Dharmasthala is a town in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka. The centuries-old Sri Manjunatha Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a place of Hindu pilgrimage known for its large statue of the revered figure Bahubali. The Manjusha Museum's eclectic collection includes manuscripts and early wooden chariots. Nearby, the Car Museum features vintage automobiles, including a 1920s Studebaker used by Mahatma Gandhi.
Local legend says that the Shiva Linga in Dharmasthala was brought to Dharmasthala by a local person with great powers, named Annappa. Legend is that he used to work for the Heggade family. Once when the Heggade he was serving wanted to worship Lord Shiva, Annappa had assured him to get one linga and vanished from the sight. The next morning, he had already established the linga in Dharmasthala, a few metres away from Heggade's house. Later it was learned that the linga was from Kadri near Mangalore, from the Kadri temple. By then, Annappa had vanished and he was never again sighted in the vicinity. Now people in Dharmasthala worship Annappa as Annappa Panjurli, a local god deva and a hero.
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. Pergade and the local chieftains built several shrines and invited Brahmin priests to perform the rituals. These priests requested Pergade to 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, Shri 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 the vedic rites. Shri Heggade then requested the Swamiji to reconsecrate the Shiva Linga 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 800 years ago have been nurtured and strengthened by 21 generations of the Heggade family of Tulu lineage (Heggade being a derivative from Tulu word Pergade). Today's Dharmasthala blossoms with the fruit of this selfless dedication.