They say ‘fact is stranger than fiction !!’
Talakad is a historic site near Mysore in India. Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried under sand. Massive sand dunes cover a vast spread area where the natives talk about several myths & legends about this unnatural phenomenon. Excavation is still going on and several Temples have been recovered from sand dunes . The photos here are taken by me from the same location within a gap of 24 years. In the first picture, we were standing on top of the partly visible Mahadwara (“grand entrance”) of Kirtinarayana temple which had been fully recovered and restored now (shown in the picture below).
Talakkad was developed by the Ganga Dynasty in the first millennium CE, and then by the Tamil Cholas from the 11th through the 12th centuries. Talakkad came under the rule of Hoysalas in the 12th century. It was then taken over by the Vijayanagar rulers and the Maharajas of Mysore. Talakkad got buried under sand over 400 years back and there are several theories behind this mystery. Scientific study suggests that it could an eco-disaster triggered by a series of earthquakes. People also believe that the area got covered under sediment mound when Kaveri river changed its course due to a curse.
One of the legends about a curse believed to have happened 400 years back, due to the following course of events. In the year 1612, Srirangapatnam was under the governance of Srirangaraya, the viceroy of Vijayanagar Empire. Once when the viceroy had fallen ill, he had come to Talakadu to pray at a temple. His wife, Alemalamma, the Queen was left with the administration of the Kingdom. Concerned about her husband’s health, she too left Srirangapatnam and came to Talakadu. She brought with her priceless jewels which she used to adorn the deity at Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangapatnam. King Wodeyar of neighboring Mysore seized this opportunity and annexed Srirangapatnam. He also wanted the jewels of the Queen and sent his soldiers after her. Meanwhile the Viceroy had passed away and a distraught Alemalamma handed over only a nose ring made of a single giant pearl. Soon after that, she committed suicide by jumping into the Cauvery river. But not before she uttered ominous words cursing the Wodeyars to an heirless future. “May Talakad turn into a barren expanse of sand; may Malangi (a village on the banks of Cauvery) turn into an unfathomed whirlpool; may the Wadiyars of Mysore not have children for eternity,” she is said to have chanted as she took the leap to her death.
The original words were like this : “Talkādu Maralaāgi; Mālingi maduvaāgi; Mysuru dhorege makkalagade hōgali !” (“ತಲಕಾಡು ಮರಳಾಗಿ; ಮಾಲಿಂಗಿ ಮಡುವಾಗಿ, ಮೈಸೂರು ದೊರೆಗೆ ಮಕ್ಕಳಾಗದೆ ಹೋಗಲಿ !”
What is amazing is that the curse is true till date! Talakadu is buried under mile deep sand and there has been no male heir to the crown of Mysore ever since.
Incidentally, soon after learning of Alamelamma’s suicide, Wodeyar installed a statue of her at the Mysore palace and offered it prayers. To date, her statue is worshipped as a deity in the palace.
Monolithic stone rings at Vaidyanatheshwara Temple. The 5-headed serpent figure with the chain links have been carved out of a single stone.
Talakkad is situated on the left bank of the Kaveri river, 45 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India.
- Route 1 : Bangalore to Talakadu via Malavalli (distance 133km) Bangalore – Kanakapura – Hagaluru – Malavalli – Talakadu.
- Route 2 : Bangalore to Talakadu via Maddur (distance 133km) Bangalore – Ramanagara – Channapatna – Maddur – Malavalli – Talakadu.
- Route 3 : Mysore to Talakadu via T.Narsipur (distance 45km) Mysore – T. Narsipur – Madapura – Talakadu.