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Thousand Lingas of Sahasralinga in Karnataka

Written By: Akshatha Vinayak

Sahasralinga is a pilgrimage site located near Sirsi(18km) in North Karnataka. The place is unique because the lingas are situated on the rocks of the river Shalmala. Sahasra translates to 'thousand', meaning thousand lingas were carved on the rocks.

Linga is a manifestation of Lord Shiva, one of the trinities of Hinduism. Each linga has a nandi (bull) in front of it; nandi is the vehicle of Lord Shiva and the duo can be found in all Shiva temples. Carved on the riverine rocks, Sahasralinga looks very artistic and beautiful. They can be clearly seen when the water level is low in the river.

Lingas on the rocks of the river Shalmala

The sculpture of many lingas
Photo Courtesy: Unique.creator

The history of Sahasralinga says, these were carved on the orders of the king Sadashivaraya. We can find many lingas of different shapes and sizes on these rocks. Unfortunately, many have been submerged or destroyed due to the lack of restoration. Recently, a bridge has been built across the river Shalmala which gives good view of these sculptures.

Idol of nandi

Idol of Nandi in front of Shiva Linga
Photo Courtesy: Unique.creator

Surprisingly, there is another Sahasralinga in Cambodia with the same name! This Sahasralinga also has various lingas carved on the rocks of a river. It is near to Angkor Watt, the largest Hindu temple outside India. Some researchers say, it may be because many Hindu Kings spread there kingdom in South East Asia and maybe that's why it has resemblance.

A ruined sculpture

A ruined linga
Photo Courtesy: Unique.creator

Today, this holy site is a picnic spot for the locals and there is an urgent need to preserve these beautiful sculptures which might vanish after a time. A visit to Sahasralinga will engulf your mind with the serenity of nature.

A sculpture of Nandi

A sculpture of big nandi
Photo Courtesy: Unique.creator

Sirsi is a beautiful city with a number of tourist places around. Here are some of the famous places to visit in Sirsi and which can covered while Sahasralinga tour.

Marikamba Temple
Marikamba Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Durga. This temple is 15km from Sahasralinga and is one of the must visit pilgrimage centres in Sirsi. It is an ancient temple built in 1688 which houses the main idol, Durga with 8 arms.

Madhukeshwara Temple in Banavasi

Madhukeshwara Temple
Photo Courtesy: Clt13

Banavasi is the oldest town of Karnataka and it is popular for Madhukeshwara Temple (Shiva). A visit to this ancient town and the artistic temple will take you back in time.

Yana Rocks
Yana Rocks is one of the popular tourist attractions near Sirsi. The huge monolithic rock formations are a nature's wonder. A trek to Yana Rocks is a must, if you love to explore the caves and like wandering in the woods. Yana Rocks is situated at a distance of 70km from Sahasralinga.

These are some of the places which you can explore during your trip to Sahasralinga.

Read more about: sirsi karnataka

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