Padmabhushan Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari, Sri Kshetra, Dharmasthala, was born on 25th November, 1948. He ascended as Heggade of Sri Manjunatheswara Temple, Dharmasthala, as a Temple Head, at the young age of 20, on 24th October 1968. He is the President of Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Educational Trust and SDM Educational Society (Regd.), Ujire, which manages educational institutions from primary to engineering, medical, ayurvedic and management institutes as well as hospitals.
He is also the President of Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Medical Trust which manages an Eye hospital, a General hospital and a Mobile hospital.
Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Dharmasthala Trust, under his Presidentship, undertakes the renovation of ancient temples and monuments in Karnataka and till date 125 temples are renovated. Shantivana Trust at Dharmasthala is established for promotion and propagation of Yoga and Naturopathy through clinical training and development. Focussing on the Coastal District of Karnataka and Districts of Shimoga and Chikmagalur, comprising of 5586 villages and 42 urban towns, Dr. Heggade introduced Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP).
This project facilitates empowerment of 13,59,746 families in agriculture, transfer of technology, women empowerment, housing, income generating activities, micro finance, total sanitation and health insurance etc.