Talakkad was an ancient capital of the Gangas. The earlier capital of Gangas was Avani @ Kolar district. The cholas invaded Avani and defeated the Gangas who were forced to retreat more than 200 kms into Talakkad. After the decline of the Gangas, Talakkad was ruled by Pallavas, Cholas & Hoysalas. Vijaynagar emperors too left their mark in this place. Till the independence the Wodeyars of Mysore reigned supreme. Talakkad is blessed with Kabini and Cauvery rivers forming its boundaries.
Once upon a time Talakkad was fabled to have more than 300 temples, some temples got buried under the sand dunes, and others became dilapidated. The ASI keeps digging out newer sites which lay buried.
Curse of Talakad : The feudal lord of Talakad Srirangaraya lived along with his wife Alamelamma. They used to send their ornaments every Friday to the Ranganayaki temple @ Srirangapatna, to decorate the goddess. One Friday, when she was not feeling well, she forgot to send the jewels. The King of Mysore was annoyed at not receiving the ornaments, he sent his army to fetch the valuables. Alamelamma refused to part with the jewels. She tied all the valuables to her Sari and jumped into the river Cauvery near Malingi cursing the King and the Land. The curse surprising is working on the kings and it has turned the land barren.
“ Let Talakkadu become sandy,( desert type ) Let Malangi become a swamp, Let the rulers of the Land become Issueless “ Since then Talakkadu became a land of sand dunes and Wodeyars were cursed being childless. Talakad was fabled to be filled with more than 300 temples, one can see traces of the same, with temples scattered all over the territory. There is Mallikarjuna temple on the hillock and one can see the river cauvery in all its splendour from the peak. The vehicle can be taken almost to the peak by road. One has to climb a few steps to reach the temple. The priests in the temple are young ones. It is fun to witness the pooja and archana being performed by young budding priests. Talakkad is filled with temples, Panchlinga or 5 Lingas is fabled and sacred. In these temples too Young priests perform the pooja. There is Veerabhadra temple by the side of the Panclinga temple.
It is better to hire a guide to take a tour of Talakkad. We were fortunate to hire our Guide, Madiah, who is 50 plus and is full of stories. It takes a full 2 hours to take a tour. Madiah tells the fabled story in his own style, explains the architectural importance of various temples. The ASI has recently discovered an ancient house of the Ganga period near the sand dunes, it is kept a top secret by the department, since it is not fully excavated.
One gets to see the magnificent temple under reconstruction, which was buried under the sand dunes. The ASI was able to resurrect one temple, and the other temple is being meticulously being pieced together, once it is completed it may a wonderful edifice retrieved. One gets to taste cashews enroute to the temple. The cashew fruits seems intoxicating. The amount of granite stones carved out for completing the temple is mindboggling. The missing links are being assembled, with each piece being numbered and serially laid out. One has to just move it like a jigsaw puzzle to reconstruct. Talakkad may become an important tourist circuit once this temple is completed.
Cauvery river which is situated approximately 2 kms away is a beautiful spot for bathing. The water is flowing and clean, one has to watch out not to cross the boundary, where the curse of Alamellama can drown the frolickers. There are number of coracles if one wishes to take a ride in the swirling cauvery river. It can be an adventure on its own. But one is cautioned to look out for the whirlpool which can be fatal which can overturn the Coracle boats.
Talakkad can be reached from Mysore via Somnathpur or from Blore one needs to deviate at Maddur to reach Talakkad which is 35 kms away from Maddur. Talakkad is a great weekend getaway and if one plans to stay over one can look for options at Resort and Mutts or alternatively at Shivsamudra.
For further reading on Talakkad :http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/dec102007/1495.pdf by K N Ganeshiah