The lost city of the Gangas - Talakadu


Ever heard of an entire city getting sunk in sand? That could be possible in Rajasthan but this is in southern India in Karnataka. Follow the story of events that happened in the 10th century A.D.

Talakadu or Talkad was known as Dalavanapura and Gajaranya during the reign of the Gangas which covered Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Bangalore and Kolar Districts of Karnataka. The Gangas ruled this area during the 4th to the 10th century a.d. The Gangas were succeeded by the Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara and then Wodeyars.

Talkad is a short drive of 50kms from Mysore. This city has sunk over time and is being excavated by the ASI. The first excavation was started in 1996 and is still continuing to be done. They expect it will take another 30-40 years before they can uncover the entire city. The excavation has to be done entirely by hand because the ASI has no documentation of the extent of the city or how it was built.

Photo of The lost city of the Gangas - Talakadu 1/4 by Kamalakar Venigalla
Kirtinarayana Temple, Talkad

There are many stories surrounding the sinking of Talkad. I share here two of the most popular stories.

According to the ASI there was a severe famine in southern India during the middle of the 17th century. This led to the nearby cauvery river drying up and the sand from the river getting transported all over the talkad region and eventually sinking the town when the people living there started leaving the place. You would usually find sand dunes only in the desert but unusually you find the same in the small sleepy town of talkad too.

According to legend the story goes like this. The reigning king Tirumalaraja in 1610 had become sick and went to talkad to recover leaving the kingdom with his wife Alamelamma. When his health deteriorated over time , the queen decided to visit him as she was informed of his impending death. She left the kingdom in the hands of her minister Raja Wodeyar and left to be with the king. Raja Wodeyar had been eyeing the kingdom and the queen's jewels. Seeing the opportunity he sent an army to kill the queen and recover the jewels. The queen upon hearing this, cursed the kingdom and the king in three ways. 1. May the city of talkad sink into the sand. 2. The future kings all shall marry a barren woman. 3. There will be no heir born to the royal family. All the three have actually taken place hence it looks like this is more believable than the sands from the river cauvery covering up the city. The kings after that have never had their own children. The children were all adopted until recently in 2017 when the queen had a child of her own after so many years.

There are about 4 temples excavated from this site. The most popular and biggest of them is the Kirtinarayana temple which was removed stone by stone and rebuilt recently.

Photo of The lost city of the Gangas - Talakadu 2/4 by Kamalakar Venigalla
Kirtinarayana Temple

Recently ASI has uncovered a mahadwara mandapa which was under a big sand dune.

Photo of The lost city of the Gangas - Talakadu 3/4 by Kamalakar Venigalla
Mahadwara at Kirtinarayana Temple

Take a short walk from this temple to the cauvery river and take a holy dip or play around with your family in the cool waters. You can also hire a parisal or coracle(shown in pic below) for a small ride up the cauvery river.

Photo of The lost city of the Gangas - Talakadu 4/4 by Kamalakar Venigalla
The majestic Cauvery River

If you are visiting Mysore or Bangalore, take a little time to visit this place which is a memorial of the time gone by and the great history which is ours to remember and tell the future generations.