Looking back at Talakad's past

Looking back at Talakad's past

For many, especially the pious, Panchalinga Darshana is the only time that takes them to Talakad, in T Narsipura, Mysore district. Apart from its religious significance, what makes the place a must-visit is the first-ever dam to be constructed, Madhava Mantri Katte (dam), located nearby, and the equally intriguing tidbits from the past, concerning Talakad. Especially the famous curse of Talakad, related to the Wadiyars, the erstwhile rulers of Mysore.

The famous curse goes back to the period of reign of Wadiyars between 16th and 17th centuries. Raja Wadiyar was the feudatory king (1578 to 1617) of Mysore and Thirumala Raya (Raja) was his counterpart at Srirangapatna, then under the reign of Vijayanagar empire. 

 Historian Prof P V Nanjaraja Urs, in his recent work Alamelammana Shaapa: Ondu shava pareekshe (The curse of Alamelamma: A post-mortem), has reproduced the content of findings of B L Rice (B Lewis Rice), the then director of the archaeological researches in Mysore. 

Rice says, “When Thirumala Raja, sometimes called Sri Ranga Raya, the representative of the Vijayanagar family at Seringapatnam (Srirangapatna), being afflicted with an incurable disease, came to Talakad to offer sacrifices in the temple of Vedeswara (Vaidyeshwara), his wife Rangamma was left in charge of the government of Seringapatnam. However, Rangamma, on hearing that her husband was on the verge of death, left for Talakad to see him, handing over Seringapatnam and its dependences to Raja Wadiyar of Mysore.

It appears that Raja Wadiyar, who had been desirous of possessing a costly nose-jewel which was the property of Sri Ranga Raya, and eager to acquire fresh territory, marched to Talakad with an army and acquired it. An angry Rani Rangamma thereupon went to the banks of River Cauvery, threw in the nose-jewel and drowned herself opposite Malangi, uttering the curse — ‘Let Talakad become sand; let Malangi become a whirlpool; let the Mysore rajas fail to beget heirs’.”

Since then, the Wadiyars of Mysore have been worshipping Alamelamma during Navaratri to get rid of the curse. The puja, called Amaladevatha (Alamelamma) puja, was started by Raja Wadiyar. According to the gazetteer of Mysore, Madhava Mantri is believed to have built the dam across River Cauvery near Talakad during 1341-42, making it the first of its kind. 

He was the governor of Vijayanagar kingdom (referred to as Madhava Dandanayaka from Haradanahalli in the records), posted around Talakad. The dam was named after him to mark his contribution. Not just that, he also renovated the Vaidyanatheshwara Temple in Talakad, one among the pancha lingas after Maruleshwara, Pathaleshwara, Arkeshwara and Mallikarjuna Swamy (Mudukuthore) worshipped during Panchalinga Darshana.

Mysore was long under the rule of Gangas, from fourth to 10th century. Being a part of Gangavadi, Talakad was their capital for some time, though their original capital was Kuvatala (Kolar). Elephant was their emblem. It was in 500 AD that Avinita made it the permanent capital of the Gangas.

In the later years, when Cholas overthrew Gangas, they changed the name of Talakad to Rajaraja Pura, after their king Rajaraja I (985 AD-1016 AD). However, it’s the name Talakad that still remains.

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