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Netravathi River

Dharmasthala

Dharmasthala (Kannada :ಧರ್ಮಸ್ಥಳ ) is a temple town in Karnataka. Located amidst the picturesque Western Ghats on the banks of the Nethravathi River, it is about 100 km from Udupi and about 70km from Mangalore.

This holy place is the home of the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple, where devotees of all castes and creeds visit. The temple is devoted to Shiva and houses a linga of gold. The temple is unusual in that it is run by a Jain administration and poojas are conducted by Madhva priests. Everyone enjoys the generous hospitality without any distinction of caste, creed or class whatsoever. On an average the flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people a day. A mechanised and clean kitchen provides free food for all pilgrims. There are guest houses with modern amenities.The temple is unique example of unity in diversity.

Legend

It has been told in Dharmasthala that the Shiva Linga in Dharmasthala was brought to Dharmasthala by a man 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. Surprisingly next day morning, by the time all woke up, he had already established the linga in Dharmasthala, a few metres away from Heggade's house.

Later it was known 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.

Anna Daana

The average flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 people everyday.Every one of the thousands of pilgrims who daily visit shri Kshetra Dharmasthala is an honored guest irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status.The "Anna Daana"[free food] is perhaps one of the most impressive events that takes place at the holy temple.Free food is provided to devotees who come in thousands every day.The temple has modern machinery and makes quality food continuously through out the day.Temple does not differentiate between the rich and the poor for the Anna Dhaana.The dining hall is known as "Annapoorna" .

Vidyadaana

Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala by the SDMCET Society manages a 25 institutions ranging from primary schools, Gurukula to teach yoga, Sanskrit, and professional courses in Engineering, Medicine, and Dental Sciences in Dharmasthala, Ujire, Mangalore, Udupi, Dharwad, Hassan, Mysore and other places of Karnataka state.

The Siddavana gurukula started by the Late Manjayya Heggade has become a model educational institution. Over 250 students are provided free lodging and boarding and learn yoga, Sanskrit in addition to basic school curriculum. The specialty of this institution is its endeavor to teach values based on Indian Culture.

Aushadadaana

In the field of health care, the medical trust also provides services to eradicate and prevent many diseases in local villages. The mobile hospital established by poojya shri Heggade is fully equipped to deal with emergencies and to provide medical treatment to the rural folk in remote parts of the Malnad area. A modern tuberculosis sanitorium was built by Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Medical Trust to give relief to the patients of tuberculosis. It has since been converted into a general hospital. The Ayurvedic Hospitals at Udupi and Hassan provide Ayurvedic medicines as per the ancient text. The Nature Cure Hospital, built on the banks of the Netravathi River, uses a system based on the five elements of Air, Earth, Ether, Water and Light.

SDM Eye Hospital at Mangalore, is a modern scientific eye treatment centre. The SDM Dental Hospital serves regular dental needs and provides specialised treatments such as oral implants, surgery for cleft lip and other orthodontic surgeries.

Shri Heggade has been actively involved in propagating the practice of Yoga, the ancient system of fitness. Surya Namaskara Camps are regularly organised where Yoga is taught. Further 250 high school teachers are trained in Yoga every year, who in turn teach at least 100 students each.

Abhayadaana

Free mass weddings which were started in 1972 have gained popularity. Every year hundreds of couples are getting married (Saamoohika Vivaha mahotsava) here. Following the tradition of the Kshetra where all religions and castes are welcome, hundreds of couples are married in accordance with their personal religious rite. The expenses of the wedding dress, Mangalsutra and Wedding feast for a limited number of the couple's guests are borne by the Kshetra

Heggade Family

The present head of Dharmasthala, Padmabhushan Dr.D. Veerendra Heggade, the 21st in succession to the Dharmadhikari Peetha, has lived up to the great tradition. He has not only continued to uphold the sacred tradition, but carried out his ancestral heritage to a greater height. In doing so he has also achieved remarkable progress in his service to mankind. For over 25 years, Sri Veerendra Heggade has endeared himself by dedicating himself to the service of God and man in religious, cultural and educational fields. He has launched several socio-economic programmes, which have directly benefited the poor. Free mass weddings which were started in 1973 have gained immense popularity over the years. This is a boon to those poor people who cannot afford weddings on their own.

In 1973 a statue of Lord Bahubali carved out of a single rock, was installed at Dharmasthala on a low hill near the Manjunatha temple. It was about 39 foot (12 m) high and weighed about 175 tonnes.

More than 25 institutions from primary schools to professional colleges are run in and around Dharmasthala . Old and decrepit temples have been renovated, taking care to preserve the traditional architecture. Ancient manuscripts and paintings have been painstakingly restored and preserved for posterity. A museum of beautiful antique objects, which is both educative and fascinating, has been established. A car museum houses a rare collection of vintage cars. Every year, a Sarva Dharma Sammelan (multi religious meet) is held at Dharmasthala, which attracts spiritual leaders from various faiths and schools, and patrons of art and literature, from far and wide.

This is also among of the few pilgrim centers in India which provides free boarding and lodging to all the visiting devotees. The exponentially increasing number of visitors is a proof of the good work being done here.

Educational Institutions run by SDM Educational Trust

References

External links

  • http://www.dharmasthala.in
  • http://www.dharmastala.com
  • http://shridharmasthala.org/Home.asp

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