How much do you know about “Talakadu”, the town that got turned into a desert due to a curse in Karnataka

Did you ever know that there exits a desert 133 kms away from Bangalore which was once covered with greenery? The place is known as Talakadu, the land that was ruled by several Indian kings including the Wodeyars of Mysore.

With temples like Vaidyanatheshwara, Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara and Mallikarjuna, Talakadu is one of the popular tourist destination in India. But it is claimed that this city had once around 30 temples but due to that mysterious curse, most of the temples are buried under the sand in Talakadu.

Talakadu, where the supposed curse was born
Talakadu, where the supposed curse was born

Now to know why this place has been turned into a desert, we need to go centuries back. The place was ruled by several kings including the Vijayanagar empire. In 1610 the Vijayanagar Governor at Srirangapatna, Tirumala Raja his wife Alamellamma had visited Talakadu.

This visit was important to the couple as the king was suffering from a deadly disease, and wanted to find a cure for this. But at this time, the Raja Wadiyar from the Wadiyar dynasty had plundered Srirangapatna. After destroying the city and taking control, now they wanted to get hold of of the precious jewels of Alamellamma. When the king’s wife was not agreeing to give the jewels, the Wadiyars decided to grab it by force.

That’s when the angry Alamellamma threw the ornaments into the Cauvery. But before getting drowned in the river, Rani Alamelamma cursed “May Talakad turn into a barren expanse of sand; may Malangi (a village on the banks of Cauvery) turn into an unfathomed whirlpool; may the Wadiyars of Mysore not have children for eternity”.

The curse has literally worked as the Talakadu town is covered with desert till date. For nearly 9 mile the old Talakadu town is submerged in the sand. What is even shocking is that the Wadiyars have never had heirs. Below are the two points that are popular in the region,

(i) Talakadu, a historically vibrant city, is now being submerged under sand dunes several meters deep, and

(ii) the Mysore royal family have faced a problem of having a rightful heir to the throne since the 17th century.

During the south-west monsoon the sand usually advance upon the town at the rate of 9 or 10 feet a year. So whenever this happens, the people need to abandon their houses. Even though around 30 temples have been buried underneath the sand, the excavators have succeeded in excavating Kirti Narayana temple.

Mahadwara (great entrance) of Kirtinarayana temple, recovered from the sand dunes at Talakadu
Dwarapalaka (door keeper) and a profile of the mantapa at Vaidyeshvara temple


A profile of the outer wall of the mantapa in Vaidyeshvara temple
Five headed snake and stone chain
Ornate doorjamb and Dwarapalakas in relief in Vaidyeshvara temple

Even after the 400 years the curse had haunted the Wadiyar dynasty as the last king died without any heir. That’s why the Maharani Pramoda Devi formally adopted Yaduveer in February 2015, and named him the late scion’s successor.

Source: The Hindu

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Hansika Raj