A curse is believed to have stretched over the Wodeyar dynasty in this town near Mysuru, just like a story from Amar Chitra Katha. Talakadu or Talakkad, located on the banks of River Cauvery (Kaveri); is an interesting town with a history of 30 temples buried under the sand, with lots of archaeological sightseeing.
It takes a few hours from Bangalore and about an hour from Mysore. As you travel, the entire region is abundant with green fields and water until you reach Talakadu, which is covered in dunes of sand. Geologists see it as an ecological disaster. The Mystery of this phenomenon is unclear as the area ought to have been fertile owing to its proximity to the river.
I first heard about the story of Talakadu from my grandmom. After a lot of research and watching a documentary on Epic channel which takes the story through different perspectives, it is hard to arrive at a conclusion. However, it is still a tale of abiding legend- an act of assault, a cryptic curse and the catastrophic fallout— that stoked my interest.
The story of the curse differs depending on who you speak to. It revolves around temple jewels and possibly misguided attraction.
It was popularly believed that the then Ruler of Wodeyar coveted the jewels that were with Alamelamma, after the death of her husband, the then chieftain (Viceroy) of the Vijaynagar Kingdom. Raja Wadiyar I (1552-1617) sent men to get the jewels back from Almalemma. On hearing this she collected the jewels in her sari and uttered a curse before committing suicide in Kaveri River to avoid capture.
The curse ran, “Talakadu maralagali, Malangi maduvagali, Mysuru dhorege makkalilladhe hogali”, translating to ‘May Talakadu be submerged in sand, may Malangi become a whirlpool, and may the king of Mysuru be Heirless’.
According to my grandma, it was ‘Alamelamma’ and not the jewels, that the Maharaja coveted. However, the whirlpools in the river and the shifting sands are real and did originate around the time of Alamelamma’s curse.
A curse that has come true – even today Mysore Kings have adopted sons and not natural heirs to their legacy.
The whole of Talakadu was under sand dunes. There were whole Temples excavated from the sand; one could imagine the size of the sand dunes!
Amongst the temples excavated, there are 5 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called the Panchalingeshwara Temples.
Along with this Keerthinarayana Temple also can be visited.
After a walk to these temples, I redraw my notion about Talakadu, it is not just a land of the curse but a pretty village overseeing ‘Madavamantri Dam’.
Visit Talakadu for its mystery and its uniqueness.
How to reach Talakadu
Talakadu is just over 50 km from Mysore and about 140 km from Bangalore. It will take a few hours by road. As it is a small town, it is best visited as a day-trip.
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