Dr. Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala is a well known visionary of our times.  Born on 25th November 1948 as the eldest son of the then Heggade of Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala, Veerendra took the mantle as Dharmasthala Heggade in the year 1968 at a tender age of twenty.

Ever since Dr. Veerendra Heggade has remained a keen student of humanity, understanding complex nature of human behavior. He has been guiding the multitude of devotees visiting Dharmasthala and seeking solace for their pains with his wisdom and helping them to face the world.  

Dr. Veerendra Heggade has dexterously blended spiritualism with the materialistic world.  He is a multifaceted personality excelling in service to God as the head of the temple, in administration as the chief of many programmes promoted by him, kind in thoughts and compassion in daily life to those who visit him. He is the architect of modern Dharmasthala.  As the chief of Manjunatha Swamy temple he has implemented several unique programmes for the welfare of the mankind.

Within Dharmasthala itself he has modernized the temple administration and care for the devotees. As a result the small village called Dharmasthala has become a shining jewel in the map of Karnataka. Dharmasthala is the abode of Lord Manjunatha Swamy. Besides the temple of Chandranatha Swamy and a gigantic monolithic statue of Bhagwan Bahubali measuring 39 feet are also located in Dharmasthala. Infact the statue of Bhagwan Bahubali which was erected by Dr. Veerendra Heggade in the year 1982 for which act he was termed as Abhinava Chavundaraya. Infrastructures built by Dr. Veerendra Heggade provide quality lodging facilities to 20,000 devotees every day.  The huge Annapoorna dining halldedicated to the society in the year 1981 can feed 5,000 people at a time.  The modern kitchen of Dharmasthala is well acclaimed for its hygiene, quality and service. It can serve upto 60,000 people a day.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade regularly meets common people to hear their greviences and guide them. He gives direct charity as per the need.  He also provides charity to community activities. He has organized many a public programme like the Kannada Sahithya Sammelana, Thulu Sammelana (literary festivals), Kissan Mela (farmers fare) with aplomb.

Dr. Heggade is a connoisseur of ancient temple architecture, historical monuments and antiques. He has promoted Dharmothana Trust for renovation of historical buildings in the State of Karnataka.  Till date more than 200 temples, Jinamandhiras have been renovated to their old glory.  He has developed large museums in Dharmasthala to preserve the heritage of the country. The vintage car museum promoted by Dr. Heggade is a cynosure of the car loving public. He is a keen photographer too.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade has institutionalized charity by promoting several organizations dealing with multiple requirements of human society.

The SDM education society promoted for quality education of which Dr. Heggade is the President has forty education institutions under its management including three Ayurveda colleges, Naturopathy, dental, engineering, medical, law, business management colleges.

Dr. Heggade, initiated mass marriage programme in 1971 where in eligible couples come to Dharmasthala for marriage in a group. The marriage ceremony is conducted for all the participants in the mass marriage by the temple free of cost. This has helped the poor people no end as they were spending huge amounts on marriages and becoming debt ridden. So far 12,000 couples have entered into wedlock in Dharmasthala mass marriage programme. This initiative of Dr. Heggade is now being replicated at several places in Karnataka state by other leading personalities.

The Rural Development Self Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) conceived and promoted by Dr. Veerendra Heggade is a unique experiment in public, private partnership for social service. This programme implemented as a joint venture between Dharmasthala and nationalised Syndicate and Canara bank trains the unemployed youth and handholds them to become self employed.  Started in the year 1982, the RUDSET concept has become a national programme with Govt. of India advising all the banks to open one RUDSET in each district of the country. The national academy of RUDSETI promoted by the Govt. of India has the honor of the services of Dr. Veerendra Heggade as its Chairperson. The twenty six RUDSETIs promoted in thirteen different states of the country have successfully helped more than 200,000 unemployed youth to become respectable citizens of the country.

The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (R.) (SKDRDP), another well known experiment of Dr. Heggade started in 1982 is engaged in organising the small farmers, the poor women into Self Help Groups (SHG) for accessing various services at their door steps. This programme has mobilized 1.8 million families in the state of Karnataka into 1,70,000 SHGs who have a cumulative savings of Rs. 410.00 crores and a loan turnover of Rs. 4,500.00 crores. The micro finance, the micro insurance and micro enterprise services of SKDRDP have transformed the village life.

Dr. Heggade is deeply interested in sustainable energy programmes.  All the guest houses in Dharmasthala have solar water heater installations which produce 100,000 liters of hot water every day.  The streets of Dharmasthala are lit by solar lamps. The giant biogas plants in Dharmasthala supply cooking gas to the kitchen of Dharmasthala. Besides the SKDRDP has been encouraging poor people to acquire sustainable energy assets. So far more than 20,000 families have purchased different sustainable energy equipments through the micro credit programme of SKDRDP.

