Chandranatha Swamy Basadi
The confluence of faiths makes Dharmasthala, the abode of dharma, a unique legacy entrenched over the years. The centuries old Shri Chandranatha Swamy Basadi at Dharmasthala has been maintained in the pristine condition and is amongst the one of the most revered and celebrated Digambara shrines in South India. The growing fame of Dharmasthala Shri Manjunatha Swamy temple has often obscured the fact that for centuries that Dharmasthala is also a revered Jain Basadi. With the novel thought of protecting the Jain legacy, a pious and methodical renovation of the temple in May 2001 by Shri Veerendra Heggade has made Shri Chandranatha Swamy Basadi, one of the most beautiful edifices in Dharmasthala and the south of India. Standing against the azure blue sky and the lush foliage around it, this temple clad in white marble is a sight to behold and to cherish, imbibe and nurture the teachings about our mortal life by Shri Chandranatha Swamy, Jain mahaguru Mahaveer and his disciples.
800 years ago, Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma in Mallarmadi, then a village in south canara. Nelyadi beedu is the house where the instigator of Dharmasthala, Jain chieftain Birmanna Pergade and Ammu Ballalthi resided. According to the legend, the guardian angels of Dharma assumed human forms and arrived at Nelyadi Beedu in search of a place where Dharma was being practiced and could be continued and propagated. The Dharma Daivas explained to Birmanna Pergade their purpose of visit and instructed him to vacate Nelyadi Beedu for the worship of the Daivas and dedicate his life to the propagation of dharma. Asking no questions, the pergade built himself another house nearby and began worshipping the Daivas at Nelyadi Beedu, the practice continues to today. The house that is more than 800 years old, is preserved to perfection to this date.
Amidst the piety and frolic of the temple town of Dharmasthala, situated at a kilometer from the Manjunatha temple and led by a beautiful pathway, is the majestic shrine of lord Bahubali standing at a height of 39-feet. It was sculpted in 1973 by the famed sculptor Renjala Gopalkrishna Shenoy under the aegis of Shri Ratnavarma Heggade. The statue was then positioned atop the Ratnagiri Hill in February 1982 by Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade, after Shri Ratnavarma Heggade left to the heavenly abode.
This shrine can be reached by climbing steps of the hill for about 20 minutes or by road. The hilltop renders a heart-throbbing view of the temple town Dharmasthala with a lush green background in the mornings and lamp-lit in the nights.The best time for the tourists to visit this statue is in the morning to get away from humidity and sunny weather. On top of the hill, there are shelters and drinking water facilities for the pilgrims. The mahamastakabhisheka of lord Bahubali has since been performed thrice in 1982, 1995 and 2007, with a grand spectacle that brought together many jain monks and people from all over the country and beyond.
The monolithic stone sculpture of Lord Bahubali symbolizes renunciation, self control and subjugation of the ego as the first step towards salvation. The digambara form of Bahubali represents complete victory over earthly desires and needs, which forms the edifice for spiritual ascent towards divinity.
The transportation of the gigantic monolithic statue, 39ft. high, with a pedestal of 13 feet weighing about 170 tonnes, from Karkala to Dharmasthala was a tremendous challenge. A distance of 64 kilometers was covered with great public enthusiasm and participation, on a trolley with 64 Wheels, driven by 3 tractors of 250 HP over treacherously winding roads in 1970.
Annappa Swamy Betta
When Shri Birmanna Pergade renounced his personal abode to worship lord shiva in the place, the Daivas then sent their vassal Shri Annappa Swamy to procure the Idol of Lord Manjunatheshwara from Kadri, near Mangalore. Subsequently Shree Manjunatha Swamy temple was built around this idol. Located 1.5 km west of the new bus stand and half a kilometre from the Shri Manjunatha temple, in the southeast direction is the hill of Annappa Betta, which is also known as Badinede Betta; this shrine is dedicated to Shri Annappa swamy and is home to the shrines of the four Dharma Daivas. A peep through the window of the inside of a dwelling, one can see a swing, believed to be used by one of the Daivas Generally the hill is visited, after having visited the main temple. Entry of children and women is restricted to this hill owing to the legend and lore of the temple.
SDM Manuscript Library
Since the time of installation of the Dharma Peetha at Dharmasthala, most of the the literary evidences that have been retrieved are being preserved for future references. The SDM Manuscript library not just hosts the manuscripts from the history, but has also been a prominent research aid to different historians and institutions in India and beyond. Thousands of manuscripts in Kannada, Tulu, Tamil, Malayalam and other symbolic literatures have been found in the land of dharmasthala over the time. Manuscripts found elsewhere are being preserved at here due to the scientific methodology that is in place.
