Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Excursion To Talakad and Shivansamudram

View Talakad, Shivanasamudra in a larger map

I was coaxing my friends to make a trip to Navadarshanam but they were all busy this weekend. I did not want to spend the weekend just eating and sleeping around at home. Sulekha called up to check on me in the morning and was teasing me "Woman on wheels". Yes I love traveling that much!

We set out on the Nece road at 8 am. Driving towards Mysore our destination today Talakad. It is a beautiful drive through lush fields and swaying palms on both the sides. We stopped at Ramnagar for breakfast. Then proceeded to Maddur. Then took a left as we looked at the list of tourist places on the board which said Talakad 56 km. We also figured there was MM hills, BR hills, Shivanasamudram, Shimsa etc. nearby.

The road was good in most parts after Maddur except for the 4-5 kms nearing Talakad. It was really bad mud road.

It took us almost 3.5 hrs to reach there. It was a nice sandy and wooded area. The sun was high in the sky and it was impossible to walk without shoes. The locals advised us to keep them on. The legend of Talakad says that a curse had caused the town and 30 temples to be submerged under sand. Today these sand dunes are protected from being washed out by the aforestration. It is dense green and one can walk around the excavation site and the panchalinga temples. The temple are excavated from the sand and rivets are build to hold back the sand from submerging the temples under the sand again. There are 5 temples. Read the stories about Talakad here.

The Vaidyeshwara temple is the most ornate one here and is in good shape. As is the tradition in the south there are no electrical lights in the sanctorium. There is just darkness and you are lucky if you get a glimpse of the lingam. The temple of Chamundeshwari is the only one where there is enough light to see the goddess.

Vaidyeshwara temple

There is an excavation still going on here and it is a complete memorable experience to see how the various parts are recovered from the earth. We got to watch the gentleness with which this activity is carried out. The use of a water drip makes it easy to ply in the soil. The pieces of history lying around transport you into a time bygone.

Excavation at Talakad

I went clickety click click...

After doing all the darshans we were hungry and we were told to drive 2 kms to the bank of Kaveri river. We had a yelle oota, home style food on banana leaves.

Post lunch we went for a walk on the river side and watched people taking a ride in round basket boats called coracles. Since these coracles needed to be shared by people and we had just had our lunch too we were better off not doing it. I have enjoyed coracle rides before so we preferred to stand by and watch.

On the bank of Kaveri at Talakad

Later we were on our way back when our driver suggested we go to Shivansamudram. It is the first Hydroelectric power station in Asia built in 1902. As we drove to the peak the sound of the water was welcoming when you least expect anything. Going to the gallery on the edge of the hills and looking down on the Gaganchukki falls is exhilarating!

The twin falls were gushing down the lush green hills. The water sprayed in the air to form a mist thus causing a rainbow at the base of the falls. I caught it on camera!

We had left Bangalore at 8 am and were back by 7 pm. We loved the entire drive through the lushness of the palms and fields. On the whole a good excursion though I was let down by my expectation of beautiful architecture of the Talakad temples (my point of references were Hampi and Belur) but the greenery compensated for it. The view of the falls from Shivansamudram is what I will remember the most of this trip.

Thanks Shrinidhi for suggesting Talakad to us.

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