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Dharmasthala Temple (Kṣētra Dharmasthala) is an 800-year-old religious institution in the temple town of Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India. The deities of the temple are Shiva, who is referred to as Mañjunatha, Ammanavaru, the Tirthankara Chandraprabha and the protective gods of Jainism, Kalarahu, Kalarkayi, Kumarasvami and Kanyakumari.
The temple is considered unique since it belongs to the Shaiva sect of Hinduism. The priests are Madhwa Brahmins, who are Vaishnava, and the administration is run by a Jain Bunt family called the Pergades.
800 years ago, Dharmasthala was known as Kuduma in Mallarmadi, then a village in Belthangady. Here lived the Jain Bunt chieftain Birmanna Pergade and his wife Ammu Ballalthi in a house called Nelliadi Beedu. According to the legend, the guardian angels of Dharma assumed human forms and arrived at Pergade’s abode in search of a place where Dharma was being practised and could be continued and propagated. As was their habit, the couple hosted these illustrious visitors with all their wherewithal and great respect. Pleased by their sincerity and generosity, that night the Dharma Daivas appeared in the dreams of Pergade. They explained the purpose of their visit to him and instructed him to vacate his house for the worship of the Daivas and dedicate his life to the propagation of Dharma. Asking no questions, the Pergade built himself another house and began worshiping the Daivas at Nelliadi Beedu.
This worship of Daivas continues.