On a trip to the Dharmasthala, tourists must visit the Dharmasthala Temple that is situated at the west of Ratnagiri Hill. This temple was constructed about 500 years ago by Jain chieftain, Brimanna Pergadem. Dharmasthala Temple enshrines the golden linga of the Lord Shiva. Shri Manjunatheshwara Annappa Swamy, an incarnation of the Lord Shiva, is the chief deity of the temple.
The linga in this pilgrimage site was taken from Kadri that is situated in proximity to Mangalore. Upon reaching the site, tourists would get the chance to see the Narasimha Saligrama (one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu) that has been placed beside the linga.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has shrines of Lord Maha Ganapati and Goddess Ammanavaru or Parvathi. In addition, this temple has shrines and images of four Dharma Daivas (Guardian Spirits of Dharma), namely Kanyakumari, Kalarkai, Kalarahu and Kumaraswamy.
Like other temples in Kerala, the inner circle of the Dharmasthala Temple has been built using wood. The unusual thing about this temple is that the site is managed by Jain administration and puja is organised by Hindu priests of Madhva order. Devotees can visit the Dharmasthala Temple from 6 am to 2 pm and 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
Travellers interested in knowing the history of Dharmasthala are recommended to visit the Manjusha Museum that is situated at the south of Manjunatha Temple. Shri Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala) is the owner of this museum.
Upon reaching this museum, tourists would get the chance to view antiques like swords, metal scriptures, vintage cameras, jewellery items and Mysore paintings. Vintage typewriters, ancient scripts on palm leaves and household items are other items placed in the Manjusha Museum. Apart from these, the museum houses an ancient book that has the information about the Manjunatha Swamy Temple.
Visitors can also sight the collection of temple chariots that are located outside the Manjusha Museum. The chariots were obtained from various temples situated across Karnataka.
Travellers can also see terracotta coins from the Mauryan period. Another antique item of this museum is the 300-year-old musical instrument (veena) that belonged to Vidwan Veena Sheshanna. The ideal time to explore Manjusha Museum is 10 am to 1 pm and 4.30 pm to 9 pm.
While exploring Dharmasthala, tourists are 'recommended' to visit Annappa Betta that is also known as Badinede Betta. The site is a hill in Dharmasthala, which surrounds four temples of Dharam Gods and dwelling regions. Upon reaching these temples, tourists will discover that there are no idols inside the pilgrimage sites.
An important thing to be noted is that children and women are not permitted. As per the popular belief, Annappa Betta was visited by four Dharama Gods after they were impressed by the social service of a Jain family.
Bahubali statue is the must visit attraction of Dharmasthala, which is situated on top of the Ratnagiri Hill. This statue is approximately 39 feet tall that was sculpted by Renjana Gopal Krishna Shenoi in 1973. In February 1982, the statue was placed inside the temple by Veerendra Heggade.
This statue is revered by Jains as a symbol of sacrifice and selflessness. According to the popular folklore, Bahubali and Bharata (elder brother), were princes who decided to fight each other in order to gain supremacy.
After winning the battle, Bahubali spared the life of his brother. It was during this time that he realised the worthlessness of war and killing. After this, he decided to leave his kingdom on the shoulders of Bharatha and thereafter, joined the Digambara Jain sect. Following the path of atonement, Bahubali chose to stand unclothed until he attains enlightenment.
In order to reach this site, tourists have to climb steps of the Ratnagiri Hill for around 20 minutes. Travellers are advised to visit the site during the morning hours to avoid humidity later on. Shelter and drinking water are present for tourists on top of the hill. Travellers planning to visit the site can explore the statue from 8 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 7 pm.
Tourists on a trip to Dharmasthala are recommended to visit Netravati River Barrage that is just 2 km away from Dharmasthala. The renowned Nature Care Hospital lies on the banks of Netravati river. This hospital is popular among people for curing patients' ailments using five elements (Panch Bhoothas) of nature, namely air, fire, ether, water and earth. Netravati River Barrage is an ideal spot for people who are looking forward to spending time amidst scenic and peaceful atmosphere.
Travellers planning a trip to Dharmasthala are recommended to visit Ram Mandir that is situated on the shores of Netravati river. This pilgrimage site was constructed in 2003 by Nithyananda Swamy, who is popular among people for his spiritual teachings. Upon reaching the temple, the devotees would get the chance to see marble idols of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana on two floors. Ram Mandir is the perfect site for people who want to practice meditation. The mandir remains open from 6 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.
Travellers are also 'recommended' to visit Chandranatha Swamy Basadi that comprises the figure of Chandranath Swamy with a golden halo. This Jain temple is an architectural marvel, which was founded by Birmanna Pergade (Chieftain of Jains) of Nelyadi Beedu.
Chandranatha Swamy Basadi is considered to be an ideal place for people who are looking forward to meditate in a peaceful environment. A large number of devotees visit this temple daily to offer their prayers to Chandranatha Swamy. Upon reaching the site, tourists would get the chance to view beautiful carvings and stone sculptures.
The temple is regarded as the sacred shrine of Digambara. Its structure has a tiled-roof dwelling that is devoted to the four Devathas. Devotees planning their visit to Chandranatha Swamy Temple can explore the site from 6 am to 2 pm and 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Tourists, on a trip to Dharmasthala, are 'recommended' to visit Neliyali Beedu (called Neliyadi Beedu elsewhere) that is regarded as the dwelling of Jain Chieftain, Birmanna Heggade and his wife Ammu Ballathi. Also known as Neliyadi Beedu, the site is situated in proximity to the Chandranatha Swamy Basadi.
According to popular folklore, four Dharmadevatas, namely Kalarkai, Kumarswamy, Kalarahu and Kanyakumari visited Neliyali Beedu and instructed the couple to provide free education, shelter and food to the destitute people. Upon visiting Neliyadi Beedu, tourists would notice that the customs started by Birmanna Heggade still persist.