Talakad, can be aptly called the land of hidden temples. There used to be around thirty temples in this area, according to the historical records. But today, one can find only a small number of these structures unearthed from the massive sand dunes.
Ruled by many dynasties – the town of Talakad lies at the shores of river Kaveri covered under a thick sheet of sand. A historical site, it is about 132 kms (82 miles) from Bangalore in Karnataka, India.
Prior to the 11th century Chola dynasty, it was under the auspices of Gangas who ruled over this area since the 3rd century. Then it was passed on to the Hoysala kingdom before being taken over by the Vijayanagar empire. And finally, into the hands of Kings of Mysore (as documented). Even the architecture of the monuments here depict these varied influences.
Legend has it, that this place was cursed by a lady named Alamelamma in ancient times. She had uttered the words, ‘Talakadu Marallagi’ (May Talakad become Sand) before plunging into the river and ever since this town has been deluged with sand.
These miles of sand have completely changed the landscape of this place and the once imposing temples are now buried beneath. Though some theories exist providing reasons behind this phenomenon, peoples’ belief in the curse has prevailed over the ages.
Some of the monuments which have been uncovered, include the Pataleshwara & Maruleshwara temples which date back to the 3rd century and were built during the rule of Ganga dynasty. Both these structures are ornate and the idols placed inside are wonderfully designed.
Walking over a vast hill of sand, next we were at the Keerthinarayana Temple. Only a part of the temple complex has been unearthed till now and the view is absolutely breath-taking. The structure is built in Hoysala style and is brilliantly crafted. However, its a site of ongoing work – with a lot of stone pieces lying around to be reconstructed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Another notable monument here is the Vaidyanatheshwara temple, the only one seemed to be not affected by the sand all around. It was built during the rule of Vijayanagar dynasty, but it also shows some Hoysala influences. Another excellent work of art, the sculptures here are lavishly crafted. To add to that, there is something very interesting about a design element here – a five-headed snake with two joint-less chain rings created out of a single rock – is hanging from one of the ceilings of the temples. Quite hard to imagine how it must have been made.
All the beautiful temples we saw here are perfect illustrations of the different architectures. One can actually witness the artistic style of various eras and dynasties through these monuments.
After visiting the temples, we decided to walk towards the river – it was so calming to just sit by the water and relax. We spent some time there before packing up for our next destination.
Our footprints in the sand might have been erased, the memories of this quaint place will stay forever. What an amazing trip.
Hope, there will be a time when we’ll be able to see all the temples.
Copyright © Vasudha Aggarwal & travel-defined.com, 2014 -15. All rights reserved.
Link – To learn more about the curse of Talakad, you can watch this series of wonderful videos, the link provided here is for the first part of the series.
Gallery of Pictures in this post (click on thumbnail for full image):