For over 8 centuries, an unbroken line of 21 generations of Heggades have guided the growth and goals of Dharmasthala.Ever since the Dharma Daivas (guardian angels) asked Shri Barmanna Heggade over 6 centuries ago, to devote his life to the propagation of dharma and use the money offered by the devotees for the development of the society, his successors down the centuries have implicitly obeyed the command.
All the descendants of Shri Barmanna Pergade (now known as Heggade) have devoted their lives to the development of the Shree Kshetra, Dharmasthala and have served the society with unflinching dedication. The significant architects of the modern Dharmasthala were the two illustrious predecessors of the present Heggade. Late Shri Manjayya Heggade and Late Shri Ratnavarma Heggade. Their zealous efforts have not only been responsible for putting Dharmasthala on the pilgrim’s map prominently but also for enhancing the amenities to make the pilgrims comfortable. Besides building better roads, guesthouses, dining halls and choultries, large-scale welfare activities were also initiated for the benefit of a larger section of the poor people.
Manjayya Heggade, who was the Heggade for 37 years from 1918 to 1955, has gone down in history as a truly liberated man. It was he who started the Sarva Dharma Sammelana to emphasize the oneness of all religions and propagate religious tolerance. Besides bridging religious differences, this poet, philosopher, artist and educationist also built the causeway across the river Netravathi to make the journey to Dharmasthala easier. Following is a chronological list of all the administering Heggades of Dharmasthala