Once upon a time, chariots were an everyday occurrence in the city of Hampi. They sped along the street, leaving the passersby awestruck with their splendor. Now, at the end of the city stands the solitary stone chariot in an empty temple campus.
Lifeless, yet elegant.
Inside the Vitthala Temple complex stands the magnificent stone sculpture in the shape of a chariot. The stone chariot is one of the most featured attractions of Hampi. It was built in the sixteenth century under the reign of Emperor Krishnadevraya, when Vijaynagar was at the height of its glory.
The chariot is not a monolithic structure, but made of connecting slabs of stones, the connection cleverly embedded in the artistic designs. Though now empty, the Stone Chariot was once a Garuda shrine.
When you go on a family trip, there’s always a conflict of interests among the younger, and older members as to which places to skip, and which we shouldn’t. To my surprise, all my relatives had a consensus about Sahasralinga—a must see place. It had a direct effect of piquing my curiosity.
The moment we arrived, I rushed over to the river Shalmala. One glance at the waters left me entranced. Scattered among the clear gushing stream stood hundreds of lingas*, and accompanying Nandi** each carved out of the rocks on the river bed.
The name Sahasralinga means a thousand lingas. As per History, Sadashivraya the King of Sirsi built the Shivlingas in the 17th century (Info courtesy: Wikipedia)
The Sirsi King had no children. He approached the Sadhus for advice. They suggested the worship of Shiva, and constructing 1001 Shivlingas to obtain His blessing.
Accordingly, the King ordered the construction of Shivlingas in Shalmala river bed to appease the deity.
Sahasralinga is located on the way to Sirsi from Yellapur, and is around 17 km from Sirsi Taluka.
Best time to visit:
Since, I visited in January and had a pleasant time, it is the definitely the best time to visit Sahasralinga. According to Dreamroutes, winters and early summers are the best times to visit the place.
*Lingas is the plural form of Lingam. Lingam is the representation of Shiva. Though you might find idols, and pictures of Shiva in his human form, lingam is the form in which Shiva is universally worshiped.
** Nandi—the bull is considered as the mount of Shiva.