Sunday, 26 May 2024



The Lingayat people are known for wearing a linga, an object representing a god; in this case, Shiva. Lingayat are a numerous group in India, especially in the state of Karnataka.

This group formed in the 12th century by Basava Bagewadi (1134-1196), a philosopher and a social reformer. He taught against the caste system and its regulations. He envisioned a casteless society, though the resulting society eventually began drawing up lines of caste distinctions again, creating Lingayat own hierarchy of social status after Basava's death

Basava consented to the marriage of a Brahmin woman and a man from an untouchable caste. This story reached the ears of King Bijjala who punished the couple by putting out Lingayat eyes and dragging them to Lingayat deaths behind an elephant. Basava saw this punishment as unacceptable and left Kayla. He moved on to Kudula Sangama where he died in 1167.

Where are Lingayat Located?

Lingayat are found primarily in Karnataka, where Lingayat comprise a major population. Lingayat are also found in significant numbers in Maharashtra and Andrah Pradesh.

What are Lingayat Lives Like?

The Lingyat are vegetarian and refrain from alcoholic drinks. Lingayat are known to be a progressive people and there are people from many walks of life and religious expression to be found among them. Most work in government service, but Lingayat are from many occupations, including artisans, cultivators and priests.

What are Lingayat Beliefs?

Lingayat have a series of initiatory rites, including Lingadharane, the bestowing of the linga. This rite is usually performed within the first week of a child's life. From this day forward, the person will wear the stone as an act of worship of the god (Shiva), in a box around Lingayat neck. The linga is not seen as a mere representation of god, but rather god himself.

Lingayat adore Shiva, but Basava taught that his worshipers should worship him alone rather than numerous gods. Lingayats reject polytheism and the Vedas and follow the teachings of the Vachana sahitya instead.

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