Along the banks of River Kaveri lies the city of Talakadu. The place has seen the rise and fall of many empires like the Chola Dynasty, the Pallava Dynasty, the Hoysala Dynasty and the Vijayanagara Dynasty. There are a tremendous number of structures from these periods including many temples. Now there are only few relics remaining which are left for the public to explore.
Historical records note that the town had more than 30 temples, which got buried under the sand during the 16th century. There have been many fascinating tales about the reason for the downfall of these temples. Some claim that it is due to a natural disaster during the rule of the Wodeyars, but the local stories explain that Talakadu was buried under sand because of the curse of Alamelu, the queen of the region. The local legend unfolds the story of how the raja from Mysuru moved against Talakadu with an army in order to lay his hands on a jewel of Alamelu. It is said that she threw the jewel into the river Kaveri and drowned herself. Legend states that before she died, she laid a curse, stating, ‘Let Talakadu change to sand, let Malangi become a whirlpool and let the Mysuru Kings be heirless.’ Later in the 16th century, the city was reduced to a deserted land.
An exciting and unusual custom which remains a part of the town is the excavation of some temples every 12 years for a special ritual during Panchalinga Darshana. The remaining time these temples remain buried under the sand. The Temples that are included in this ritual are the Vaidyanatheshwara temple, Arkeshwara temple, Vasukishwara temple Srikanteshwara temple and Mallikarjuna temple. The many temples of the land are the depiction of the architectural brilliance of the particular dynasty in which it was built.
The Keerthi Narayan Temple located here is one of the most famous ones dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is having eight feet tall idol of God Vishnu on Garuda Peeta. Only a portion of the temple has been excavated and some parts of it still remain buried under the sand. This is the only temple having Hoysala architecture till now in Talakadu. Another famous temple here is the Pathaleshwara Cave Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The shivalinga here is known for its unique ability to change colour. It is said that the Shivalinga appears red in morning, black in afternoon and white at night.
Talakadu is famous for its rich historical significance and at the same time for the wide acres of land which is growing wine yards. The town is now attracting tourists, scholars, scientists and even chefs from places because of its cursed story and horticulture practices.
Image courtesy Dineshkannambadi and Alok567gupta from Wikimedia Commons