Picture1 – Talakadu Sand Dunes
Talakadu is situated 50 Kms from Mysore and was under the rule of Western Gangas, Tamil Cholas in the 11th and 12th centuries, Hoysalas in the 12th century, Vijayanagar empire and Mysore rulers.
Picture2 – Talakadu Sand Dunes
It is amazing to find only this part of the land covered with sand dunes replicating a desert. The sand here is useless as a construction material. Talakadu had 30 ancient temples built by the Ganga kings. Many of the temples are buried in the sand and few of them are excavated.
Picture3 – Pathaleswara Temple
The place is famous for the panchlingas/5 Shiva lingas like Vaidyanatheswara, Arkeshwara, Vasukeshwara or Pathaleshwara, Srikanteshwara or Maraleshwara and Mallikarjuna.
Picture4 – Gokarna Theertha
12 years once a religious event is observed where devotees visit all the five Shiva temples to worship known as the Panchalinga darshana. On this day devotees take bath in the holy tank “Gokarna theertha” and visit all the five Shiva temples and lastly take a dip in the Cauvery River.
Picture5 – Cauvery Backwaters
The most magnificent of the five Shiva temples is Vaidyanatheswara Swamy temple.
Picture – Vaidyanatheswara Swamy temple
The 14th century Vaidyanatheswara temple is built using granite in Dravidian style by the Cholas. The Navaranga/main entrance is beautiful with two huge dwarpalakas/door men standing guard.
Picture6 – Main entrance and door
The door leading to the east is intricately carved and is beautiful.
Picture7 – East door
There is a beautiful chain of granite rings hanging from one edge of the roof on the outside without any joints, which shows the talent and imagination of the sculptors of those days.
Picture8 – The Rings
Lord Ganesh is sculpted riding his vehicle mouse known as Vijaya Ganapathi, this type of depiction is very unique. Shiva’s vehicle Nandi is carved out separately and is placed in the open courtyard.
Picture9 – Vijaya Ganapathi (Ganapathi riding a mouse), Nandi
Srivaishnava saint Ramanujacharya who was the guru of the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana established five Vishnu temples known as Pancha Narayana Kshetrams and the Keerthinarayana temple in Talakadu is one of them.
Picture10 – Keerthinarayana Temple
Archeologists excavated the Keerthinarayana temple and each of the stone was carefully picked and arranged the way it was just behind the original site on a new foundation. It is beautiful and I have seen it through the days of excavation and then shifting to the new site.
Picture11 – Keerthinarayana Temple
The height of Keerthinarayana idol is 8 feet and has a peaceful aura around it.
Picture12 – Lord Keerthinarayana
The place can be explored by walking on the sand dunes and be ready for a high intensity walk as your feet keeps sinking into the fine sand. Children find it fun to roll down from the sand dunes. To reach the river you can either trek or can drive up to the bank. The river is beautiful during rains and small local boats known as “theppa” are used to take visitors on a boat ride for a fee.
Picture13 – Cauvery River
There are guides who will guide you around while narrating the legends of the place. The other interesting places nearby are Shivanasamudra, 30 Km from here and Somnathapura with the beautiful Chennakeshava temple is 20 Km away from here.
Type of Place: Historical
Situated: Mysore District
Distance: 50 Kms from Mysore, 130 Kms from Bangalore, 20 Kms from Malavalli
Transport: Well connected by road, private taxis and buses ply to Talakadu
Facilities: Rest rooms are available; An Udupi Mess a vegetarian restaurant next to Vaidhyanatheswara temple serves food (Ph: (08227) 273633; mob: 9945939928); Talakadu Jaladhama is a resort situated on an island and offers staying options as well as one day trip.