An apparent curse.
Temples lost in the sands of time. The architecture consumed by history. Intricate, yet beautiful. Complex sculptures, however, a feast for the eyes. Talakad( or Talakadu (lets keep it as Talakad) will make the person fall head over heels in love with the place.
Let me tell you this. I have not seen a place with so much fine sand like Talakad anywhere else in South of India. The plethora of sand in Talakad is down to an age-old curse that befell on this very place a long time ago. The curse is one that is both fascinating as well as mystifying. From what I have read on the internet as well as interacting with the locals, I have drawn conclusions bearing in mind the truth behind the story.
I apologize if anything is misleading in the story or if something is wrong with any of my inferences.
So it all began with Talakad being a vibrant and prosperous town. Alamelamma ( the wife of Sri Rangaraya – the representative of the Vijayanagar Kingdom in Srirangapatna) came to Talakad with her husband to offer services to the gods residing in Temple of Vaidyeshwara upon noticing her husband nearing his death. She left Srirangapatna to the able hands of the Wodeyar king of Mysore.
The king of Mysore interested in her jewels, sent forth an army to seize the jewels of Alamelamma. Alamelamma went down to the banks of the river Cauvery, threw the jewels and drowned herself. Before drowning, she uttered, “Talakadu Maralagi, Malangi Maduvagi, Mysooru Arasarige Makkalagadirali” (translation- “May Talakadu be filled with Sand, Malangi be a Whirlpool and Mysore Kings shall not have offsprings”). (source – wiki).
First, the place is filled with sand and sand dunes. This fits in perfectly with Alamelamma’s words.
Even a commoner will say “Affirmative” if asked whether the temples have been excavated from the depths of the sand. I recall one the locals telling me that there might be many more temples hidden under the ground in that area.
Second, regarding the Kings of Mysore not having a biological heir. I went over to my parents and with all the innocence in the world, I asked them if this curse actually affected them. Both of them nodded at that the Kings of Mysore have adopted heirs for generations and it is no coincidence that before the curse, the kings had no reason to adopt.
As for Malangi becoming a whirlpool, I did not notice that at all. For all I saw, the river Cauvery was calm throughout the day, welcoming everyone who wanted to befriend her. However, the locals tell me that at specific times ( which is unknown to a lot of people), the water behaves violently and it turns into a whirlpool at a place called Malangi. Scary isn’t it? All three points of the curse, visible to the eye, centuries after Alamelamma. I do believe that the curse is true.
Enough of the story.
Let me tell you about the place. When we came on new year’s day, the place was absolutely packed to the rafters. So we turned at a police station some 3 kilometers away from the temples. When we came on a random Sunday in November, we managed to see everything in Talakad. The amount of sand keeps increasing inside and that there are sand dunes near the river bed. 5 temples are close to the river. Shiva and Vishu temples primarily. Their architecture, enchanting.
At a point where my walking speed was slowed massively due to the sheer amount of sand, it surprises me to no end to notice that the temples are minimum 20 feet under the sand (hence excavated). Covering all the temples would take around an hour to hour and a half.
In one of the bigger temples, I noticed rings on the roof. These rings are a marvel. There is no sign of any attachment whatsoever; one ring inside another. Flawless craftsmanship. Absolutely flawless.
What makes it incredible is that the rings are attached to a serpent. I just stood there for a good 15 minutes admiring the artistic work of the men who did it.
Then we came across an age-old Nandi (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) statue. We have every reason to believe that this was also excavated. The lines and the markings on the statue couldn’t be something done in the 21st century.
Of course not. This is based on the evidence that the Nandi inside one of the temples is a carbon copy of this giant statue outside one of the temples.
The statue has survived.
The temples have survived.
The sands of time have shifted in Talakad. Hundreds of years have passed since Alamelamma.
Life in Talakad moves on, as smooth as the fine sand that covers the place.