A Weekend getaway to Dharmasthala and Kukke Subramanya

On a lazy Friday morning, soon after our breakfast, my husband suggested that we should pay a visit to Dharmasthala and Kukke Subramanya over the weekend.

Considering that it had been a while since we visited these places, I happily agreed.

Below is a two-day itinerary to explore these two temple towns. There are few lesser-known places also in this list.

A beautiful hanging bridge over river nethravathi

Day 1:

We started our journey on Friday evening from Bengaluru and reached Dharmasthala by late at night. Roads were quite bad and our journey was pretty challenging.

After a good sleep, we started our day as early as 6 am and visited Shree Manjunatha Swamy temple.

1. Dharmasthala

This is a small town on the banks of river Nethravati in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

Shree Manjunatha Swamy temple is one of the most divine and sorted of temple in Karnataka.

Dharmastala manjunatha swamy temple

The unique element about this temple is, the administration is taken care of by Jain family, pooja is offered by Madhva priest (followers of Vishnu) to Lord Shiva.

On average there are 10,000 pilgrims visiting the temple every day.

Free meal served at the temple is very delicious and flavourful. The scale at which the entire process is handled is astonishing, that National Geographic channel covered it under “Mega Kitchens”. I would highly recommend not missing a meal here.

Since it was early morning, we did not get to enjoy the meal at the temple this time 🙁

2. Bahubali Statue

Once you are done with the temple visit, you can visit the Bahubali statue at a small hilltop on your way back to the town entrance.

3. Spend some time at the banks of river Nethravati

You will enjoy it only based on the season in which you are visiting. Rainy seasons are exceptionally good on the contrary I would suggest you skip this if you are traveling during summer or winter.

4. Shree Rama kshetra Ujire

Though I had visited Dharmasthala many times before, I had somehow missed visiting this temple until recently.

This is located on the main road that leads to Ujire. Must say though this is not an ancient temple, I was impressed with the architecture.

Shree rama kshetra Ujire
Shree Rama kshetra

The white marble idols are a treat to the eyes. I even met a few photogenic monks 😛


5. Shree Sadashiva Rudra temple, Surya

If I ever write a blog post about the unique temples of India, this will definitely make it to the list.

Located about 13 kms from Dharmasthala on the Mangalore highway, this is one of the lesser-known temples.

The legend goes that, all your prayers are answered at this temple. And as a vote of thanks, you have to offer a small mud idol of your wish to the pond at the temple. Eg: You prayed for a car and your wish is granted, you will offer a small mud car back to the pond.

Sadashiva rudra temple
Sadashiva Rudra temple, Surya

6. Udupi Dose Camp

Located at about 5 kms from Dharmasthala on Dharmasthala-Kukke Subramanya road, this is one of the best places to have breakfast. Masala dose and Neer dose are one of its kind.

Masala dose at Udupi dose camp
Masala Dose

There are a couple of hotels with the same name, I would insist you refer to the below picture.

Udapi dose camp
Udupi Dose Camp

7. Shishila Temple

After having a yummy breakfast, based on the recommendation of my friend we drove to Shishila temple. This temple is at one of the most picturesque locations.

Located at about 32 kms from Dharmasthala, this is on the banks of River Kapila. You have to cross the hanging bridge by walk to enter the temple.

Hanging bridge leading to the temple
Hanging bridge

What I loved the most about the temple is the tranquility surrounding it. There is Shishila parvatha on the background. Kapila river with Mahashir fish constantly creating white noise.

Shishila temple
Shishila temple

8. Sowthadka Mahaganapathi temple

This temple again was a great find and a hidden gem. After soaking in the beauty of Shishila we headed to Sowthadka Shree mahaganapathi temple.

This is about 16 kms from Dharmasthala.

We were surprised to see that there was no temple built around the Lord Ganesh idol. You can see a lot of bells being tied all over the place as an offering to the god.

Sowthadka temple
Sowthadka temple

The legend goes that as cucumbers (Sowthekayi in native Kannada language) were offered in large numbers to the god, this temple gets the name Sowthadka.

As it was mid-day and by now, and the masala doses were digested long ago, this was the perfect place for our lunch. Temple offers a free meal every day and we just loved the food.

Lunch at Sowthadka temple
Lunch at Sowthadka temple

9. Kukke Subramanya Temple

This was a 35 kms drive for us from Sowthadka. Being one of the landmark temples of Karnataka, and me being a hardcore kannadiga, have been to Kukke a lot of times in the past.

Since we reached here by around 4 pm, the temple was closed. We could figure out the temple would be really crowded for the evening based on the vehicles parked all over the place.

Hence we decided to skip the temple visit this evening. We had our accommodation booked for the night and we called it a day.

Day 2:

Based on the previous day’s crowd, we were very keen on starting our day as early as possible. As a result, we were at the temple by 6 am.

Beautiful Sri Subramanya temple on the banks of river Kumaradhara with mighty Kumaraparvatha at the background is a treat to the eyes. The positive energy around the temple is immense.

Front view of the Kukke subramanya temple with Kumaraparvatha hills on the backdrop and wide road with pilgrimages on the front.
Kukke Subramanya

Have you ever wondered, what it feels like to sit simply and do nothing on the banks of a river? After the temple visit, we just sat by the river to soak in the calmness of the surrounding. For a city dweller like me, this is heaven.

Beautiful view of river Kumaradhara with long tree on either side of it.
River kumaradhara

Adhi Subramanya temple is another temple at a walkable distance. Which was kind of getting crowded by the time we reached there at around 9 am.

After having hot idly and a cup of filter coffee, we were all set for our return journey to Bengaluru.

How to reach Dharmasthala

  1. Mangalore International airport is the nearest airport. You have to hire a cab or take a bus from there to reach either Dharmasthala or Kukke.
  2. Subramanya Road station is the nearest railway station to Kukke Subramanya. You can take an auto or a bus to reach Kukke.
  3. From Bengaluru, there are many buses to both destinations.
  4. Last but not least you can always drive down or hire a cab. You will be up for some super exciting journey. From Sakleshpura you can either take Shiradi ghat or Bisile ghat.

I hope you have some new places added to your list next time you visit Dharmasthala or Kukke.

I would be happy to know if you have any offbeat places to recommend.

You can view more pictures from my travel here: https://www.facebook.com/intrepidindian03/

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