Dharmasthala Shiva Temple (Manjunatha Swamy Temple – Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala) is one the famous Shiva Temples in Karnataka, South India. It is an 800-year religious institution, located in Dakshina Kannada district of the state.
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Manjunatheshwara Swamy, one of the names of Lord Shiva. There are sub-shrines dedicated to Ammanavaru, Chandranath and the Dharma Daivas (guardian spirits of Dharma) namely Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari.
The most significant feature of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala is – it is a Shiva Temple and the priest are Shivalli Brahmins of Vaishnava sect in Hinduism while the temple administration is run by a Jain Bunt family called Pergades.
Major Festivals celebrated at Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple
Apart from Pradosha Shiva Puja daily, Paksha Pradosha and Masa Shivaratri Shiva Pooja, Mahashivaratri, Temple Annual Jathre, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navarathri, Deepavali, Patthanaje and Laksha Deepotsava are the popular festivals of the temple.
Sri Manjunatha Temple is located in Dharmasthala, a town which is situated on the banks of the Nethravathi River in Karnataka. Manjunatha Temple contains the Shrine of Lord Shiva, who is called as Lord Manjunatha, along with Mata Shakti Devi, Lord Chandra Bhagavanand also contains Village gods and goddesses such as Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari.
The temple is run by a Jain administrator and pujas are conducted by the Hindu priests. Lakshadeepa, the festival of lights, is the yearly festival of Dharmasthala which would be performed during the months of November–December. Every day free food is served to about 10,000 devotees in a pleasing manner, and guest houses are also available nearby the Temple.
Inside the temple, apart from the Hindu deities, a Jain Tirthankara is also worshiped.
According to legend, a saintly person whose name was Annappa, was brought the Manjunathalinga from Kadri to Dharmasthala. Due to that, people in Dharmasthala used to worship Annappa as a demigod.
The great Madhwa Saint, Shri Vadiraja Swami of Udupi visited Manjunatha Temple during the 16th century, and asked the Temple Administrator to provide free food to all the visiting devotees. As per his orders, still now, every day free food is served to the visiting pilgrims.
A project named as Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development project, and it is started to uplift the Village people, by providing bank loans to the villagers for making small size or medium size businesses. The Trustees of the project used to provide water and butter milk to the villagers during summer season. The Dharmasthala Temple committee used to give free wedding dress, Mangalsutra and arranges for wedding feast for poor girls in and around Dharmasthala.
In the year 2001, a feature film was produced in the name of Sri Manjunatha, which tells the greatness of Lord Shiva, and the miracles performed by him to his devotees.
This Kshetra is a PunyaKshetra, and those who visit Dharmasthala, and worship Lord Manjunatha,would be relieved from their sins and they would get a blessed life.
Let us worship Lord Manjunatha and be blessed.
“OM SRI MANJUNATHARE NAMAHA”
“OM DEVI KATYAYINI NAMAHA”
“OM SRI GANESAYA NAMAHA”