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Talakadu, Mysore Overview

Nestled on the banks of River Kaveri, the town of Talakadu in Karnataka is a mystic place submerged in the sand of extremely fine quality. Steeped with rich past and heritage, it is famous for its Vaidyanatheshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The place derives its name from two local chieftains Tala and Kada and thus is called Talakadu. Situated only 3 hours drive from Bangalore, this is an ideal place for history buffs and for the devotees of Lord Shiva.  With a rich past and heritage, the town is also quite famous among the devotees who come here for a special worship.

Talakadu is situated on the left bank of River Kaveri and visitors can witness the legacy of the town that still reflects in its age-old antiquity. There are a number of temples located on the banks of River Kaveri that are buried under the sand and are excavated once in every 12 years for special worship called the 'Panchalinga Darshana'. The Panchalinga Darshana includes five major temples namely Vaidyeshwara temple, Arkeshwara temple, Vasukishwara or Pataleshwara temple Saikateshwara or Maraleshwara temple and Mallikarjuna temple. It is said that the Pataleshwara Shivalinga change colours according to the time of the day- red in the morning, black in afternoon and white in the evening.

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Legends of Talakadu

Talakadu was once renowned for its beautiful temples numbering more than 30 which were buried under the sand in the 16th century. According to the text, the burial was caused by natural disaster during the rule of Wodeyars. However, according to local folklore and myths, the town was buried under sand owing to a curse given by the queen of the region, Alamelu who drowned herself along with her jewels when the king of Mysore attacked her for her jewels.

Another legend dictates that an ascetic by the name of Somadatta was killed by elephants as he was on his way to Siddharanya Kshetra Talakadu to worship Shiva. It is believed that his disciples reincarnated themselves as elephants and went on to worship Lord Shiva at a tree in Talakadu. Two hunters Tala and Kadasstruck the holy tree only to find blood gushing out of its body. Upon the instructions of a heavenly voice, the two of them dressed the wounds of the tree after which the tree healed, and Tala and Kada were granted immortality. Since Shiva is believed to have cured himself through this incident, he is referred to as Vaidyeshwara. The Panchalingas here is all associated with this legend.

History of Talakadu

Talakadu finds its very first mention in relation to the Ganga line of kings. The city of Talakadu, once known to house five famous Shiva temples, was the seat of power of Gangas and the Cholas. The beginning of the 11th century saw the overthrowing of the Gangas by the CHolas after which Talakadu was renamed as Rajarajapura. It was later captured by King Vishnuvardhana who established Hoysala dominance over the land for quite a few centuries. Under the rule of Vishnuvardhana, the Talakadu comprised of seven towns and five mathas. The Hoysalas were incharge of the town until the 14th century after which the town changed many hands such as the the king of Vijayanagara and Wodeyars of Mysore.

Architecture of Talakadu

One of the most peculiar things of the temples in Talakadu is that they are covered in sand. A number of stone pillars can be found here scattered at different locations. The Vaidyeshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the magnificent architecture of the town built in the Dravidian style crafted out of granite. The doors of the Navaranga are carved with great details and huge Dwarapalakas decorate the entrance. Most of the temples in the city are claimed to be built under the rule of the Vijayanagar Kings with several features added by the Hoysalas. The Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples form the five revered Lingas of Talakadu and represent the five faces of Shiva. To celebrate the revered deity, a fair called the 'Panchalinga Darshan' is held every twelve years. 

Panchalinga Darshan

The Panchalinga Darshana is held on a new moon day in the month of Karthika when the stars Khuha Yoga and Vishaka conjoin. Pilgrims visiting Talakuda first take a holy dip in the Gokarna theertha followed by a prayer to Gokarneswara and Chandikadevi, and then finally worship Vaidyeshwara. The ritual is concluded with a bath in the northern, eastern, southern and western stretches of the Kaveri followed by offering prayers to Arkeshwara, Pataleshwara, Maraleshwara and Mallikarjuna, returning to Vaidyeshwara after each worship and finally worshipping Kirtinarayana.

Best Time To Visit Talakadu

The best time to explore the ancient city of Talakadu is between the months of November and March when the weather is pleasant.

How To Reach Talakadu

The beautiful city of Talakadu is located close to two major cities, about 43 km from Mysore and almost 120 km from Bangalore. Karnataka state government (KSRTC) and private buses are available to Talakadu from both the cities. If you wish to drive from Bangalore to Talakadu, there are three alternate routes, first one is from Kanakapura via NH209, the second one is from state highway (SH33) connecting Maddur with Kanakapura and finally onto NH209 and the third one is via Srirangapatna. From Mysore, reach T.Narasipura which is 25Kms from the city and then proceed towards Talakad via Hemmige. In the city, local buses and auto-rickshaws are available to ferry you from place to another.

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