Talakadu, (talakADu) (ತಲಕಾಡು) which is usually considered to be a tourist destination and a picnic spot is much more than that. It has a significance related to history, archaeology and sculpture which dates back to centuries. This small village in Tirumakudalu Narasipura taluk of Mysore district, located at a distance of about 130 kilometers from Bangalore was ruled by the premier dynasties of Karnataka such as the Gangas, Hoysalas and the kings of Vijayanagara as also the Cholas who hailed from Tamilnad. It rests on the banks of the river Kaveri.

According to Mythology, Talakadu derives its name from two demons talA and kADa who inhabited this place. Probably, the derivation tala (Head, leading) kADu (Forest) is more appropriate. This place was known as Talavanapura during the regime of the Ganga dynasty. There is another legend related to the curse of the wife of Srirangaraya the representative of the Vijayanagara king at Srirangapattana which explains the sand dunes of Talakadu. Talakadu is one of the very few sites in India , where remote sensing technology is being used for archaeological research. This project is undertaken by the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the archaeologists of Karnataka. This is a pioneering attempt to make use of satellite-based information for excavations at Talakad. The ISRO scientists are believed to have told the State archaeologists about a big structure buried about 175 to 200 meters north-east of Kirti Narayana Temple . This work is expected to corroborate the earlier surmises that Talakadu was an inhabitation of human beings even during the pre Christian era.

Talakadu was the capital of the Ganga dynasty as early as the fourth century A.D. The capital was shifted to this place from Kolar.(kOLAlapura) Harivarma the third king in the dynasty was ruling from this place according to inscriptional evidence. (This is disputed by Prof. S. Settar the eminent historian and archaeologist) They ruled from this base for almost six centuries until it was appropriated by the Cholas from Rachamalla (974-999 A.D.). Cholas renamed Talavanapura as Rajarajapura and ruled it for about one hundred years. Talakadu came under Hoysala rule in 1116 A.D. and they contributed hugely to the glory of this place. It had seven suburbs and five religious mutts during that period. The dam built across the Kaveri by Madhava Mantri who belonged to this place was indirectly responsible for the relative oblivion of this place because the sand particles accumulated over a period of time covered the city and its surroundings.

Even though Talakadu was ruled by important dynasties of Karnataka not much of architectural and sculptural significance has survived from those times. Recent excavations have uncovered a few temples hidden under the sand dunes. Some of them are well preserved and contain ponds also. Some relics of the Ganga architecture are to be found in Arkeshvara, Pataleshvara and Maraleshvara temples. Vaikuntanarayana temple and Rajarajeshvara temple built during the Chola regime have fallen to the vagaries of time.

Keerhinarayana temple built by Vishnuvardhana the Hoysala monarch in 1171 A.D., the Vaidyeshvara shrine rebuilt by Madhavamantri in the mid fourteenth century and the Gaurishnakara are the important temples that are to be seen now. There are tangible evidences to conclude that Talakadu harbored Jaina temples as early as the tenth century. A statue of Jina with an inscription stands in a near by field.

Keerthinarayana temple was built to commemorate the victory of Vishnuvardhana over the Cholas. This is a Vaishnava shrine built of black granite and bricks. This is a good example of Hoysala architecture. It contains a Garbha gudi, a navaranga and a sukanasi standing on an elevated platform. The pillars are star shaped, circular or octagonal. The icon of the presiding deity stands ten feet tall. The statues of the Sri Vaishnava saints and the icon of Lakshmi in the Navaranga belong to the Vijayanagara period.

Vaidyeshvara temple manifests a combination of Hoysala and Dravidian architecture. The main temple is surrounded by a huge compound and many small temples are attached to the compound. The ten feet high statues of Dwarapalakas (Door keepers) are among the biggest in Karnataka. This temple is a serious subject of study for iconographists and sculptors. Talakadu holds a few more temples and mutts built during recent centuries.


1. Talakadu - Buried under the sands - The India Travel Forum ...

2. Archaeology Video Lesson: THE CURSE OF TALAKAD (India) - SuTree

3. NIAS - National Institute of Advanced Studies

4. The Curse of Talakad: A Legend in History by Shashi Shivaramakrishna, 2005, Rupa and Co., Bombay .

5. Archaeology of Karnataka by S.Settar, 1978 - Prasaranga, University of Mysore

6. MSK Murthy - Archaeological Excavations at Talakad, 1992-93, 1996 - Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Bangalore .

7. A Complete Guide to Hoysala Temples by Gerard Foekema, 1996, Abhinav Publications.




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