While many are familiar with the renowned Sahasralinga pilgrimage in Siem Reap, Cambodia, few know about its counterpart in Sirsi, Karnataka. The name "Sahasralinga" translates to "thousand lingas," referring to the thousands of Shivalingas intricately carved on the rocks.

Sahasralinga is a revered pilgrimage site located in the Shalmala River in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The site features nearly 1,000 Shivalingas scattered across the riverbed. These lingas were commissioned by Sadashivaraya, a ruler of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, between 1678 and 1718. Each linga is accompanied by a carving of Nandi, the sacred bull, facing it.

Every year on Maha Shivaratri, devotees from across India visit Sahasralinga to perform Shiva puja. The site presents a mystical and enchanting view, with the numerous lingas peeking through the river waters. The lingas vary in shape and size, adding to the uniqueness of the location.

Many of the lingas have been submerged or damaged due to the lack of restoration efforts. Recently, a bridge has been constructed across the Shalmala River, providing visitors with a vantage point to view these remarkable sculptures. The best time to visit is when the water level is low, as the lingas are otherwise underwater and difficult to see clearly.

Scientists have noted the historical worship of the Shalmala River at Sahasralinga. The surrounding lush green forest is rich in diverse flora and fauna, including numerous medicinal herbs and plants used in Ayurvedic preparations. This natural and cultural heritage has led to the declaration of the Shalmala River Riparian Conservation Reserve, emphasizing the unique cultural value of the river.

A hanging bridge recently constructed across the river connects two neighboring villages. Walking to the middle of this bridge allows visitors to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the natural surroundings. From the bridge, one can enjoy the tranquil view of the thousand lingas, accompanied by the sounds of birds and flowing water.

Best Time to Visit

The optimal time to visit Sahasralinga is from November to March, when the water levels are low, ensuring a clear view of the lingas.

Sahasralinga in Sirsi offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and spiritual serenity, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to connect with nature and heritage.

Source / Image Credit: Dream Travellers, India the Land of Heaven
Video Credit : vij.eye