History of Talakad and Story of the Curse That Buried Talakkad below Sands

Talakad in Karnataka is famous for temples that are buried under sand – the Cauvery Riverbed. Situated on the banks of the Cauvery, the town of Talakkad is famous for the Panchalinga Darshan – a rare darshan of five Shiva temples during rare astrological calculations. The history of the town goes back to the 8th century AD but what is more popular than history is a myth – a curse that buried the town under sands.

Meera Iyer writes about the History and the Myth of Talakkad in Deccan Herald

Talakad has a long history, going back to at least the eighth century when it was the capital of the Ganga kings. In later years, it was also a prominent city under the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar kings and the Mysore Wodeyars, with each successive dynasty adding its own architectural stamp to the city.

Like any other ancient city in India, Talakad too has its share of colourful myths. But of the several stories about this ancient town, one that reverberates through the years down to this day dates from the early 1600s, when Raja Wodeyar defeated Rangaraya, the Vijayanagar empire’s viceroy in Srirangapatna.

The victorious king alleged that Rangaraya’s wife, Alamelamma, still had with her jewels that rightly belonged to the temple at Srirangapatna. Eventually, when Raja Wodeyar sent soldiers to recover the jewels, Alamelamma fled to Talakad and famously cursed the king and the town before drowning herself in the Cauvery near Malingi a town on the opposite bank of the river. “Let Talakad be filled with sand,” she is said to have cried, “Let the Mysore kings remain childless. Let the river at Malingi become a whirlpool.”

In an extraordinary turn of events, beginning in the 1600s, Talakad did indeed begin to be deluged with sand. This concurrence with the curse has never failed to capture the imagination of visitors to the besieged town, where today, some 30-odd temples are said to lie buried under the sand. In recent years, this remarkable coincidence has also intrigued scholars, resulting in some fresh insight into this mystery.

You can read about latest archeological developments in the article by Meera Iyer – Township of shifting sands.

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Panchalinga Darshana 2009 at Talakad