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The Sands Of Time at Talakadu

by Vidya Sury August 26, 2012 33 comments

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?

Such sink-y sand. So hard to walk in – especially with footwear.


We then set off to see the temples here. As we entered the town, I saw this painted cart. Nice no?

Let me tell you the story behind how Talakadu got its name.
There used to be an ascetic, Somadatta who regularly worshiped at the Shiva temple here. One day, en route to the temple, his disciples and he were attacked and killed by wild elephants. Later, this sage and his disciples were reborn as elephants and continued to worship Shiva in the form of a tree in the forest.
Two hunters, whose names were Tala and Kadu chopped down the tree and imagine their shocked surprise when blood oozed out! A divine voice instructed them to heal the wound with the tree’s leaves and fruits. They did.  The tree healed. And because this tree was Shiva who healed himself,  he is called “Vaidyanatheshwara” here, God of the doctors.  Eventually, they built the Vaidynatheshwara temple here and the town came to be known as “Talakadu” after the hunters.
The Vaidyanatheswara temple (Shiva) – entrance flanked by massive sculptures.


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:

One Sweet Day
A day trip to the 13th Century

Have a gorgeous week ahead!
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Elle August 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Love your stories and pics Vidya. I’m always transported by you. Maybe in another lifetime I lived there…who knows? I know I’m visiting some soon day.

Love Elle

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

🙂 Indeed, Elle! Who knows! You know you are welcome! Hugs!

Alayah Frazier August 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Beautiful pictures!

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:53 am

A warm welcome to you and thank you, Alayah! Your blog is delightful!

Pamela August 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing these pictures!

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thank you, Pamela!

Tara R. August 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm

The ‘Parisals’ are so cool. I hope they were as fun as they look.

I love the story of Alamelamma. That was a very powerful curse.

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

They were great fun, Tara. I was a bit apprehensive about sitting in them – cross-legged, but they’re very sturdy. 🙂 Yes, we loved that story. When you see the place, it is so believable!

Keetha Broyles August 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I have never seen a “sea-faring” basket before! How fun.

Makes me think of the nursery rhyme – – –

“Rub a Dub Dub,
Three men in a tub,
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick maker.”

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

🙂 That’s cute, Keetha. ‘Xcept in our case we were seven – three women and four kids. That thing is strong! And the “boatman” maneuvered it beautifully!

Harleena Singh August 27, 2012 at 3:58 am

Great pictures Vidya!Envying you having such a nice time out with so many others. :)I did see the last post with those wonderful snaps as well and I think you truly have an art of collecting awesome snaps and sharing them with all of us.Glad you had a nice time and much needed break and get away too 🙂

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

Yes, Harleena – it was such fun going out in a massive group like that. Luckily it all panned out the way we planned it! 🙂 Thank you for visiting!

Terri Sonoda August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Wow! What a day you must have had! I am jealous. LOVE those little basket boats (Parisal). So happy you had such a beautiful day, my friend. Keep sharing with us. We love it!

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hugs! Terri – oh it was super fun. Luckily it did not rain on our outing – that would have been a real damper! It as fab to glide over the water in those parisals! I always think of you when I go out!

Bill Dorman August 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I might be able to out-sand you; our beaches and our orange groves. Tricky walking indeed……..

Great story; see what happens when you scorn a woman…yikes…..

I hope you have a great week.

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

🙂 That wasn’t even a regular beach, Bill! 🙂 But it is crazy walking/running in sand. Hugs! Good to see you here!

Cathy | Treatment Talk August 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Hi Vidya,

Lovely pictures as always. I love those round boats. They look like they could be fun. Thanks for your great post. Have a great week!

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

They were, Cathy – the boats were real fun. Thank you!

My Inner Chick August 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

–Are you a History Teacher, too?!!

Amazing Photos.

Love you more than melted chocolate spilled over vanilla ice cream! X

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm

🙂 I love to know the story behind the places I visit, Kim – so much more fun that way! We came back quite stunned from the trip. I love you more than a sea of Hersheys!

Adrienne Smith August 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Great you sharing more of your travels with us Vidya.

Talakadu seems like a unique city for sure. That little “boat” I would have to question but it’s probably made better then some I’ve been in.

That sand would get me too. I could see myself sinking as you were mentioning it.

I’m always transported by you. Maybe in another lifetime I lived there…who knows? I know I’m visiting some soon day.

Wow great tales.. A woman scorned, they’ll think twice right!

Appreciate you sharing this adventure with us and all the photos are wonderful. Almost like I’m there.


Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Dear Adrienne! There are stories attached to all the places here. 🙂 That boat was one heckuva sturdy thing – imagine – seven of us went bravely and safely in it. The only thing was the water kept splashing up at us, and we could hard complain, since the kids with us were practically trying to jump into the water.

We didn’t brave it farther than we did in the sand – maybe we would have, if it were morning, but it was the last stop of our trip and we were quite tired.

Thank you for dropping by – I appreciate it very much!

Sandra /Always Well Within August 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

What an amazing story! Wow, could the sand really be the result of a curse. It makes you think twice about you think, say, and do! I love your travel stories and photos. It’s such a pleasure to visit India with you.

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Thank you, Sandra! The thing is, they’re now unearthing those monuments and it is amazing how well preserved they are. 🙂 Indeed we should watch our words and actions! 🙂 So happy to see you here!

Pattu Raj August 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

Enjoyed it! Parisal riding! Wow.

I think we need to be a little bold, and also have a swimming practice(me-coward).

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Oh, Pattu – there was such a crowd there that day! The boatmen are quite competent. The place is not far – just 140 km or so from Bangalore.

Josh August 28, 2012 at 1:22 am

Love those plate shaped boats and the history. There really isn’t anything like a woman scorned now is there. 😉

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Yes, Josh. I would never risk it 😉 The boats were a great experience!

Unknown Mami August 29, 2012 at 12:47 am

It is amazing what lays covered and that the effort is made to uncover it.

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Yes, that boggles my mind, Claudya!

Nina@Babbling Little Booties August 30, 2012 at 12:12 am

Wow, I like to experience that “Parisal”

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hi and welcome, Nina! I am sure you’d love it – I did!:-) Your blog is so pretty!

carolynhughesthehurthealer August 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Such lovely photos and descriptions! I think you may have missed your vocation as a tour-guide! As I read your post, I feel the places you visit. Fabulous!


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