‘Let Talakadu become sand, let Malangi be a whirlpool, let the Mysore Rajas fail to beget heirs’.
Thus cursed Rani Alamelamma before she jumped and drowned in river Kaveri.
The Rani had handed over the reins of government to Raja Wodeyar and departed to Talakadu to be with her ailing husband. The greedy Raja wanted to acquire Rani Alamelamma’s jewels also and sent soldiers to Talakadu. The Rani, surrounded by hostile soldiers and unable to defend herself, threw the jewels in the river and jumped in herself. The Rani’s curse took effect and, it is said that Talakadu, a prosperous town, was engulfed and buried under metres of sand practically overnight. This happened in early 1600’s. Difficult to believe but the fact remains that ever since, till present day the ruling Wodeyar family has not been blessed with an heir. Succession is decided by selecting someone from the Wodeyar clan.
The town was rediscovered centuries later when (shikhars) tops of some temples sticking out of sand were noticed. The Archaeological Survey of India took over and has excavated and restored 4-5 temples out of nearly thirty said to be still lying under sand. Talakadu is only 133 kilometres from Banagalore and 45 kilometres from Mysore.
The excavated temples and idols of Talakadu
It was a news item that inspired us to take this trip. Fascinated with the photograph of over two centuries old Manjirabad fort in the shape of an eight-pointed star, I drew my daughter Pramiti’s attention to it. She searched the net. It is near Sakleshpur, only 125 kms from Bangalore. The coming weekend (June 24-25 combined with Eid on June 26) was ideal for an outing. Always keen to know our history, she found more places of interest in the area which we could cover in three days. The three of us, Pramiti, Alka and I left early on the 24th to avoid the infamous Bangalore traffic. Our itinerary was
Day 1 – Talakadu and Somanathpura: stay at Mysore
Day 2 – Melukote, Sahravanbelgola and Manjirabad fort: stay at Sakleshpur
Day 3 – Belur, Halebidu and Belvadi: back to Bangalore
Somanathpura, 24 kms from Talakadu is well known for the Chennakesava temple built in 1268 by Somanatha, a commander in Hoysala empire. It is one of the best-preserved temples of the period representing the highly developed architecture and sculpture of the era. The temple has three shrines connected with each other. Keshava, Janardana and Venugopala (all three, forms of Lord Vishnu) are housed in these shrines.
The three forms of Vishnu
Chennakesava temple and the restored Talakadu temples are under protection of Archaeological Survey of India. Yet worship is allowed in Talakadu temples where a ‘Panchalinga Darshana’ fair is held every twelve years. Such activities are causing irreparable damage to the priceless monuments and should not be allowed.