Monday, November 28, 2011

DharmaSthala and Kukke Subramanya

Weekend of November 26, gave us opportunity to visit Shri Kshetra DharmaSthala and Kukke Shri Subramanya.

This was my second trip to these auspicious places. Last time, I had visited here a few years back and so was planning to visit again.

Though the travel plan was made in a bit haste,with not much pre-planning as such and just a couple of days before the weekend, this idea took root. Generally I take a couple of weeks planning before I undertake any trip.

All is grace of Mahadev Shiv Shambhu!!

There is a Railway link, but road is better medium to reach these holy places of Lord Shiva and Subramanya (Kartikeyan) respectively.

From Bangalore, DharmaSthala is about 320 KMs and Kukke is about 290.

As per the local traditions, if someone is planning to visit these places, they should first visit DharmaSthala and then Subramanya.

Bus option was ruled out as kids feel a bit uncomfortable in long journey by it and I was uncomfortable to drive so we zeroed on a Taxi (Indica).

We started from Bangalore on Saturday morning at around 6:20 AM by hired Indica. It was a new vehicle and driver Prakash had already visited these places so that advantage was with us.

We took the route Yeshwantpur – Nelmangala – Kunigal – Hassan – Sakleshpur – DharmaSthala.

From Sakleshpur about 25 KMs further on Mangalore highway, a left turn goes towards Kukke Shri Subramanya. It is about 22 KMs from this turn.

If proceed further straight towards Mangalore, then about 55 KMs from Sakleshpur, a right turn goes towards Shri Kshetra DharmaSthala. It is again about 22 KMs from this turn.

Direction boards are there on road so no chance of missing the turn.

When we started from Bangalore it was drizzling. Infact the whole night it rained at Bangalore. So the weather was a bit cool and visibility was poor. But advantage was that road was light and soon we crossed the city limits and hit the Mangalore Highway NH-48.

From Nelmangala, the straight road goes towards Tumkur, Pune etc. For Mangalore, one needs to take left turn here.

NH-48 is good except a few places where the road construction is in progress.

We drove non-stop till Sakleshpur, where we halted for much needed breakfast at around 11 AM.

Before Hassan, there is Kamath restaurant. It is also a nice place to take some refreshment.

From Sakleshpur onwards the ghat road starts. The road is bad from here and very bad in between some places.

This last stretch of 80 KMs took about 2-1/2 hours!!

Otherwise the natural beauty is superb at this stretch, Dense forest, mountains and amid them small water falls gives the eyes and mind peace and relaxation. Occasional sighting of Netravati river makes the surroundings even more soothing.

The temple trust at DharmaSthala manages the tourist guest houses. There are many guest houses, Nethravati, Vaishali, Sharavati, Gangotri and Saket. The rooms are decent and clean.

We got a room at Vaishali. Took some rest and then started for Temple.

It was about 2:30 PM and we were disappointed to find that the temple is closed and will open at 7 PM.

We decided to explore DharmaSthala town.

The “DharmaDhikari” of DharmaSthala Temple Dr Virendra Heggade has done a lot to facilitate for the comfort of pilgrims. Kudos and thanks to him!!

There are two Museums at DharmaSthala, one is Vintage Car Museum and another is antique Museum. We decided to visit both.

Just before the Netravati Guest House, there is a small Dakota Aircraft housed. This was a gift from Mrs. Priyamvada Birla. This aircraft, built in 1928, is an attraction here.

We first headed towards Car Museum.

Infront of Car Museum, there is a small trainer aircraft from IAF kept, along with two pairs of iron wheels to be used by Elephant carts to carry heavy stone slabs. Also kept nearby is a giant tyre, which has the capacity to carry 120 tons of load and was previously used at Kudremukh iron ore mines.

The Manjush Car Museum is excellent and has a great collection. The oldest Car is of 1903 made, 1 HP Renault. It also has vintage two wheelers, Carts, Mercedes, Limo, Fiat, Austin, Impala, Daimler etc. It also proudly houses a 1929 built Studebaker, which carried Mahatma Gandhi, when he visited south India.

Then we visited Manjusha art Museum.

