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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Talakadu ...... the city buried in sand

       Mysore beckoned us once again, this time with a different story.,and we found ourselves on the way to land  of myths and tales ,of history and religion..About a three hours drive ,away from the hustle of the city of Bangalore,on the outskirts of Mysore ,lies this small desert like town of Talakadu


    The road had been green so far  ,after taking the deviation from the highway ,and then the sign boards slowly started getting  visible . We were the first people to visit the place that day as we reached there at about 9 in the morning.The first temple was close to the parking and we decided to visit it later.First a temple and then a pond in an enclosure ,we had not yet caught up with the barrenness of the place, but  a few metres of walk and we realised why Talakadu is said to have turned into a desert town.





       ..As you walk to the other temples all you can see around are sand dunes .Our feet sank into the sand as we walked The path to the other temples all within the radius of 1 km ,was covered with an asbestos sheet . ,The scene around us, I felt was quite  a mismatch ..sand dunes with eucalyptus and cashew nut trees !!!!!!


      Talakadu has since a long time attracted many tourists due to the folklore it is associated with.It is said that a vibrant city once existed at this place  as it was the capital of the Ganga dynasty.Power changed hands and Talakadu was ruled by the Cholas and the Hoysalas before it was taken over by the Vijaynagara kings .

     .When the  minister  of the Vijaynagara  kings, Sri Ranga Raya  who was in charge of Srirangapatnam  fell ill the Wodeyars of Mysore established their stronghold over this place .Sri Ranga Rayas  wife ,Alamelamma possesed some jewellery which she did not wish to hand over to the Wodeyars .She was chased by the soldiers of the Wodeyars ..when she ultimately threw the jewelry into the river Cauvery and  jumped into the waters .As she gave up her life she laid three curses ..on this land .The first one being "let the land of Talakadu , which they wished to posses ,become a desert .The second "let the river Malangi become a whirlpool ."and the third "let the Wodeyars remain heir less in every generation". Ironically ,the place got filled up with sand in due course of time ,the river Malangi has very strong currents flowing  and the kings of Mysore bear a lineage of many adopted heirs.




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     Our long walk had almost come to an end (walking through the sand made it appear longer than what it actually was.)We could see the tip of the shrine of a temple from a distance as the temple was excavated out of sand .the major part of the temple was below ground level.









         In fact this was the case with all the temples here,...the temples which were centuries old were all excavated out of the sand ,and were barred from getting buried once again with walls around them.s.The archaeological department  is doing a commendable job ,by making every effort to keep these temples from getting buried .Efforts of the afforestation department could be seen ,the place now has a good green covering ,even though they are  trees growing on sand.
There were five temples in all,each of which was a Shiva temple ,but the one which was the best in terms of craftsmanship and sculpture was the Vaidyanatheswara temple

The   Vaidyanatheswara temple

A stone chain carved out of a single stone at the Vaidyanatheswara temple

   The Vaidyesheswara temple was the one which had  mixed features  of the Ganga ,Hoysala ,and  Chola  dynasty and was the only temple which was not covered by sand.
All the five temples are shiva temples that are excavated are in worship  and a  fair named Panchalinga Darshana takes place here every 12 years.It is said that there are nearly thirty more temples that lay buried in here
    No matter how appreciable the workmanship of the temples were, I could not keep myself away from the fascinating   folklore of this place. Researches had told that in the fourteenth century one of the ministers of the Vijaynagara kings had built a dam on the  river  flowing adjacently,thus changing the course of the river, consequently exposing the river bed .Over a period of time the strong winds have blown the sand to the neighbouring bank,gradually burying the place under  metres of sand.Another theory says that a geological fault line runs across the Cauvery here.The east side of the river subsided resulting in a pool, which explains the whirlpool as cursed by the queen.So with these facts, myth takes a backseat and rationality wins.However the third curse by the queen could not be  explained and so the mystery of Talakadu remains unresolved.Though I heard the explanations and was convinced to a large extent ,but deep down I still wanted to believe that the curses were responsible for Talakadu's fate.
       In a nutshell ,Talakadu is a place where one can visit temples , go for a coracle ride in the Cauvery and enjoy birdwatching,  ,gaze at the amazing craftsmanship of the people of the bygone era or simply stroll with your feet deep in the sand ,and listen to stories of an unrelenting widow ,whose cries still resonate among the sands of Talakadu