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Talakad ~ temples buried under sand

Talakad (Talkad, Talakadu) knows as Dalavanapura and Gajaranya in sanskrit, was the capital of the Gangas, who ruled present Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Bangalore and Kolar districts from the fourth to tenth centuary A.D. The Gangas were succeeded by the imperial Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara and the Mysore Wodeyars.

It’s unbelievable that the historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. The old city Talakad is completely buried beneath the hills of sand stretching for nearly a mile in length, only the tops of two pagodas being visible. The sand hills used to advance upon the town at the rate of 9 or 10 feet a year, principally during the south-west monsoon and as they pressed it close on three sides.

Stone pillars and majestic carvings in the mandapa of Vydyanatheshwara temple.

The inhabitants of Talakad were constantly forced to abandon their houses and retreat further
inland. The town, however, is increasing in population, owing to the rich wet cultivation in the neighbourhood. More than thirty temples, it is stated, are beneath the sand, but the Kírti Narayana temlpe has been successfully excavated. The most imposing temple left uncovered by the sand is that of Vydyanatheshwara temple.

An interior  view of Vydyanatheshwara temple.

Ornate doorjamb and Dwarapalakas in relief in Vydyanatheshwara temple.

Dwarapalaka (door keeper) at the mantapa at Vaidyeshvara temple

The Kaveri river which flows in Talakad in four direction. The devotees of lord Shiva come here every year on a special day. Among the temples of Talakad, the Pathaleshwara, Maraleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples, the five Lingams believed to represent the five faces of Shiva, form the Pancha pathi and have become famous.In honour of these five Shiva temples, a fair is held once every 12 years called Panchalinga Darshana.

The circular shaped local bamboo boats (coracle) at the banks of the river Kaveri in Talakad. These boats are used by the local villagers to cross the river.

In Talakad the eastward flowing Kaveri river changes course and seems  magnificently vast as here the sand on its banks spreads over a wide area. Now Talakad is a scenic and spiritual pilgrimage center.

Talakadu, Karnataka, India


  1. I traveled across southern India for a month back in 2015, and I knew I barely scratched the surface. It always amazes me to see such beautiful and ornate temples, like Vydyanatheshwara temple. Hope to return one day and explore more.

    • Syam
      Syam says

      Thank you so much for stopping by Bama, It’s really amazing to see the architecture under different dynasties in southern India.

  2. nice articleand beautiful pictures! we had visited Talakadu. The temples are undoubtedly beautiful. And it amazed us how a town so far from the sea has so much of sand!

    • Syam
      Syam says

      True Subhasree, its unbelievable! Thank you so much for stopping by.

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