Digital Dimdima
-By Jayanthi Mahalingam
The Kaveri in Mythology
The Kaveri in Kodagu
Meet the Kodavas
The first Tributary
The Kaveri Enters Mysore
An Ancient Dam
Visweswaraya's Dream
A Dream Fulfilled
Mysore's Guardian Angel
In Tipu's Domain
The Great Temples
The Shifting Sands
Sand Covered Temples
Shivasamudram
The Goat's Leap
The Kaveri in Tamil Nadu
The Last Island
An Outpouring of Music
The Temple Trail
Journey's End

 

Sand Covered Temples

It is believed that at Talakadu there are thirty temples submerged in the sea of sand. The temples which are still visible above ground are the Pataleshwara and Maruleshwara(built by the Gangas), the Keertinarayana (Hoysalas) and the Vaidyeshwara (Cholas). Puja is still conducted in these temples, especially during the Panchalingadarshana festival which takes place every 12 years in November-December. This is the only time that Talakadu is visited by thousands of people.
The Pataleshwara and Maruleshwara temples are the oldest. The shivalingam installed in the former is said to change colour from red in the morning to black in the afternoon to white in the evening.
The Keertinarayana temple has a 3-m-tall idol of Vishnu, which is still in worship.
The largest and most ornate temple in Talakadu is dedicated to Shiva as Vaidyeshwara or the Lord of Healing. Though the temple seems to have been built in the 14th century, a puranic legend suggests an earlier date. According to the story, a sage named Somadatta and his disciples, while doing penance on the banks of the Kaveri to propitiate Shiva, were killed by wild elephants before they could complete their spiritual quest. They were reborn as elephants in the same forest. To help them, Shiva took the form of a lingam buried beneath a silk cotton tree. The elephants would bathe in the Kaveri and offer lotuses at the foot of the tree every morning.
This ritual was observed by two hunters named Tala and Kada. Curious, they tried to cut the tree down, but at the first blow of the axe, the tree began to bleed. A voice instructed them to dress the wound with the leaves and fruits of the same tree. When the hunters obeyed, the blood turned to milk, which they and the elephants drank and became immortal. Later, a temple was built around the shivalingam and the place came to be called Talakadu after the hunters!
Though the forest department has planted trees to prevent the desert from advancing, it is still encroaching at the rate of 3 m a year. The source of the sand is the Kaveri itself. All the silt and sand deposited in the river bed and on the banks during the dry summer months are blown on to the city by the winds of the south-west monsoon. The river may also have changed its course many times in the past, leaving the sand behind. Whatever may be the reason, the curse or nature's course, Talakadu is today a rarely-visited, almost forgotten city.


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