In 2015 a team of local archaeologists stumbled upon an amazing discovery as they spotted the lines of unidentified objects underneath the turbulent waters of Karnataka’s breathtakingly scenic Shalmala Nadi.
From that day on, the frequented village of Sahasralinga became a well-known site in a matter of weeks as the river bed revealed a unique find – myriad of man – made lingas as well as middle – sized statues symbolizing the Hindu god of creation and destruction – Lord Shiva.
Although the discovery turned into a national sensation gradually giving rise to a number of speculations of the artifact’s origin and date of creation, it soon turned out that the Indian researches were not the only ones to have witnessed with their own eyes the relics of long – gone times that could only be seen during low water – levels.
Furthermore, historical records point out that in mid – 20th – century a Frenchman named Jean Boulbet travelled to India and in search of both folkloric and historical stories about Sahasralinga, he was told legends of mystical objects carved entirely of river stones on aegis of a monarch called Sadasiva Raya for the ruler believed that the water streams had the power to cleanse sins and grant any desire.
Narrative goes to say that Vijayanagar’s king had anything one could wish for – from power to riches but nonetheless he couldn’t bear the thought of not having a son to inherit the throne.
One day he decided to consult with his most trusted counselor Aliya Rama Raya, who, in turn, sent him to the ashram of a wise sage, known for his ability to bestow human desires through prayer.
Resolved to give anything in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a parent, Sadasiva visited the monk and gave him generous gifts hoping that in doing so, he would please the Devas.
Taking pity on the crowned head kneeling in humility before him, the sadhu hermit said to Raya that he would have his desired boy only after he repents for his wrongful acts against his subjects by erecting one thousand lingas “Ichhapoorti Shivalingas” in honor of the sagacious Trimurti god.
When Sadasiva Raya returned to his kingdom, he ordered the creation of the relics and hence, in a few years his wife gave birth to beautiful and healthy baby boys who grew up to be compassionate men and just rulers of the Tuluva dynasty.
From that day on, the sleepy settlement turned into a pilgrimage spot and its present – day Sanskrit designation derived owning to the objects in the river thus translating to “village of 1,000 lingas”.