It has an excellent collection of antiques. Old sketches, paintings, coins, weapons etc, takes one to the distant past. The dress of "Bhoot Pooja" of Tulunadu is amazing. The old models of cameras, radio, typewriters etc are excellent.

These two museums are worth visiting and I thank again to Dr. Virendra Heggade, for his contribution to establish these museums.

It was about 5:30 PM now, so time to move in queue.

We got the fortune to enter the sanctum at around 7:15 PM. The Lord of Lords, Deva-dhi-dev Shambhu is here to bless all.

Other shrines are Annappa, MahaGanapati and mother goddess (Amman Varu).

O Mother! You exist with various forms in the ocean of metempsychosis, by sport (līlā). Indeed, by which method can I write (do) a complete eulogy of You? O Parāmbikā! Make this eulogy — which is made by gluing together a net of random and small words — successful. Give me (Your) memory. Be happy on me.
(Parvati Stotram Shloka 8)

There was huge rush and with kids in lap, we were pushed forward and missed the proper glimpse of Lord Mahadev. Though we were blessed with proper Darshan at Annappa, MahaGanapti and the merciful divine mother.

Dharmasthala was earlier known as Kuduma. Jain Chieftain Birmanna Pergade and his wife Ammu Ballathi used to live here. They were known for its generosity and hospitality to all.

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. Pleased by sincerity and generosity of Pergade, the Dharma Daivas instructed him to build separate shrines to consecrate the four Daivas - Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumaraswamy and Kanyakumari.

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. Annappa Swamy went 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 requested the Swamiji to reconsecrate the Shivalinga himself. Pleased by the observance of the vedic rites and Heggade's charity to all, the Swamiji named the place Dharmasthala, the abode of religion and charity. Thus, the roots of charity and religious tolerance established by the Pergades have been nurtured and strenthened by the Heggade family. Heggade is a derivative from Pergade.

It was about 8:15 PM, when we came out of shrine. There was a big queue at BhojanShala “Annapoorna” so we headed towards a hotel and took some light dinner.

I could not sleep properly as I could not had proper darshan. My wife suggested me to have another darshan in morning.

I got up at around 3 AM. Then waited till around 4:30 AM to take bath and got ready to visit the temple again. Kids were sleeping so my wife decided to be there as I proceeded towards temple.

Again about 1-1/2 hours of queue and now I was lucky that Lord Manjunath blessed me with his divine darshan.

I was so happy, I thanked the merciful Lord, who allowed me to visit his holy abode. I thanked my wife, who cared for me and by taking care of Kids, allowing me to visit the temple.

Then I had darshan of Annappa Swamy, Maha Ganapati and AmmanVaru.

At around 7 AM, I was back to my room. Kids were still sleeping. My wife was happy that Lord blessed me with darshan.

We took some breakfast after kids got ready and then visited the Netravati river. The ghat is on Mangalore road about 2 KMs away from town.

Sadly speaking, we Indians have very bad sense of Hygiene. We call the rivers as our mother, but don’t loose any chance to spoil it. People were cleaning there teeth, washing their cloths and bathing with soap at Netravati!!

Oh Merciful Lord ManjuNatha, give us wisdom to serve you and your creations!!

Now it was time to proceed towards Kukke Shri Subramanya.

We came back to NH48 and take the diversion towards Kukke.

Today the weather was a bit relaxed, with Sun shining.

This road is full with natural beauty and dense rain forest. As we inched closer towards Kukke, the Majestic Kumara Parvat showed us its view.

The clouds were kissing its peak and winds were playing with dense trees and vegetations, any ordinary person will also move into meditation by just the glimpse of these divine views….

We were there at this holy abode by 11 AM.

I sing the praise of that protector of the world,
Who rides on a peacock,
Who is the meaning of great Vedic sayings,
Who has a very pretty mien,
Who resides in the minds of great ones,
Who is the god of all gods,
Who is the tenor of the Vedas,
And who is the great son of Lord Shiva.

