DISTRICT PLUS

A curse changed the river's course

making it clear: R.Gopal, Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, displaying satellite imageries to show the shifting of the Cauvery's course which has led to the accumulation of sand at Talakad. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM

making it clear: R.Gopal, Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, displaying satellite imageries to show the shifting of the Cauvery's course which has led to the accumulation of sand at Talakad. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM  

History is replete with romance and myths, some of which enrich the local folklore and vice versa. And of the many legends surrounding Talakad is the explanation for the sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. The reference is to the “curse of Talakad”.

Talakad is located on the banks of the Cauvery and the origin of the town is lost in antiquity but historians agree that it has a hoary past.

Talakad was under the suzerainty of different rulers and comprised seven townships of which one was Malingi. The popular story is that the Vijayanagar Governor at Srirangapatna, Tirumala Raja, visited Talakad with his wife Alamellamma to get rid of some ailment. Around that time Raja Wadiyar plundered Srirangapatna and coveted the jewels of Alamelamma and tried to take them away by force by sending an army to Talakad.

By another reckoning, the jewels belonged to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple and Alamelamma being a staunch devotee of Ranganayaki, had custody of the jewels and the temple authorities wanted to be its custodians. Either way, force was sent to Talakad. In a fit of anger Alamellamma threw the ornaments into the Cauvery and shouted a curse “Talakadu maralagali, Malangi madulagali , Mysooru doregalige makkaliladehogali (“Let Talakadu be filled with sands, let Malangi turn into a whirlpool and let the Mysore kings be without children for eternity”). Hence the explanation for sand dunes at Talakad.

R. Gopal, Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Karnataka, said satellite imageries have been used to study the archaeological sites at Talakad.

Images have clearly shown that the construction of a dam across the Cauvery in the 16th century by one Madhava Mantri resulted in the river changing its course over the centuries. The satellite data clearly proves that the river has shifted its course by four to five km in the last 300 to 400 years, resulting in the accumulation of sand. But in the consciousness of the public and the local folklore, it is the curse of Alamelamma on Talakad that continues to hold sway.

R. Krishna Kumar

At Talakad, it's a heady mix of history, romance and myth

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