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Location of Talakad
in Karnataka and India
Coordinates 12°13′N 77°02′E / 12.22°N 77.03°E / 12.22; 77.03
Country  India
State Karnataka
District(s) Mysore district
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

700 m (2,297 ft)

Talakad(also known as Talakadu) (Kannada: ತಲಕಾಡು) is a town on the left bank of the Kaveri river at a spot where the river makes a sharp bend. It is 45 km from Mysore and 185 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. Now it is a scenic and spiritual pilgrimage center.[1] Here the eastward flowing Kaveri river changes course and seems magnificently vast as here the sand on its banks spreads over a wide area.[2]

Keethinarayana temple, Mysore district



The region of Karnataka is rich in the legacy of magnificent architecture left by different ruling dynasties over the centuries. The history of the ancient temple city of Talakad, a pilgrimage site, has become lost in time. The illustrious and powerful Western Gangas ruled from 350 to 1050 AD until they were overthrown by the Cholas in the 11th century.[1] Talakad came under the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century, followed by the powerful Vijayanagara Kingdom rulers and the Maharajas of Mysore.[3]

Sculpture from Talakadu Lord Shiva Temple

The Hoysala ruler, Vishnuvardhana, conquered the Gangas and Talakad. He built the impressive Vijayanarayana Chennakesava Temple at Belur.[4]


At Talakad sand covers the temples. Stone pillars, square at the base and made to fit into a wheel below the abacus, lie scattered about.[1] Among the temples of Talakad, the Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples, the five Lingams believed to represent the five faces of Shiva, form the Pancha pathi and have become famous.[3].[5] In honour of these five Shiva temples, a fair is held once every 12 years called Panchalinga Darshana, last held in 2006. The Panchalinga Darshana is held on a new moon day in the month of Karthika when two stars conjoin, the stars of Khuha Yoga and Vishaka.On this day, tradition has it that pilgrims should first bathe in the Gokarna theertham, worship Gokarneswara and Chandikadevi, and then worship Vaidyeshwara, and then bathe in the northern eastern southern and western stretches of the Kaveri and then worship Arkeshwara, Pataleshwara, Maraleshwara and Mallikarjuna, returning to Vaidyeshwara after each worship, finally worship Kirtinarayana and conclude the pilgrimage in one day.[6].

Temple Recovered from Sand Dunes at Talakadu

According to local legend, Ramanujacharya during his sojourn in Karnataka (also called Melnadu), established five Vishnu temples of Lord Narayana known as Pancha Narayana Kshetrams. Talakad is one of the Pancha Narayana Kshetrams where the Keerthi Narayana temple was established and the presiding Deity in this temple is Keerthi Narayana. [7]

Curse of Talakad

Talakad is also tagged to the curse called “Curse of Talakad” by Alamelamma on the Wodeyar dynasty (erstwhile Maharajas) of Mysore[8].

The Talakad curse has established itself in the folklore as a miracle since the early part of 16th century because of two strange events visible even to date: (i) Talakad, an historically vibrant city, is now being submerged under sand dunes several meters deep, and (ii) the Mysore royal family have faced problem in having a rightful heir to the throne since 1600s. Both these events linked to an apparent curse by a pious lady (Alamelamma) have defied logic. Based on the data from diverse sources and field studies, K. N. Ganeshaiah has reconstructed the possible chronology of events of this acclaimed miracle. Ganeshaiah argues that the Talakad phenomenon represents an ecological disaster unintentionally wrought on to a vibrant civilization at this place and in this sense the curse per se is an intelligently inserted story as an overlay. Using this example he discusses the possible process through which the miracles or myths of this kind survive in a society.[1]

The Mysore kingdom, founded by Yaduraya in the year 1399, consisted of only the areas surrounding the Present Mysore City and in fact the original fort was supposed to have been at a place known as haDadana - an extant small village on the southern side of Chamundi Hill. Wodeyars, like all others at that time were under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagar Empire. The viceroy of the Vijayanagar kingdom headquartered at Srirangapatna. Wodeyars after Yaduraya slowly and steadily increased their influence and territory over the next 200 years. Raja Wodeyar the ninth Ruler of the dynasty was a remarkable man known for his valor and patronage of art and culture. He Ruled from 1578 to 1617. In the year 1610, he conquered the fort of Srirangapatna from Srirangaraya –the then Viceroy of Vijayanagar. Srirangaraya is said to have retired to Talakad along with his two wives. One of them Alamelamma was known to be a staunch devotee of Sri Ranganayaki- consort of Sri Ranganatha the presiding deity of the famous Adi-Ranga temple in the island fortress of Srirangapatna.

Srirangaraya was afflicted with some deadly disease on his back which was also known as the disease of the Kings. But the condition of Srirangaraya deteriorated and he died. Alamelamma had large amount of precious jewellery. Of them was a fine nose ring studded with a big pearl. As Alamelamma was a widow now, she had no use of these jewels for her anymore. Since she was known to be a staunch devotee of Sri Ranganayaki, every Friday and Tuesday, Sri Ranaganayaki was being decorated with a big pearl studded nose ring and other precious jewelry. These jewels were in the safe custody of Alamelamma otherwise. Temple authorities requested Raja Wodeyar to provide them with the custody of these jewels as was the practice hithertoo. Treasury officials informed the king about truth. Raja Wodeyar thought that what is the use of these jewels for Alamelamma as she is a widow now and she no longer needs these jewelry. Raja Wodeyar sent emissaries to malangi where Alamelamma was staying, with a request to return the jewels. Alamelamma just returned only the Pearl studded nose ring. Then Raja Wodeyar sent his army to Talakad to request her once again and if she still refuses to get them by force. To escape the wrath of the Mysore Army, Alamelamma uttered the legendary curse on Raja Wodeyar and jumped into the whirlpool with the rest of the jewels and escaped unscathed.

   Talakadu maralagali
   Malangi maduvagali
   Mysurudoregalige makkalilllade hogali

The curse which has survived the folklore of last four hundred years is known thus:

   May Talakad turn into a barren expanse of sand,
   May Malangi turn into an unfathomed whirlpool,
   May the Rajas of Mysore not have children for all time to eternity.

Some other legends

Several other interesting legends also surround this shrine. It is believed that an ascetic Somadatta headed out to Siddharanya Kshetra Talakad) to worship Shiva. Having been killed by wild elephants en route, he and his disciples re-incarnated as wild elephants and worshipped Shiva in the form of a tree at Talakad.

Two hunters Tala and Kada, are believed to have struck the tree with an axe to find blood gushing forth, and upon the bidding of a heavenly voice, dressed the wound of the tree with the tree's leaves and fruits. The tree healed, and the hunters became immortal. Since Shiva is believed to have healed himself through this incident, he is referred to as Vaidyeshwara. The Panchalingams here are all associated with this legend.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Temple tales". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 2006-11-30.  
  2. ^ "Panchalinga Darshan: Sri Vaideshwara Temple". Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  3. ^ a b "Talakad". Retrieved 2007-01-26.  
  4. ^ "Southern India - The Hoysalas". Retrieved 2007-01-26.  
  5. ^ "Panchalinga Darshan". Retrieved 2007-01-31.  
  6. ^ a b Talakad
  7. ^ karnatakavaishnavatemples
  8. ^ The Curse of Talakad- A Legend in History by Sashi Sivaramakrishna ; ISBN 8129108364, Published by Roopa & Co is a recent welcome addition on this subject which has been seldom written about.


External links



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