As of 2001 India census, Moodbidri had a population of 25,710. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Moodbidri has an average literacy rate of 88.57%, Male literacy is 93.13%, and female literacy is 84.13%.
Moodbidri basically contains two villages: Pranthya and Marnad. Moodbidri is also called as “Jaina Kashi of the South”.
Moodbidri is on National Highway 169 (old NH 13). It is accessible from Mangalore city (34 km away) by road. Mangalore International Airport is 23 km away from Moodbidri. It is 54 km from Udupi and 18 km from Karkala. Other nearby places are Venur (20 km), Belthangady (37 km), Kudremukh (66 km), Agumbe (68 km), Puttur (54 km) and Mijar (5 km)
Tulu spoken by majority of the population, followed by Kannada and Konkani. A small Muslim population speaks Beary.
Hospitals and nursing home
Moodbidri has a state-run health centre. The hospital has improved in the last few years. Medicine supply to the hospital is stable and medicines are available for all common ailments. Well qualified doctors, including dentists, are available and PG interns practice. The hospital has an X-ray machine, dental chair, and an ambulance facility.
Private hospital services (allopathic and ayurvedic) are available. A few of the hospitals are Alva’s nursing home, Prabhu Hospital, G.V. Pai hospital, dental clinics like Dr Parveen’s Modern Dental Clinic, Dr Hegde’s Dental Speciality Clinic, and Dr.Shinaj’s dental clinic. Alva’s Health Centre is a holistic centre for comforting patients. There is an ayurvedic wing with all the rare ayurvedic plants in Shobhavana, near Mijar, outskirts of Moodbidre. In 2014, Ever Care Clinic opened, focusing on management and care of chronic illnesses.
The town also has a reasonably well maintained veterinary hospital with a veterinary doctor and a veterinary inspector.
Religion and culture
Jain Bhattaraka Samadhis
Jainism was and still is strongly practised in Moodbidri. The Thousand Pillars Temple (Saavira Kambada Basadi) is a famous and holy shrine for Jains across the country. It also has Guru Basadi which houses the treasured Dhavala text. There are other Basadis: Ammanvara Basadi and Leppada Basadi. There are several Jain temples in Moodbidri.
There are a number of Hindu temples in Moodbidri as well. Hanuman temple of Moodbidri is one of the famous Hanuman temples . Here the devoties offer tender coconut as offering to the God. On Saturdays an average of about four to five thousand tender coconuts are offered to Lord Hanuman.
Shri Venkataramana temple is a rock built (ಶೀಲಾನ್ಮಯ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ), is famous for the celebration of Karthika Deepotsava(ಕಾರ್ತಿಕ ದೀಪೋತ್ಸವ), holy, keredeepotsava( ಕೆರೆದೀಪೋತ್ಸವ),Sharada Mahotsava ( ಶಾರದಾ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವ), and other functions. There are beautifully carved Dashavatar statues in the other veranda. The huge peeple tree gives cool breeze which refreshes both mind and body.
A sizable number practice Roman Catholicism in Moodbidri. There are around 11 churches in and around Moodbidri Varado. Among them, the 16th century old Portuguese-built church Igreja da Santa Cruz Hospet or Hospet Church is famous.
Tradition and festivals
Typical Yakshagana Artist
Hulivesha (Tiger dance) is a unique form of folk dance in Dakshina Kannada. Since tiger is considered as the favored carrier of Goddess Sharada (the deity in whose honor Dussera is celebrated), this dance is performed during the Dussera celebration. It is also performed during other festivals like Krishna Janmasthami and Ganesh Chathurthi. Moodbidri is famous for Hulivesha performed on Ganesha Chathurthi just as Mangalore is famous for Dashera Hulivesha and Udupi for Janmashtami Hulivesha.
During Navaraatri, the idol of Sharada Maathe is kept at Shri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Temple, Ponnechari, Moodbidri, by Saarvajanika Samithi and celebrated for two days very grandly. The Sharada Maathe idol is kept at the Venkataramana Temple Moodbidri and here it is celebrated for three days.
Maari Pooja or Rashi Pooja
There are five Maari Gudi Temples in Moodbidri. Old Maari Gudi at Swaraj Maidan, Maari Gudi at Swaraj Maidan, Maari Gudi at Mahaveera College,Maari Gudi at Kotabagilu and maari Gudi at kallabettu.
Bhoota Kola or spirit worship is practiced here. Bhoota Kola is usually done at night. Most of the temples have Bhoota Kola on their annual festival.
Kambala or buffalo race is conducted in water-filled paddy fields. The Rani Abbakka Kambala Stadium is constructed at Kadala Kere Nisarga Dhama. Every year Kambla is organised here for two days. Mijar Jodu Kambla is another happening event, to see.
Korikatta (cockfight) is another favourite sport for village people on the annual festival of the temples. To its supporters, cockfight, an ancient sport involving a fight between specially reared fowls held at the temples precincts in northern parts of Kasaragod, is not a blood sport but a feature of the rich cultural heritage of Tulunadu and an ancient ritual associated with the ‘daivasthanams’ (temples) here.
Nagaradhane or snake worship is practised according to the popular belief of the Naga Devatha to go underground and guard the species which lived on top.
Dindu / Karthik Poornima (Lakshadeepotsava)
Konkani-speaking GSBs have their own tradition of celebrating Lakshadeepotsava (Dindu) five-day festival starting from Uthana Dwadashi (Tulasi Pooja Day — the day on which four month chaturmasa of Lord will end and Lord will come out of the temple for the first time in past four months. This day denotes start of Utsava (Pete Savari) of lord for the year). Out of five days last three days being Keredeepotsava (Chaturdashi) Lakshyadeepotsava (on full moon day of Kartika month in Kannada Kartika Hunnime or Karthik Poornima or Karthi-Punnav) and last day Okali (Holi) attract many people to the temple.
