Dharmasthala: With Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the grip of a severe water crisis this summer, the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, headed by Dharmadhikari Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, has requested pilgrims to temporarily postpone their visit to the temple town.
The Dharmasthala Sri Manjunatha Swamy Temple, located in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Beltangady Taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, draws thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the country, including VVIPs and Ministers. The number of pilgrims increases during the weekends and vacations and the temple provides boarding and lodging to those who need them. This in turn, requires a huge amount of water every day.
But with no inflow into the Nethravathi River and the dam in Dharmasthala drying up fast, the temple town located on the banks of the river Nethravathi is facing a water crisis. Seeing no other option the temple Dharmadhikari has requested pilgrims to put off their visit. Explaining the reason for his unusual request, the Dharmadhikari pointed out that water was being rationed with the inflow into the Nethravathi decreasing every day. “A huge amount of water is needed for the use of pilgrims who come to Dharmasthala. So we request devotees to postpone their visit by a few days,” he said in his letter.
The temple administration has been taking water conservation measures for years, using only treated water for its plantation and garden near its college campus. Of late, it has also been advising shop-keepers in Dharmasthala not to waste water by using it to clean their doorsteps.
But despite such measures, the temple town is facing one of its worst water crises this summer. And with water rationing, the people receive their supply only two or three times a week, leaving them short of it for the rest.