Another area of Dr. Heggade’s interest is the prevention of alcoholic abuse.  Having realized that alcoholic abuse is a true enemy of the poor people, Dr. Heggade has promotedJanajagruthi, a movement in which public opinion is created against alcoholic abuse.  Conduct of scientific community deaddiction camps in large numbers have deaddicted thousands of labourers and made their families a happy home.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade is married to Smt. Hemavathi, who is also engaged in social service more specially women empowerment. The couple have a loving daughter in Shradha Amithmarried to a business man Mr. Amith from Bangalore. Dr. Heggades granddaughter Manya is very dear to Dr. Heggade. At the age of 62, Dr. Veerendra Heggade still works like a young man, keeping himself active for almost eighteen hours in a day.  New ideas of social service and building the society come out from Dr. Heggade’s mind all the time. People from all walks of life including planners, politicians, academia, administrators, the privileged and the unprivileged seek guidance from Dr. Heggade for bettering their works.

Dr. Heggade is the recipient of Padmabhushan citation by Govt. of India. The people of Karnataka hold him in high esteem and was recognized as the Kannadiga of the year by ETV, and most important Kannadiga by Vijaya Karnataka the vernacular daily. He has been awarded the Karnataka Rathna citation by the Govt. of Karnataka in 2009. He has received three doctorates from the Mangalore University, the Dharwad University and Rajiv Gandhi Health University. He is the honorary fellow of Royal College of physicians (FRCP) of the University of Glasgow, U.K. He has received Rajarshi citation from Dr. Shankardayal Sharma, the Hon’ble President of India.  The RUDSET experiment has received FICCI award. The SKDRDP won the Changemakers award twice for its unique experiments. It has also received the coveted FICCI and IMC award. Many coveted institutions have honoured Dr. Veerendra Heggade.

Dr. Heggade has participated in several conferences in different parts of the world as a member of the world conference of religion and peace. He is widely travelled having visited Europe, US, Asia several times.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade radiates a positive influence on all the people he meets. He recognizes the importance of the different pillars of democracy and more specially the civil society and values each one of them. He believes that everybody is equally important in the world and that everybody can contribute to making this universe a better place to live in.


v  Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade, Pattadhikari, Sri Kshethra Dharmasthala.

v  Born on 25th November 1948 as the eldest son of his illustrious father Sri Rathnavarma Heggade, former Dharmadhikari and M. Rathnamma.

v  Ascended as ‘HEGGADE’ of Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Dharmasthala on 24th October 1968 at the age of 20.

As the temple head

Annadana :

As a tradition, free lunch and dinner is served daily to more than 25,000 pilgrims at Annapoorna Bhojanalaya, (Free Dinning Hall)

Nyayadana :

Devotees reconcile and resolve their conflicts in the presence of the Heggade and accept his verdict as an divine adjudicator.

Vidyadan and Aushdadan are practiced regularly through quality education in the Educational Institutions and free Medical service in the Hospitals as well as in the Mobile Hospital.

As founder of social institutions

Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Trust (Regd.) and S.D.M. Educational Society (Regd.), – President, Ujire. Manages Primary School, High School, General Degree Colleges, Law College, Engineering, Medical, Dental, Ayurvedic, Naturopathy College and Hospitals and Management Development Institute.

Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Medical Trust (R), Dharmasthala- Founder President- Manages Eye Hospital, General Hospitals and a Mobile Hospital.

Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust (R.) Dharmasthala- Founder President-Undertakes the Renovation of ancient Temples and Monuments of Karnataka and till date 125 temples were renovated.

Shanthivana Trust (Regd.), Dharmasthala- Founder President- Established for the Promotion and propagation of Yoga and Naturopathy through clinical training and development. Two nature cure hospitals have established.

Religion and religious harmony

v  After 300 years a Bahubali single stone statue was carved and transported to Dharmasthala. This 39 feet high monolithic statue of Bhagwan Bahubali Swamy was installed at Dharmasthala and conducted Maha Masthakabhisheka ceremony in 1982, 1995 and 2007.

v  The Manjunatha Swamy temple was completely renovated in 1991 and reinstallation ceremony was conducted.

v  A grand temple for Lord Chandranathaswamy was completed and renovated in 2001.

v  Contributes for Religious Harmony through his regular Lectures, editorials and columns in leading news papers.

v  Publication of more than 10,00,000 copies of Kannada moral education books in the last years to be distributed for High School students. Competitions are held every year for the students on topics selected on moral themes and prizes awarded to the best students in each school for propagation of moral, ethical values in students.

v  Post-Card Art competition is held annually for the students and the public to promote art and awareness on the subject of competition.

Cultural heritage

v  Manages a Yakshagana cultural troupe with history of over 200 years.  Contributed to the revival of “Yakshagana” by maintaining pure traditional approach to Yakshagana with a training centre. (Folk art of Karnataka).

v  “Manjusha” Museum displaying rare collections of Indian and International antiques and contemporary rare and valuable collections.

v  A ‘Vintage Car collection of Dr. Heggade’ has working vintage classic cars belonging to 20th century.

“Sri Manjunatheshwara Samskrithi Samshodhana Prathistana”, where 5,000                   Palm-leaf and Paper manuscripts are preserved. It includes 2732 Kannada Manuscripts. Researchers are allowed to use the collection.

v  Since 1972, Free Mass Marriages are conducted in Dharmasthala every year with the objective of avoiding huge expenses and the Dowry system. So far, 12,000 couples are married in mass marriage.

v  Constructed Marriage Halls (Kalyan Mantaps) at Bangalore, Kallahalli, Bhadravathi, Mysore, Shravanabelagola and Bantwal for the benefit of middle class  and low-income people to conduct marriages.