(Subrahmanya Bhujanga Stotram Sholka 3)
The great Shiva Bhakta and Serpent king Vasuki was performing tapas for years in the Biladwara caves of Kukke Subrahmanya to avoid the attack of Garuda. Following Lord Shiva`s assurance Shanmuka (Kartikeya, Subramanya) gave darshan to Vasuki and blessed him that he would stay with his parama bhakta in this place forever.

In the 'Shankara Vijaya' Anandagiri observes that Sri Shankaracharya camped here for a few days during his religious expedition (Digvijaya). Shankaracharya referred to this place as 'Bhaje Kukke Lingam' in his 'Subrahmanya Bhujangaprayata Stotram'.

We proceeded towards darshan of merciful Lord Kartikeyan. I took special darshan ticket and so we were allowed to have the immediate darshan avoiding the long queue.

This temple is also famous for Sarpa Dosha pooja. Many people come here for Kaal Sarpa Dosha Pooja etc.

We entered the main sanctum and soon we were infront of the merciful Lord Shanmukha, the elder son of Mahadev and the commander in chief of Gods!!

After blissful darshan, we proceeded towards “Aadi Subramanya” Temple, it is behind the main temple on the banks of Kumara Dhara.

Rush was not that much here and we had a good darshan here as well.

It was time to take lunch. Temple provides free prasadam to all but as there was queue so we proceeded towards hotel “Kumara Krupa”.

We still had sometime as driver Prakasha was taking lunch, so we hired an auto and went to “Bildwara”. Its about 1 KM from temple on Bangalore road and at walkable distance. But we were tired and hence the excuse of auto.

There is an cave going below the earth surface, here Serpent King Vasuki was hiding and worshipping Lord Shambhu to protect him from Garuda. AS one descends down the cave, it becomes dark and as I was not equipped with any light, I did not entered inside the cave.

We walked back to main town and started our journey back to Bangalore. It was around 2 PM.

 As we crossed Sakleshpur, It started raining, but we continued. We stopped for a few minutes at Kamath for some refreshment, after crossing the Hassan and then drove non-stop to Bangalore.

It was 9 PM and we were at the warmth of home, sweet home.

 Do’s and Don’ts
  1. DharmaSthala temple timings are 6:30 AM till 2 PM and then 7 PM till 8;30 PM.
  2. Subramanya temple timings are 7:00 AM till 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM till 8 PM.
  3. There is no special darshan facility at DharmaSthala but at Subramanya its there.
  4. Children below 2 years of age are not allowed at DharmaSthala Shri ManjuNatha Swamy Temple Sanctum.
  5. As you enter the sanctum at DharmaSthala, first you will have darshan of Shri Manjunatha Swamy, then Shri Annappa, Mahaganapti and then divine mother. Be sure not to lose your sight from shrines as gate is small and the rush pushes you consistently and sometimes very forcefully.
  6. All males should not wear anything above waist to enter into the sanctum of both these temple.
  7. Mobilephones are allowed inside temple, but keep them in “tone off” mode. Cameras are strictly prohibited.
  8. Both temples run “BhojanShala” where all devotees are fed with prasad without any charge.
  9. Materials made of animal skin should not be brought inside the temple.
  10. Please maintain cleanliness and meditate.


  1. Thanx For your yatra details of Dharmasthala. it is so living like cricket commentary on radio, by which without spending any money and time I have worshiped Lord Shiva from Varanasi.

    Prof. B. D. Tripathi
    Expert Adviser, Prime Minister of India

  2. I am planning to visit DharmaSthala and Kukke Subramanya this weekend. This write-up is really good and helpful. Thanks

  3. There is a special entry provision at Dharmasthala: FYI

    1. Ok Thanks, It was not there when I visited, perhaps later got introduced.

  4. Very good writeup. Very helpful in planning a trip. Thank you. -Dr. Saraswathi

    1. Thanks Dr Saraswathi, Let Lord Manjunath bless us all!

  5. Lord Shiva and Karthikeya will bless you long live with good health, happiness and wealth of bhakthi for your detailed write-up for the benefit of other devotees. Thank you. Kind Regards, P R Raja

  6. Very very good post, very detailed.
    I am planning to visit with wife and kids in next couple of days and this helps a lot.
    Have visited earlier as well.
    Need to know accommodation.
    I will be driving.

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