Devotees will converge on the temple town of Talakad, which is partially submerged in sand dunes, in T. Narsipur taluk, for the Panchalinga Darshana Mahotsava starting Thursday.

While the actual event is slated for Monday, the build-up to it will commence on Thursday with a slew of religious and cultural events. Panchalinga Darshana entails a visit to the five major Shiva temples located in the region on a single day.

The deities that are worshipped are Vaidyeshwara, Maruleshwara, Pathaleshwara, Arakeshwara and Mallikarjuneshwara.

Though pilgrims to T. Narsipur and Talakad visit the temples and get a darshan of the main deities regularly, there is special significance to the visit when the mahtosava takes place during a specific alignment of the stars according to the Hindu almanac once in a few years. The last Panchalinga Darshana was held in 2009. The event was held earlier in 1911, 1924, 1938, 1952, 1965, 1979, 1986 and 1993 and 2006.

The pilgrims visit the Vaidyeshwara temple and follow it up with a trek on the sand dunes to visit Pathaleshwara and Maruleshwara. The Arakeshwara and Mallikarjuneshwara temples are located on the outskirts of Talakad and can only be covered using a vehicle.

The district administration has working overtime to put the facilities in place for pilgrims, including drinking water, with nearly 200 water taps, temporary toilets, safety measures at the bathing ghats on the banks of the Cauvery, and temporary medical centres to cater to any emergency. The authorities have roped in expert swimmers and divers to handle any crisis while Fire and Emergency Services personnel will also be at hand.

In all, about 19 temples in and around Talakad have been spruced up and minor repairs undertaken while de-silting of the kalyanis has been taken up.

The mahotsava will conclude on December 7.