Rural development initiatives

v  In 1982, established the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) in collaboration with Syndicate Bank and Canara Bank to train the rural un-employed youth for Self-Employment and Volunteers for Rural Development. Since then 26 Branches of the RUDSETI were established all over India. Upto March 2012.  2,60,116 youths have been trained and settlement rate is 71%. This model has attracted the attention of the central government. Under NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission) the Govt. of India has undertaken to replicate the RUDSETI model in 560 districts of the country.  Dr. Heggade has been requested by the government to head the monitoring committee to supervise these institutes.

v  Introduced a Sri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project, (SKDRDP) in 16 districts of Karnataka state comprising of 19,000 Villages and 300 urban towns. The project is facilitating empowerment of 1.8 million families in Agriculture, transfer of technology, women empowerment, housing, alternative sources of energy, income generating activity, micro finance, education, health, total sanitation and Health Insurance.

Yoga movement

To propagate Naturopathy, Yoga and Moral Education, 2,221 Teachers of High Schools and Primary Schools were trained. Teachers in turn train more than 1,00,000 students every year in Yoga, Moral and Spiritual Education.


Padmabhushan-2000 citation by His Excellency the President of India for social work and communal harmony. 

Karnataka Rathna-2009 the highest civilian award in the state of Karnataka in recognition of his social work.

Rajiv Gandhi Award-2007 by regional congress committee Mumbai. 

Nadoja-2010 citation by the Hampi Heritage University.

Rajarshi citation 1993 by the then His Excellency the President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma.

Jindal International Award -2011 in the field of health including drugless healing naturopathy yoga and Ayurveda.

Basavashri Award – 2009 by the Govt. of Karnataka.

Devaraj Urs Award-2011 for service to backward community by the Devraj Urs Backward Classes Development Corporation, Govt. of Karnataka.

Kannadiga of the year–2004 popular award instituted by M/s E.T.V.

Rajyothsava award-1985 by the Department of Kannada and culture, Government of Karnataka.

Samyama citation 2010 by the Karnataka temperance board, Bangalore

Honorary FRCPS 2005 the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, U.K.

International Award-2005 by Giants International, Mumbai.

Sir M. Visvesvarayya Memorial Award -2011, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of commerce and Industry, Bangalore

Lalitha Kala Acdemy award -2008, Bangalore

Honorary Doctorates from

Mangalore University-1994.

Karnataka University  – 2010.

Drew University, U.S.A – 2010.

Doctor of Science – 2007 Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.

Awards won by the Institutions managed by Dr. Heggade.

  1. 1.     SKDRDP –

1.1              FICCI Award – 1995

1.2              Indian Merchant Chambers Award – 1999

1.3              NABARD SHG state Award – 1999 and 2000

1.4              Changemakers award for Microfinance 2008.

1.5              Changemakers award for Micro insurance2008

1.6              Microfinance institution of India award 2010.

  1. 2.    RUDSET –

2.1              FICCI Award – 1995

2.2              SIDBI award 2011 for promotion of small and micro enterprises.



Colleges Managed by Society and trust

S.D.M. college of Arts, Commerce & Science, Ujire

S.D.M Law College, Mangalore and J.S.S Sakri Law College, Hubli.

S.D.M. College of Ayurveda and Hospital Udupi and Hassan.

S.D.M College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad.

S.D.M College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad.

S.D.M. Cranio Facial Hospital, Dharwad.

S.D.M College of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences, Ujire

S.D.M. Medical College & Hospital, Dharwad

S.D.M. College of Physiotherapy Dharwad.

JSS K.H Kabbur Institute of Engineering, Dharwad.

S.D.M Institute for Management Development, Mysore



S.D.M. Medical Hospital, Dharwad.

S.D.M. Ayurveda Hospital Mangalore and Chickmagalore.

S.D.M Ayurveda Pharmacy. Udupi

S.D.M. Nature cure Hospital, Dharmasthala.



Yakshagana Training Centre, Dharmasthala.

Middle Level Training Centre (M.L.T.C.) for Anganawadi Supervisors           (Sponsored by

National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development, New Delhi.)

Manjushree Printers, Ujire.

Nethravathi Fine Arts Training Centre, Ujire.

S.D.M Industrial Training Centre, Venoor,Samse and Ujire.



SDM Education trust

SDM Education society

Siddavana Gurukula

Rural Employment Self Employment Training Institutes (RUDSETI)

Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP)

Shri Dharmasthala Siri Gramodyoga Samsthe (SIRI)

Medical Trust

Shanthivana Trust

Dharmothana Trust

Ayurvedic pharmacy, Udupi


Contact Details


E-mail: dvheggade@shridharmasthala.org /  dvheggade@gmail.com

Phone : 08256-277144/277121

Website: www.shridharmasthala.org www.veerendraheggade.in