Legends of Talakad

Talakad, the once flourishing capital of the State[350-1000CE] has a lot of amazing tales surrounding it. Here are a couple of astounding stories that we unearthed when we visited this place.

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Naming of the town Talakad:

This desert town filled with mounds of sand has a fascinating tale behind its name. Tala and Kada were two hunters who struck a tree with an axe only to find blood gushing out. The axe had stuck a Shiva Linga and blood was coming out from the wound. On seeing this scene, they fainted. Shiva then appeared before them and told them to prepare a paste from the leaves and roots of the Shalimar tree and apply on the wound. When they did this, the blood stopped seeping and the wound got healed. As Shiva cured himself the Linga got the name Vaidyanatheswara and the town got the name of the hunters Tala and Kadu-Talakad.  Even today the Vaidyanatheswara temple is the main diety of the town and devotees pray to the deity to ward off all diseases. You can see the images of Tala and Kada in front of Veerabhadra Swamy temple of Talakad.

Gajaranya to Talakad:

Skanda Purana mentions this town as Gajaranya. What did this town have to do with Gaja or Elephants? There is a story here too which was narrated to me by a priest of a nearby temple at Talakadu.

Eons ago an ascetic named Somadutta did penance in Kashi to attain Moksha[attain liberation from cycles of rebirths]. Shiva appeared before him but told him to travel further south to the banks of river Kaveri towards the Ashram of an ascetic named Ruchika. There he would attain Moksha. Somadutta along with his disciples thus traveled south. However, misfortune struck them when they reached Vindhya mountains. A herd of elephants attacked and killed all of them. As the last thought of the saint was about elephants he and his disciples were reborn as elephants. The elephants wandered off to a forest near the ashram of Ruchika. However, they were still devotees of Shiva and so their daily ritual was bathing in the river Gokarna, holding water in their trunks and worshipping a tree nearby. It was this very tree that the hunters struck and wounded. It is said that after this incident the ascetic Somadutta too was blessed by Shiva and granted Moksha.

However, there are many variations of this story with some claiming that Shiva had appeared before Somadutta and granted him liberation from rebirths much before the hunters arrived in the town.

The curse of Talakad:

ತಲಕಾಡು ಮರಳಾಗಿ; ಮಾಲಿಂಗಿ ಮಡುವಾಗಿ, ಮೈಸೂರು ದೊರೆಗೆ ಮಕ್ಕಳಾಗದೆ ಹೋಗಲಿ

This is a famous curse of Talakad which translates to – Let Talakad become sand, Malangi become a whirlpool and let Mysore Kings never beget offspring. It is a curse uttered by a lady Alamelamma on the Wodeyar king.

Alamelamma was the wife of Srirangaraya who was appointed as the supervisor of Srirangapatna by Vijayanagara Kings. Srirangaraya, however, died of carbuncle. Raja Wodeyar of Mysore took this opportunity to conquer Srirangapatna. He also sent soldiers behind Alamelamma to get the precious jewels from her. An angry Alamelamma jumped into the river Malangi with her jewels uttering the above curse. As if to make her curse true Talakad has sand, sand everywhere.

However, there is a scientific reason to Talakad being sandy. And to know more about this and to hear more such surprising tales you will have to book a Talakad tour with us.

–Usha

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