December 18, 2014

Talakad- Land of Submerged Temples...!!

Covered in heaps of sand, an old town lies beneath, waiting to be re-discovered. This is Talakad for you! A prominent town which was once ruled by various empires (Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagaras and Wodeyars) from the 8th to the 17th century, Talakad portrays only a part of what it once was. It resembles a desert with beautiful temples amidst the sands. Located by the Cauvery, a detour off the NH- 209 takes you to this popular pilgrim centre, where ASI is still excavating and unearthing temples.



Legend says this land was cursed by Alamelamma, queen of Ranga Raya of Vijayanagar empire, the ruler of Srirangapatana during early 17th century. Ranga Raya who was on a visit to Vaidyanatheshwara temple in Talakad suffered critical health conditions and was on his death bed. Hearing this, Alamelamma left for Talakad handing over the reigns of the kingdom to Raja Wodeyar of Mysore. Raja Wodeyar who was desirous of the jewels possessed by the queen, attacked Talakad sighting the opportunity. Gauging the situation she was in, Alamelamma threw the jewels into the Cauvery and drowned herself in the waters at Malangi. She cursed the land and the Wodeyar family before killing herself- "Talakadu Maralagi, Malangi Maduvagi, Mysuru dhorege makkalagade hōgali" (Translates to- May Talakadu be filled with sand, Malangi be a whirlpool and Mysore Kings shall not have offspring). The curse still holds good as Talakad is always covered in sand and the Wodeyars have never had rightful heirs ever since.

The popular temples in Talakad are Vaidyanatheshwara, Pataleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arakeshwara, and Mallikarjuna. All have Shiva as their deity and is known for its Pancha Linga Drashana which is held once in 12 years. Keerthi Narayana temple which is still under excavation and is rebuilt as per its earlier architecture by ASI has a Vishnu shrine. It is believed that there are about 30 temples beneath those huge heaps of sand waiting to be discovered.

As soon as I got out of my vehicle, authorised guides approached to show me around. Ignored them and went ahead, languorously over the heaps of sand to the once submerged temples of Talakad. Shelters along the walkway is a respite from the burning sun. Talakad gets quite hot during the day and it becomes tough to manoeuver yourself through the sand. One has to walk down the stone cut steps to Pataleshwara and Maruleshwara, the oldest of the temples, both found after extensive excavation. Though small, it gave goosebumps to take blessings at a shrine that was buried in sand not too long ago. One can see the beautifully sculptured Keerthi Narayana temple way down, as you walk along the pathway. The walk further led to Choudeshwri temple and culminated at a temple pond.


Pataleshwara temple
 From the pond I walked across to the most popular temple of Talakad, Vaidyanatheshwara which was never totally submerged in sand. This is the largest of all temples in Talakad, was built during the Ganga, Chola and Hoysala eras and is well known for its wonderful architecture and sculptures. Its intricately carved entrance and wall sculptures display in detail the Dravidian architecture. I lazed around the temple, gazing at the wonderful stone-works and craftsmanship. The huge 'Dwarapalakas' (guards) at the entrance of the inner sanctum, nicely carved pillars and the delicately hanging stone chain from a corner of the roof left me amazed.


Vaidyanatheshwara temple






Keerthi Narayana temple, behind the Vaidyanatheshwara temple is still under excavation and restoration. This Vishnu shrine built in Hoysala architecture is being rebuilt meticulously by the ASI post the excavation. Built in the 12th century, the temple has an impressively sculptured entrance gate. I wasn't allowed inside as the restoration work was under progress and had to be content with the views of the wonderful architecture from a distance. The remaining two temples, Arakeshwara and Mallikarjuna are within a radius of 8 kms.


Entrance gate at Keerthi Narayana temple
Keerthi Narayana temple
All these gorgeously sculptured temples display the reminiscence of a bygone era and also flashes a glimpse into the world beneath the sands. An ideal way to end the visit would be to take a coracle ride on the Cauvery which flows peacefully alongside Talakad.

Signing Note- Stroll through a world of sands and sculptures...!!

Distance- 135 Kms
Bengaluru- Kanakapura- Halagur- Malavalli- Talakad

54 comments:

  1. The place looks absolutely fantastic..and also the story :) I always like stories of jewels and drama :)

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  2. Dear Niranjan

    Very detailed description abut the temples and also very nice and amazing photographs. Thanks for sharing.Your travel posts give keen interest to know about our Incredible India. Like these share many more temples and other places of India.

    Recently i am conducted my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage and Culture. In this seminar i am sharing my collections relating to our culture and many children actively participated in my seminar and they cleared their doubts about our heritage through me.

    http://indian-heritage-and-culture.blogspot.in/2014/12/my-third-seminar-on-indian-heritage-and.html

    Niranjan please look into my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage and Culture post and share your comment.

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    1. Thank you. Glad to know about your seminars on Indian heritage and culture. Shall definitely go through them.

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  3. Beautiful! Reminded me of my visit way back in 2000 with my college friends. Having read/known about the place, I became a guide that day for my 40 odd friends :)

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  4. Loved the story behind this place!

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  5. Wow, you caught my attention from the title itself. Very informative, will be sharing this. :)

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  6. A new place for me. Great pics, thanks for showing.

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  7. Superb discovery.... and B&W was a great choice for this...

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  8. I had heard of a submerged church. Now a temple?

    B & W pics are adding charm to your interesting story! :-)

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    1. Yeah, while the church is submerged in water, the temples are submerged in sand. Thank you, Nisha.

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  9. Wonderful coverage of the amazing place.

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  10. Good photos and great narration. Thank you for new informations

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  11. Wow...You have gone to a great detail! Loved the monochrome images. They exude a retro feel that go with the mood of the post.

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  12. Looks like an enchanting place especially with it's history1

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  13. Very nice pictures. 'twas a good idea to keep it black and white; it goes so well with the story.

    I visited Talakad a long time ago, when I was in college and I remember seeing all that sand and being amazed by the sight. It was only a couple of years later that I heard the story of the curse. I didn't visit any of the temples. We were more interested in playing in the water, that day. :) So thank you for the pictures and the detailed account, Nomad.

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    1. Thank you, Divya. I too played in the waters and did not visit the temples in detail during my first visit a few years back. It was the other way round this time. Didn't go to Cauvery.

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  14. B/w pictures make this place even more grand.

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  15. ASI is to be lauded for unearthing such incredibly beautiful submerged temples. These monuments are truly awe inspirng !

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  16. Thanks for the lovely post. Talakad has also been our favourite. Apart from the temple treasures, it is also a nice spot for family picnics with lovely sand banks on the Kavari river.

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  17. Enjoyed the wonderful monochrome images and the historical details Niranjan. Reading about curses that come true always gives me goose bumps :-)

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  18. You always post about our incredible India..Your description as well as picture give a keen desire to visit..great job Niranjan !!

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  19. Detailed post.. Black and white reflects the sentiments well. Have a nice new year

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  20. Nice Photo Journey with nice details about the place.

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  21. Never heard of this place ..should plan a visit soon

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    Replies
    1. It is a beautiful place. Head there soon.

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