After a beautiful visit to the Krishna temple and from there, the gorgeous 13th century monument of Somanathapura, we arrived at Talakadu and were stunned at the amount of sand in the place. Tough to walk on, as our feet would keep sinking in.
Once upon a time, Talakadu was a beautifully vibrant city, on the banks of the river Cauvery. A part of the Ganga Empire, its history dates back to the 3rd Century. It eventually came under the rule of the Cholas followed by the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara Kingdom. Many interesting legends are associated with this place.
Since it was lunch time, we stopped by the banks of the river Cauvery for a sumptuous and leisurely lunch. And then, took a walk towards the water. Lots of people were taking a dip in the water. It was scorching hot and with a full stomach, half-heartedly made for a view of the river.
Oh well, once we got there, we could hardly not take a trip in one of these, right?
And hey, this one had my name on it!
It was lovely to glide around in this “Parisal” on the waters. So cool. Seven of us in one. Three adults and four kids. We got thoroughly drenched. And then, dried out walking around in the sun in the eucalyptus grove – so many trees – see the sand?
We then set off to see the temples here. As we entered the town, I saw this painted cart. Nice no?
But why so much sand here?
There is a story – the curse of Talakadu.
In the Vijayanagara period, around the year 1610, Srirangapatnam (near Talakadu) was ruled by Srirangayya on behalf of the Vjayanagara King. His wife, Alamelamma, was a devotee of Sri Ranganayaki, the consort of Sri Ranganatha of the Srirangapatnam temple and once a year, she sent her jewels to the temple to adorn the deity.
One day, her husband fell sick and went to worship Shiva at the Vaidyanatha temple in Talakadu, leaving Alamelamma in charge of the throne. Aha, thought the Raja Wodeyar of Mysore, the neighboring city, and used this opportunity to seize Srirangapatnam before you could say Ah, Women Power! Alamelamma, in the meantime, worried to death over her husband, packed her precious jewelry and went to check on him in Talakadu. Unfortunately for her (and fortunately for Wodeyar) Srirangayya died.
Now, the Raja Wodeyar of Mysore, not content with grabbing Srirangapatnam, also coveted Alamelamma’s jewelry. The soldiers of Wodeyar thought now was a good time as any to harass the heck out of Alamelamma.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
Quite angry, Alamelamma, with nowhere to go, jumped into the Cauvery with her jewels, and, as she drowned, uttered a curse. She said, “Let Talakadu become a desert. Let Malangi become a whirlpool. Henceforth, the Mysore Rajas will beget no heirs”.
From then on, the fertile Talakadu was covered in sand. The River Cauvery suddenly, mysteriously developed a whirlpool there. And to date, the Mysore Rajas have no heirs, though many adoptions are on record.
Currently, archaeologists are hard at work in Talakadu to unearth the temples buried under the sand dunes. Almost thirty temples are believed to be buried here. Of these, five Shiva temples have been unearthed and the most prominent is the Shiva temple – the Vaidyanatheswara temple built by the Cholas. It is a beautiful temple with incredible sculptures and carvings.We sighted the temple against the backdrop of a bright blue sky.
From there, we visited just one more, about half a kilometer away – Sri Maraleshwara Temple. We had to climb down to reach it.
The others were much farther away and I didn’t have the stamina to navigate the sandy path to it. Next time, maybe.
From here, we headed back home. We reached around 10 pm. One Sweet Day!
This post is the third and concluding part of a day trip I made last Sunday with the folks from my condo. Fifty of us went. The first two posts are here: