Situated on the banks of river
, 75 km from Mangalore
, in Dakshina Kannada District
, Dharmasthala is an outstanding example of religious and cultural tolerance where charity is a way of life, extended to all without discrimination. Regardless of caste, creed and religion, hundreds of pilgrims are given free meals and lodging here everyday.
Dharmasthala, known as Kuduma eight hundred years ago, is a center of Jain, Shaiva, and Vaishnava religious cultures. The Jain
Tirthankar and Lord Manjunatha (
Shiva) are worshipped on the same consecrated ground here. The place is surrounded by the lush green forests and the hills of Malnad.
Prime attractions in Dharmasthala are the Manjunatha Temple, the 39-ft monolith of
Karanje, a holy place known for its medieval Shiva temple.
Vasanthamahal, Manjusha museum, Car museum, and the ogical garden are the other places of interest. Lakshadeepotsava is the major festival, when 100,000 oil lamps light up the night with their tiny flames.