Dr. Veerendra Heggade of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala
Dr. Veerendra Heggade, the hereditary guardian of Dharmasthala temple which is located on the banks of Netravathi river in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka state, India. He became the 21st Dharmadhikari (the prelate) of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala in 1968.
The place Dharmasthala is world famous for its charity work. Dr. Heggade has been awarded with Padma Bhushan in the year 2000 by the government of India for his services in the fields of education, religion and social welfare. Dr. Heggade has also been awarded honorary doctorates by Mangalore University, Gulbarga University and Karnataka University for his social welfare activities.
Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala offers different kinds of charity works like Annadana (free food), Abhayadana (assurance of shelter and protection), Aushadhadana (free medicine) and also Vidyadana (promotion of free educational facilities). Everyday thousands of pilgrims, either rich or poor are offered free food.