Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala :History Architecture,significance

Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala

Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala

Sri Manjunatha Temple, in Dharmasthala, Karnataka, is about 800 years old with a pleasing environment dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva. There is a soul-stirring beauty about the temple which extends into its serene surroundings.

But what does Dharmasthala mean? It means the “Adobe of Dharma”, representing the essence and nucleus of humanity and faith. The temple embodies the spirit of tolerance, rising above barriers of religion, faith, caste, and creed. While the trustees of the temple are of Jain faith, the priests are Vaishnavaite, further nurturing and sustaining the deep roots of charity and oneness that is unique to the Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala temple.

The story behind the temple

About 800 years ago,when Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma, a village in Mallarmadi, Belthangady, a Jain Bunt priest Birmanna Pergade lived with his wife, Ammy Ballalthi, at his house, known as Nelliadi Beige. Legend has it that four angels of Dharma took a human incarnation and visited Pergade as they were searching for a place to preach, propagate, and practice Dharma. The kind couple welcomed them warmly and treated them with respect and kindness. The Daiva (God) of Dharma appeared in Birmanna’s dream and asked him to vacate the house for Dharma’s worship. Birmanna Pergade built four separate shrines dedicated to four Daivas: Kumarswamy, Kanyakumari, Kalarahu, and Kalarkayi. The Davias also instructed them to choose four people to help them and two to act on behalf of Daivas’ vision. After building the shrines, the couple invited Brahmans to perform the puja and installed Shivlinga next to Daivas.

Since then, the worship of Dharma Daivas has continued in the temple and has become established as a not only special place in South India but has also become one of the holiest places to worship.

Nrisimha Shaligram, an avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu, is situated behind the main Shiva lingam in Manjunatheshwara. The temple also houses shrines to Devi Ammanavaru (Mata Parvati) and Mahaganapati.The temple area also houses the temples of Durga Maa and Ganesh Ji. Shrines belonging to four Dharma daivas are also located near the main temple, which are Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kanyakumari, and Kumaraswamy.


Kerala-style temples are pretty different from temples in other South Indian temple architecture, and the Manjunatha Dharmasthala temple reflects this differentiation.

Materials used in building the temple are wood, clay, stone, metals, and laterite. The base structure is made up of granite and laterite.  The temple has a square plan, and therefore a pyramidal sloping roof. The wooden roof is covered in gold-plated copper plates to protect the inner skeletal framework. Wooden pillars support the front pavilion of the temple.

The significance of the temple

Hindu temples are socio-economic entities and welfare institutions which reflect the knowledge and cultural aspects of the region.

A famous seva called Annaprashadam has been followed for years in the temple, where free food is offered to thousands of people on a daily basis. Devotees are advised not to leave the temple without having a prasad. Even the hygiene, cleanliness, and waste transformation system at their disposal is so efficient and resourceful that the National Geographic Channel features the kitchen of this temple on their channel as one of the best mass kitchens in India.


Another tradition followed in the temple is Shri Mudi, where the devotees who visit offer their hair to the deity, symbolizing that the devotees have sacrificed their ego and their materialistic desires to please the Lord. It is not mandatory, but devotees who wish to do so can pay the fee and donate their hair at the Shri Mudi seva counter.The devotees should again visit the Nethravati river after this to purify themselves. It is believed that taking a bath in Nethravathi temple on the way to the temple is holy and pure.


The temple is famous for its annual festival called “Deepotsava”, where numerous lamps and lights are lit in the temple every year in November or December. The view during this time is breathtaking and beautiful.

The temple also celebrates Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Mahashivratri with great enthusiasm.

Dress code and rules of Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala

A proper dress code is required to be followed by the devotees to enter the temple premises. Men are supposed to be bare torso by removing their shirt and vest before entering the temple. Men are not allowed to wear shorts while women cannot wear nightgowns while entering the temple.

Children under 2 years old cannot enter the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Use of mobile phones is not allowed inside the premises.

Carrying bags are also not allowed inside the temple premises.

How to reach the Sri Manjunatha Temple, Dharmasthala?

  • Dharmasthala is about 300 km from Bangalore and 65 km from Mangalore and is easily accessible via road, train, or flight.
  • By air, one can take a flight to the nearest airport to the temple, Mangalore International Airport, about 65 km away from the temple, or to Kempe Gowda International Airport, about 300 km away from the temple.
  • By Train: One can take a train to Mangalore railway station, at a distance of 74 km from the temple.

By road, the drive from Bengaluru to Kshetra Dharmasthala temple is about 310 km. A journey by bus, from Mangalore, would be about 72 km and The Karnataka Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC) is a convenient option with a regular bus service.


The temple opens from 6:30 AM until 2 PM, and again at 5 PM till 8:30 PM.

Darshan, Pooja, and Prashad’s timings in the morning are 6:30 AM to 2 PM, and in the evening, timings are 7 PM to 8 PM. The schedule for Abhishek and Archana is from 8:30 AM to 11 AM.

Thulabhara Seva can be offered between 7:30 AM and 12:30 PM on any day.

In the morning, the office is open from 9:30 AM to 2 PM, and in the evening, from 4 PM to 9 PM.

Though the temple is open throughout the year, the best time to visit is between November till February. One can cover the temple within about 2-3 hours.


Address-Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Manjunatha, Swami Gudi, D.K. Karnataka. 574216

Helpline: 08256266666

08256266655 (Office)


They have their own website, www.shridharmsthala.org, which is open for booking.


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