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Talakadu: A Timeless Tale of Sand and History

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Where is Talakadu located?

Nestled along the banks of the Kaveri River 45 km from Mysuru city, lies the enchanting town of Talakadu. It stands at a sharp bend of the Kaveri River eastwards from a southerly course. The place once had over 30 temples and they are buried beneath the sand now.  Dunes are formed here persistently, extending over a mile, burying most of the temples. Somehow the Kírti Narayana temple has been successfully excavated. However, the most imposing temple left unburied is Vydyanatheshwara – Shiva temple.

With its rich historical significance and unique geographical features, Talakadu has become a popular destination for history buffs, nature lovers, and spiritual seekers alike. This ancient town offers visitors a glimpse into the past and a serene escape from the modern world.

History of Talakadu

Talakadu’s history can be traced back to ancient times, with references to the 2nd century CE. The place was under the control of the Ganga dynasty, established by King Harivarma. The Gangas ruled for over 800 years and during that long period trade, art and culture flourished under their administration.  Over the centuries, Talakadu witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties, including the Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire, and the Wadeyars of Mysuru kingdom. Each ruling dynasty left its mark on the town, shaping its architecture, culture, and traditions.

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One of the fascinating aspects of Talakadu is its unique dunes that stretch for miles, covering an area of approximately 30 square kilometers. 

7 Towns of Talakadu

Talkadu was composed of seven towns and five mathas. The town of Mayilangi or Malingi, on the opposite side of the river, was also a large place and had the name of Jananathapura. Until the mid-fourteenth century, it remained under the possession of the Hoysalas and then passed on to Vijayanagar kings. 



The Vaidyeshsara temple along with four others – Arkeshwara, Vasukishwara or Pataleshwara, Saikateshwara or Maraleshwara, and Mallikarjuna constitute the Panchalingas here. These five Lingas are said to represent the five faces of Shiva. The Pataleshwara Shivalingam is said to change colors during the day (red in the morning, black in the afternoon, and white in the evening).

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Pancha linga Darshana

Panchalinga darshana is a rare pilgrimage occasion, occurring once in 12 years. Tradition has it that pilgrims should first bathe in the nearby Gokarna theertha, worship Gokarneswara and Chandikadevi, and then worship Vaidyeshwara, and then bath in the northeastern southern and western stretches of the Kaveri and then worship Arkeshwara, Pataleshwara, Maraleshwara, and Mallikarjuna, returning to Vaidyeshwara after each worship, finally worship Kirtinarayana and conclude the pilgrimage in one day.


Curse of Talakadu

This sandy terrain, known as the “Curse of Talakadu,” is said to be the result of a curse pronounced by Alamelamma, a queen who ruled the area during the 17th century. According to the legend, the queen cursed the town of Malingi, turning it into a barren wasteland of sand due to a series of tragic events involving her family and the local ruler. 

Her curse was as follows 

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  • May Talakadu become desert land,
  • May town Malangi become a whirlpool,
  • May Mysore Kings bear no heirs!

Because of the curse, the old city Talkadu is completely buried beneath the sand stretching for nearly a mile in length, only the tops of two gopurams being visible. The sand hills advance towards the town at the rate of 9 or 10 feet a year, principally during the southwest monsoon and as they pressed it close on three sides. The inhabitants of Talkadu were constantly forced to abandon their houses and retreat further inland. This was how excessive sand has buried more than 30 temples in the vicinity. 


Auspicious month to visit the temples of Talakadu

Talakadu is also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, particularly during the Karthika Maasa, a month-long festival that falls between November and December. During this time, devotees flock to the town to take a dip in the holy waters of the Kaveri River and offer prayers at the temples. The entire town comes alive with rituals, music, and dance performances, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

Talakadu – a haven for nature enthusiasts and tourists

For nature enthusiasts, Talakadu offers ample opportunities to explore the surrounding natural beauty. The Kaveri River, with its gushing waters and lush greenery along the banks, provides a picturesque setting for boating and picnicking. The nearby Shivanasamudra Falls, located about 27 kilometers from Talakadu, is a breathtaking sight to behold. The waterfall cascades down in two majestic segments, creating a mesmerizing spectacle for visitors.

In recent years, Talakadu has witnessed a surge in tourism, attracting visitors from across the country and beyond. The local government has taken initiatives to preserve the town’s cultural heritage and promote sustainable tourism practices. Efforts have been made to protect the dunes and promote eco-friendly activities in the area. Additionally, the local community has played a vital role in preserving the traditions and stories associated with Talakadu, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate its historical and cultural significance.


Talakadu is a must-visit religious place for all spiritualists. For others, it is still a place to visit and admire its “timeless beauty”. Being close to Mysuru city, one can make it as a base and from there visit the following temples in and around Talakadu –  Keshava temple – Somanathpura, Mallikarjuna temple, Keerti Narayana temple, Gunja Narasimha temple, Pathaleshwara temple, Vaidyanatheshwara temple, Maruleshwara temple, Arakeshwara temple.

How to reach Talakadu?

Talakad is a village that can be easily accessible via either Mysuru (45 km) or Bangalore (120 km). Both private, as well as state, owned buses i.e. by KSRTC regularly runs between the cities. However, the roads are not in very good condition and may be worn out and patchy.

One can come to Mysuru and take a taxi from there to reach Talakadu.

What is the best time to visit Talakadu?

The cooler winter months of October to March are the best time to visit Talakadu. Talakad is a small ancient town that experiences sweating hot summers. The weather is quite unpleasant for vacation purposes. Winters, however, are quite pleasant. 

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