A Desert-Shrine With Temples Submerged under Sand Dunes; Seen Once in 12 years!

Talakadu (Talakad) of Mysore, Karnataka, India is the place we are speaking about. Situated on the banks of River Cauvery, Talakad is a rare combination of desert and river. Talakad is famous for its sand dunes and has decades-old temples submerged under dunes, and a village nearby, Malangi. The shrine houses around 30 temples temples, which remain submerged under sand and opened only during the Karthika Maasam (Indian month) that has five Mondays, which happens once in 12 years. So, the temple is opened only once in 12 years!

Talakad has its name from two devotees-turned hunters (Tala and Kadu). Once they had hit a tree with with an axe and when the tree started bleeding, a divine voice (said to be of the Lord Vaidynatheswara).

Talakad was ruled by Gangas, Cholas, Hoyasalas and Vijayanagara empires. Its current-day’s situation is said to be the result of curse by Alamelamma, the wife of a defeated viceroy of Vijayanagara Empire, on the then Mysore Maharaja Wadayar, during the 16th century.  Alamelamma use to send her diamond jewelry to Goddess Ranganayaki of Srirangapatnam, regularly. But, on one Friday, the widowed Alamelamma did not send her jewelry. With this, angry Wadayar was said to have ordered his soldiers to get the jewelry from her, forcefully. Then, Alamelamma escaped to Talakad, a vibrant city nearby Mysore, and worried about captivation, she jumped into Cauvery River (along with that jewllery) near Malangi, uttering the curse: “Talakadu managali, Malangi madwagali, Mysooru arasarige makkalu aagadirali” which means: “May Malangi turn into an unfathomed whirlpool (as she doesn’t want anyone to track these jewels) and Talakad turn into a barren expanse of sand (to avoid soldiers from approaching her) and the Rajas of Wadiyar not have their male heir (for his deed against her)”.

The curse seems to have come true, as the place remained a desert and the Mysore Kings did not have heirs since the 17th Century!

Thousands of devotees visit this place that has many temples, including Panchalingas: Vaidyanatheshwara (the main temple), Pataleshwara, Maraleshwara, Arkeshwara and Mallikarjuna. Gokarneshwara, Chamundeshwari and KirtiNarayana are other small temples located in Talakad. Pataleshwara Linga is unique for its color-changing feature, which happens five times in a day.

PC: Google Images
PC: Google Images

Author: Punyakshetram

Interested in covering pilgrimage-centric stories and interesting facts about various Hindu temples across the world.

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