People must be aware of the famous Sahasralinga pilgrimage in the town of Sirsi, Karnataka but did you know that there is another Sahasralinga in Cambodia too? Yes, you read that correct! Siem Reap, a lovely city in Cambodia is the place where you can witness Sahasralinga which when translated means 1000 Shiva Lingas. These 1000 lingas are carved at both the places and are dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva.
Sahasralinga in Sirsi, Karnataka
So this place is one of the prime pilgrimage centres in the country and is situated in the centre of the River Shalmala in the town of is Sirsi. The place is known for its 1000 Shiva Lingas that are carved on the rocks along the banks of the Shalmala. As far as history is concerned, there 1000 lingas were installed by the ruler Sadashivaraya of the Vijayanagar Kingdom sometime between 1678 and 1718. The unique thing about these are that each linga features a carving of Nandi, the bull right in front.
Every year, on the pious occasion of Maha Shivratri, devotees from across the country visit the place to perform Shiva puja. The place looks truly mysterious and gorgeous too at the same time when you get to see so many lingas together playing hide and seek with the river waters. None of these lingas come in the same shape or size. Given the force of river water, some of these lingas have gone bad and some are dislodged or completely disfigured. Those who wish to witness this miracle, it is suggested to visit the place only when the water level is low. Because otherwise, the lingas remain underwater so that the carvings are clearly visible.
Sahasralinga in Seam Reap, Cambodia
The Cambodian Sahasralinga (also known as Kbal Spean, meaning ‘the Head Bridge’) was discovered in the year 1969 by Jean Boulbet, an ethnologist. However, because of Cambodian Civil War, the place was out of reach and it was only after almost 20 years that the place was declared safe to visit.This magnificent site is now one of the popular tourist centre. The Cambodian Sahasralinga is about 25 km from Angkor Watt, which is considered the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Here also there are a thousand carved lingas amidst a river, however, this place is not considered revered and is only a major tourist spot in Cambodia. Also, given its ‘into the wild’ status, it’s really difficult to reach.
As far as history is concerned, there is no factual uptdate on when these lingas were carved and what was the purpose behind. If locals are to be believed, these lingas are symbols of creative energy. Moreover, they believe that water flowing over lingas will reach paddy fields and make them more fertile.