The word "Dharma" traditionally means religion, ritual, duty, righteousness, and alms. It also implies justice, truthfulness, freedom from fear, faith, solace, fulfillment and peace.
Dharmasthala is the perfect embodiment of the word "Dharma" for it displays every shade of meaning with which the word is imbued. The greatness of Dharmasthala, however is the fact that it has added an active element to "Dharma", such that it touches the lives of people with a transformational directness that is unique.
To those that come for worship, Dharmasthala represents religious tolerance wherein caste, creed and faith of pilgrims are no bars. For here, the Jain Theerthankara is worshipped on the same consecrated grounds as the native Daivas and Lord Manjunatha (Lord Shiva). The priests are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the guardian of the temple is Heggade, a Jain by faith. Altogether forming a confluence of faiths that harmonize in belief of the Omnipotent.
To those that come for justice, Dharmasthala is the scale that does not tip in favour of a lawyer's glib tongue. Here, without any legal formality or argument the Heggade dispenses justice, acting in the tradition of his ancestral role as the Heggade and representing the presiding deities.
To those that come in need, Dharmasthala is an Oasis, where succour, solace and hope abound in the serenity of the temple and in the free hostelries that provide food and shelter.
And to those that come in curiosity, Dharmasthala is a miracle of paradoxes. Here different faiths co-exist in harmony just as traditions make room for experimental services, High or low, rich or poor, devout or atheist, at Dharmasthala all are equal.
Dharmasthala has not been content being a source of inspiration to the devout. Having expanded the meaning of Dharma to encompasses the advancement of society at large, it has played an active role in bettering the lives of communities far and wide. Its initiatives have aimed at renewing the Paid and hope within, so that people may be helped to help themselves.
800 Years ago, Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma in Mallarmadi, then a village in Belthangady. Here lived the Jain Chieftain Birmanna Pergade and his wife Ammu Ballathi in a house called Nelliadi Beedu. Simple, pious and affectionate people, the pergade family was known for its generosity and hospitality to all.
According to the legend, the guardian angels of Dharma assumed human forms and arrived at pergade's abode in search of a place where Dharma was being practiced and could be continued and propogated. As was their habit, the pergade couple hosted these illustrious visitors with all their wherewithal, and great respect. Pleased by their sincerity and generosity, that night the Dharma Daivas appeared in the dreams of Pergade. They explained the purpose of thier visit to him and instructed him to vacate his house for the worship of the Daivas and dedicate his life to the propogation of Dharma.
Asking no questions, the Pergade built himself another house and began worshipping the Daivas at Nelliadi Beedu. This continues even today.
As they continued their worship and their practice of hospitality, the Dharma Daivas again appeared before the Pergade to build separate shrines to consecrate the four Daivas - Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari. Also, Pergade was instructed to choose two persons of noble birth to act as the Daivas's oracles and four worthy persons to assist Pergade in his duties as the Executive Head of the Shrines. In return, the Daivas promised Pergade protection for his family, abundance of charity and renown for the ' Kshetra '.
Pergade, as desired, built the shrines and invited Brahmin priests to perform the rituals. These priests requested Pergade to also install a Shivalinga beside the native Daivas. The Daivas then sent their vassal Annappa Swamy to procure the linga of Lord Manjunatheshwara from kadri, near Mangalore. Subsequently, the Manjunatha temple was built around the linga.
Around the 16th Century, Devaraja Heggade invited Shri Vadiraja Swami of Udupi to visit the place. The Swamiji gladly came but refused to accept Bhiksha (food offering) because the idol of lord Manjunatha had not been consecrated according to vedic rites. Shri Heggade then
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Virupaksha Temple, HampiVirupaksha Temple is an ancient temple of Hampi steeped in beauty. It is located on the bank of the river Tungabadra. It is dedicated to lord Shiva who is also known as Virupaksha or Pampapati. Pampa is the name of the goddess Parvati, the consort of lord Shiva. Even after so many centuries the temple attracts numerous devotees. Travellers also show deep interest in the ageless beauty of the temple. The number of devotees and tourists rise dramatically during the annual festival. It is celebrated with great fervour in the temple. The temple was built by Lokamahadevi, the Queen of Vikaramaditya II(A.D. 733-745) to celebrate her husband's victory over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.
Standing the test of time, the temple still reflects its old world charm. Over the centuries, new additions were made to beautify the temple. Initially it had only a few shrines with images of the God and the Goddesses. Later several other shrines, halls with numerous pillars, flag posts, huge gateways and a big temple kitchen were added. A walk through the chariot street(now known as Hampi Bazar) brings you face to face with the main entrance of the temple.
The temple flaunts its incredible carvings and sculptures. The huge pillars depict several scenes from the great Hindu epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and Kiratarjuniya. The pilasters are carved with beautiful sculptures of several couples, flora, fauns and geometrical patterns.
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