Muslims Eid-al-Fitr(End of Ramadan) Eid-al-Adha, Day of Ashura / Muharram, Milad un Nabi Muslims celebrate Uroos in the Dargas every year.
Jains have their Jain Milans yearly. All Jaina Basadi celebrated Ratotsava very grandly. Each goes for seven days.
It is the annual festival Celebrated by Christians at Alangar Church and Corpus Christi Church.
Moodbidri has elementary, higher elementary, high schools, junior colleges and first grade colleges. Among the various high schools in the city, Babu Rajendra Prasad High School is one of the oldest high schools, which celebrated its golden jubilee in the year 2016-2017.It has been administered by Mahaveera Vidyvrdhaka Sanga,Regd. Moodbidri. It is a Kannada medium high school having 300 students. Sri Dhavala College & Jain PU College sponsored by DJVV Sanga, Sri Mahaveera College & S N M Polytehcnic, headed by Manipal Academy. It has 22 primary and higher elementary schools, five high schools. There are also C.B.S.E school’s such as Little Stars Indian School etc.
Alva’s Education Foundation has become one among the leading education institutes in Karnataka, it education facilities starting from high schools to Post graduation education. Alva’s has slowly changed this sleeping Jain Temple town to a thriving education town. It has graduation courses in the field of Education, Medical, Para Medical & Engineering.
Alva’s Education Foundation is also known to hold events which attracts participants from all-over Karnataka, it has held annual fest in the form of Alvas Virasath (College Fest) & Alvas Nudisiri (Event for enrichment of Kannada Language).http://www.alvas.org/
Moodabidri has three engineering colleges:
Mangalore Institute of Technology And Engineering (MITE)
Alvas Institute of Engineering & Technology (AIET)
Yenepoya Institute of Technology
Moodbidri was ruled by the Jain Chauta dynasty 1603, who moved their capital to Moodbidri in 1603. They lost power when the region was taken over by Tipu Sultan They continued symbolic rituals after the British defeated Tipu Sultan. The last coronation at Moodbidri was done in 1865 according to a pattavali.
There are 18 lakes, 18 Jaina Basadis, 18 temples, and 18 roads connecting various villages in Moodbidri.
During 14th–16th centuries this town emerged as a center of Jain religion, culture, art and architecture. 18 Jain temples, known as Basadis, were constructed during this period. The Jain Math at Moodbidri is headed by a Bhattaraka belonging to the Mula Sangh order.
The most famous among them are Guru basadi, Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi (known as “Thousand Pillar Temple”) and Ammanavara Basadi.
Guru basadi is the earliest of the Jain monuments. A stone idol of Parshwanatha, about 3.5 metres tall, is installed in the sanctum of this basadi. Here the rare Jain palm leaf manuscripts of 12th century A.D. known as ‘Dhavala texts’ are preserved.
Saavira Kambada Basadi basadi is the largest and the most ornate of the Jain temples of this region. People also call this temple Thousand Pillared Temple or Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani. This is a large granite temple built in 1430 A.D. The 2.5 metres tall bronze image of Lord Chandranatha Swami in the sanctum of this basadi is considered to be very sacred. This three-storey construction was supported by the rulers, the Jain Bhattaraka Swamiji, merchants and the common people. The temple is famous for the open pillared hall in front, consisting of a large variety of ornate pillars decorated with carvings typical of Vijayanagara style. A 15 meter tall single stone pillar called manastambha stands in front of the basadi.
Ratnakara Varni, the medieval Kannada author of Bharatesha Vaibhava belonged to this place. The famous Jain canonical texts known as Dhavala texts and also a number of palm leaf manuscripts of historical and literacy value are preserved in the Jain Math (monastery).
Moodbidri was the seat of the Chowtas, a Jain ruling family, who were originally located at Puthige, about 5 km from here. They moved their capital to Moodbidri in the 17th century. The remains of the 17th century Chowta Palace is known for its carved wooden pillars and ceilings.
Gowri Temple in the heart of the city is said to have been built in the 7th century.
Hanuman Temple in the heart of the city is the most famous temple around Moodbidri. People from many religions including Hindus, Muslims, and Christians offer prayers to the Lord Hanuman.
Yearly and monthly sports activities are held Swaraj Maidhan and SMC ground. State level and national sports meets are held here. Cricket, volleyball, badminton and different types of matches are played. Many flood light cricket and volleyball matches are held here. Alva’s Education Foundation has hosted many state and national level sports meets here.
Small-scale industries employ many people. Many cashew industries are here. Kadale Kere is the industrial area where many small-scale industries are situated.
Long distance travel and local transport
The local and long distance transport includes the buses which ply regularly. Shuttle and express buses to Mangalore, Udupi, Karkala, Hebri, Shimoga, Kudremukh, Sringeri, Dharmastala, Bantwal, Belthangady, Naravi and Mulki run every 5–10 minutes. There are government buses to distant places like Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad, Subramanya, Chickmagalur and all the important places of Karnataka. Private buses from Moodbidri are also available to Bombay, Goa and Bangalore by established travels like Reshma Bus, Navami, Nishmitha, Sugama, Vishal, Ideal and Anand.
Other entertainment is watching Yakshagana,unique to this district. This includes a drama like play on epics, which lasts a whole night, starting at 9:30 pm and ending at 6 am next day. This is played normally once a week, and only in few months a year.
Some private Tulu drama companies play comedy drama at regular intervals between November and June.Amrashree Theatre in Moodbidri.