Dharmasthala, the namesake of SKDRDP, is a famous Hindu religious shrine of South India with about 700 years of History. The presiding deity of Dharmasthala is Lord Manjunatha Swamy, reincarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is managed by the Heggades who is considered to be the speaking Manjunatha. The Heggade position a hereditary one, is being passed on from generation to generation. Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade is the presiding Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala temple and has been in the seat for the last thirty eight years.
Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade is the 21st in the lineage.
Dharmasthala is known for religious harmony, yet with a lot of Bhakthi and religious fervor. Although the deity is Shiva, the Priests are Vaishnavaites and the trustee of the temple is a Jain community. Dharmasthala is also home for Chandranatha Swamy Basadi and a place of worship for Jains.
The festivals of Dharmasthala have a tinge of religion, bhakthi, social value, cultural ethos, rituals and attract tourists and faithfuls from all over the country. Annadana and Abhayadhana are two of the major functions ordained to be performed by the Heggades as the trustees of the temple while Sarvadharma and Sahithya Sammelana are annual features of Dharmasthala.
Excellent facilities are provided for visitors of Dharmasthala. The massive "Annapoorna Dining Hall" provides lunch and dinner for all the visitors of Dharmasthala where the quality of hygiene and food practiced and prepared in the kitchen is exceptional.
Besides a 39 feet monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali, some of the other attractions of Dharmasthala includes a unique car museum, an antique museum, the bathing ghats of river Nethravathi and the Annappa Swami hillock.