Annapoorna Dining Hall
Every one of the thousands of pilgrims, who enter the portals of Dharmasthala to seek the blessings of Lord Manjunatha, is offered free food .Every visitor is a welcome guest irrespective of caste, creed, culture or status. Annapurna Choultry, an exquisite example of present day architecture, equipped with a modern, hygienic, automated kitchen designed to feed 30,000 to 70,000 pilgrims on any given day. To make Annapoorna Choultry truly eco friendly, Shri D.Veerendra Heggade makes sure that the kitchen is run on alternate forms of energy. The kitchen was recently featured on the international show- Mega Kitchens of National geographic channel as one of the most efficient and resourceful mass kitchens of India.
It has been a folklore and a tradition not to leave Dharmasthala without savouring the meal, doing so leaves your pilgrimage incomplete; the helpers working in the Annapurna choultry, do their best to preserve this sacred belief. The pilgrims are served with a three-course meal, making it one of the best served meals in any temple. The kitchen is self sufficient in every form; from the raw materials to the bio-gas fire and the organic plantain leaf plates used to serve the food. The architecture of the disposal system is of a kind that helps foster the implementation of sustainable energy forms.
For a country as old as India, its heritage is its pride. Though vestiges of ancient India have been lost to the ravages of marauding armies especially in the North, there is still enough that needs great care and protection. Especially in South India. The desire to preserve this ancient culture has to come from the people. Perhaps this thought inspired Shri Veerendra Heggade, to take upon himself the noble task of preserving this ancient heritage. He even undertook restoration in some cases.
Manjusha, located in Dharmasthala, has a unique collection of heritage objects and artifacts, which were in use till recently in the coastal areas. Shri Heggade’s love for preserving Indian cultural heritage has resulted in a vast collection of Indian stone and metal sculptures, paintings, items of jewellery, objects of worship and utilitarian objects created by the craftsmen of the coastal area. This vast collection has been achieved over 35 years of dedication. The collection does not cover just heritage subjects, a keen visitor to Manjusha will be surprised by a beautiful collection of common items like pens, spectacles, nutcrackers, toys, etc. Some of these objects are hundreds of years old. Shri Heggade’s passion for photography is reflected in a collection of cameras, from the smallest to the biggest. An ardent photographer can literally trace the development of photography over the decades by just watching the collection. The vast collection at Manjusha is visual treat to behold. Lovers of history go down memory lane mentally reliving the past. This collection also is a great source of education. Some visitors who are familiar with objects like domestic vessels, ritual objects, toys and games and even manuscripts are motivated to either donate the antiques in their possession to Manjusha or preserve them with care. It gives a great sense of pride that Shri Heggade not only ignited the interest and love for such heritage objects, but also ensured that window to ancient India is kept wide open.
These chariots are yet another portion of our heritage that drew attention of Shri Heggade. These beautiful chariots of the Gods have become victims of the ravages of time. Even the temples, who once took great pride in these beautiful works of art and wooden sculpture, were unable to maintain them. Such temple chariots were brought to Dharmasthala and restored to their original grandeur by a team of dedicated craftsmen. Today they are drawing crowds of visitors who stand in awe and admiration in front of these beautiful wooden wonders who were once called chariots of the Gods.
A visit to this beautiful collection of automobiles and horse drawn carriages can literally trace the evolution of vehicles through the centuries. There are cars of historic importance, a car in which Mahatma Gandhi travelled around the time of freedom struggle. The elegant collection from the erstwhile princely states is a fine example of the royal grandeur. The collection apart, what amazes us the most is, that every car kept in this collection is in perfect running condition. tended by a team of mechanics who take pride in these pristine beauties, the cars are garnered and nurtured alike. The collection of cars has an equal share of elegant machines and power performers.
Jama Ugrana is the main ingredient store for the annapoorna kitchen. With traditional and scientifically proven methods of food preservation, the Jama Ugrana can store food ingredients for upto months. The architecture of the Jama Ugrana is one of the key amazements of the whole set up and one must visit the place to know its grandeur and size. Various items ranging from grains, vegetables, spices, coconuts and other self grown key ingredients are stored in the Jama Ugrana with a continued emphasis on clean and quick access.