The Coastal belt of Karnataka is famous for its several pilgrim shrines. Shasthavu Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Temple which has a history of over 1500 years, is one among the prominent pilgrim shrines. The temple is located at, Mijar near Moodbidri, 25 kms from Mangalore.
The beautiful Temple facing the West has the place of origin (Moola Saanidhya) of Shasthara in the South West direction. As this is located in the midst of thick forests and is worshipped there, the deity is famous as ‘Vana Shasthara.’
The presiding deity of the shrine is Shasthara. The speciality of the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple is the presence of three Lingas. If the main Linga is that of Shasthara, the son of Harihara; to the left is the Linga of Prabhadevi (Shasthara’s wife) and to the right that of Sathyaka (Son of Shasthara).
History says that this place, in ancient times was in possession of Buddhists and eventually came under the control of Jain rulers when a temple was constructed for Vana Shasthara. In the later years, the shrine came under the management of a prestigious family of the locality.
The place Shasthavu, located at Badaga Yedapadavu village in Mangalore taluk came to be known by that name as it is the land of Sri Shasthara. This abode of Sri Bhoothanatheshwara or Ayyappa, the incarnation of Shasthara is beckoning devotees to visit the place and seek the blessings of the deity.
Mythology says that “Shasthara” Linga which is worshipped at the shrine was gifted to a benevolent priest who performed under water penance, by none else than Shasthara who was pleased with his devotion, near ‘Kanakagiri’ the place of origin of the holy Nandini River, so that he could always worship the Lord. This justifies the belief of the locals that the Linga was not the work of any sculptor.
The greatness and significance of this Kshetra, according to Agama Shastra, lies in the fact that Shasthara too is one among the six deities worshipped on special occasions.