The onset of an era

About 60 years ago, Ujire was nothing but a village that was to be passed to reach the holy pilgrimage of Dharmasthal. 60 years later, it is a gateway housing more than ten SDM institutions that have and are constructing thousands of lives in ways we cannot even begin enlisting.

One man named Late.Shri Rathnavarma Heggade envisioned this possibility back in the 1960s, and laid a simple foundation stone for the establishment of an educational institution in one of the remotest villages of Coastal Karnataka. Ujire saw the inception of Siddhavana Gurukula back in 1966, which was the first ray of hope for the students of the area to pursue higher education without travelling to cities afar.

The educational institution was conceptualized by Late.Shri Rathnavarma Heggade, the then Dharmaadhikari of Dharmasthala, as a solution to the educational limitations of rural children. He took the bold step to incept the college amidst severe scepticism of his contemporaries and well-wishers who had every reason to believe that there would be innumerable obstacles on the way. Changing rural mindsets, employing qualified staff and ensuring University standard infrastructure – it was all met eventually once the decision of establishing the institution was brought to form. The college was first affiliated to Mysuru University.

Late.Shri Rathnavarma Heggade’s legacy was carried forward to today’s form by his son, the current Dharmaadhikari of Dharmasthala, our President, Dr. D Veerendra Heggade. The college shifted from Siddhavana infrastructure to the current building in 1971. Along the illustrious journey that SDM institutions have travelled through over five decades, the foundational principles laid down by Late.Shri Rathnavarma Heggade remain sternly adhered to. Late.Shri Rathnavarma Heggade is fondly remembered with the title ‘Navanirmaanada Shilpi’ which translates to ‘an architect of novelty’. He was the illustrious leader who established the defining structures of Dharmasthala such as the gateway, the Nethravathi bridge, and of course, the SDM institutions. A visionary decision to pave an educational path for the rural kids of Ujire and Dharmasthala has taken the form of SDM Institutions today, and we always remember that we have one man to thank for it all.

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