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.
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|
Signing Note- Stroll through a world of sands and sculptures...!!
Distance- 135 Kms
Bengaluru- Kanakapura- Halagur- Malavalli- Talakad