movie one of the blockbusters of all time, the Bahubali beginning and the Conclusion.
Avoid visiting this place during the afternoon. the best time to visit will be evenings. When it comes to dressing code, men as usual need to remove shirts whereas women need to wear full-covered clothes.
Devotees who visit Dhramasthala also visit this place, you need to climb uphill to reach this place. It is the place where the Dharma Daivas temple is located. Only men are allowed inside the temple, ladies and kids are not allowed.
Netravathi River Barrage
Are you a nature lover? Then visit this amazing river barrage. Few devotees who visit the Dhramasathala temple take bath in the river. Some to absolve the sins whereas others to cure diseases.
Are you looking for some good snaps for Social media profiles? This is the best place to take few good shots. Besides this, on the river bank, there is a famous hospital, the Nature Cure Hospital.
If time permits, why not have a look at the vintage cars at the car museum and the 300 years old artifacts used by the Heggade. This museum is not under government control, it is a private one. It is owned by Shri Veerendra Heggade.
Chandranath Swamy Temple
Why not have a look at the Jain temple? After visiting all the nearby places just have a look at this beautifully crafted temple of Chandranath Swamy. Here many Jains come for meditation and worship.
Visit the temple and spend some time in peace by meditating or by just admiring the architecture. Also, follow the rules laid out by the temple authorities.
Covid-19 Question and answers during temple visit
Is it safe to travel during the covid time?
Yes, if you follow safety measure like getting yourself vaccinated, wear the mask all time, and sanitizing hand frequently.
Can we buy Prasad during the covid time?
Yes, you can buy without any fear. Since we all know covid doesn’t spread through food. But make sure you wash/sanitize your hand before having prasad.
What is the chance of getting covid during the temple visit?
If you are planning on visiting the temple. Make sure it is not peak seasons like a festival, due to heavy crowd there are chances you may get covid. So, always plan a temple tour in the offseason when the crowd is less.
Visit the unique cultural blend temple and the place where Dharma exists even today.
Further Reading– If you are interested in spiritual topics, I have another article and travel guide dedicated to Lord Shiva, please check out The Ramappa Temple travel guide.
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Though a resident of Bangalore and visited this temple many times, I never knew the detailed history of the temple. A very good article