If you thought that you could not enjoy the pleasures and views of a desert staying in Karnataka, think again! Talakadu, in Mysore district, situated on the banks of the Kaveri River is completely filled with sand to a large extent so that a tourist may get confused as to whether one is approaching a river bank or seashore. On entering the area, one can see the neat formation of sand dunes similar to the ones found in a desert. Apart from it, there are also some temples and the river where visitors can spend some nice time with family and friends.
There is no clear scientific explanation to its creation rather there is a curse story of the 16th-century that is quite popular in the area regarding its creation. It says that Talakadu was cursed by a lady called Alamelamma who was the wife of Talakadu's viceroy at that time, Srirangaraya. She was chased by the Wodeyars of Mysore after her husband's death and while saving herself, the lady jumped in the Kaveri River uttering these words, “May Talakadu be always covered with sand, may Malangi turn to a whirlpool and may the kings of Mysore always remain without heirs.” All her curse seems to have worked till date!
Whatever it might be but the place can be an ideal getaway for every tourist looking out for some cool fun with family and friends. Moreover, it is situated only at a distance of 140 km from Bangalore so that it can be planned even in a whisker.
There are some well-known temples in Talakadu that are worth visiting apart from more than about 30 temples that are still buried inside the sand! Among the best-known temples here are the 'Panchalingas' or the five temples that represent the five faces of Lord Shiva. They include the Vaidyeshvara, Pataleshvara, Mallikarjuna, the Arkeshvara, and the Maruleshvara temples. Out of them, the Pataleshvara temple is known for changing its colors from red during the morning to black at noon and white during the evening!
There is usually a buzz during the Panchalinga Darshan festival that happens between every four to fourteen years and takes place during the Hindu Kartika month. The calculation of the same is quite complex and the head priest of the temple is responsible for it.
Apart from the popular Panchalingas, the Gourishankara and the Kirtinarayana temples are also worth visiting due to their superb architecture and delicate style. The Kirtinarayana temple was built way back in 1117 AD and it marks the victory of the Hoysala King of that time, Vishnuvardhana over the Cholas. These temples can offer a good peek of the temple architecture of those times.
For visitors who like to have some time spent in natural waters, one can surely go to the Kaveri River that flows here unhindered. Coracle rides are a specialty of the place and there are many available over here that one can enjoy. Tourists can also see a lot of whirlpools during a journey on these coracles. For people who want to play in the Kaveri waters, there are approved areas for the same where one can usually visit. People can also access changing rooms over here before entering the water. However, the restricted areas of the river should not be visited as they may have considerable whirlpools.
Talakadu has a natural setting like none other and hence it is able to draw a considerable crowd all through the year. People who like to see a desert in Karnataka throng to this place while at the same time the joys of a river can also be enjoyed here. Around Talakadu, one can also visit the Shivanasamudra Falls and Somanathapura which are quite alluring and scenic destinations. Especially during the monsoons, the place becomes abuzz with ample greenery and lush vegetation that can be a treat for anyone!
There are ample staying options in Talakadu in recent times and if someone wants to stay in a resort near to the place, one can go to the Talakadu Jaladhama Resort that offers a nice and comfortable stay along with some fun activities.
All in all, a visit to this 'desert in Karnataka' can be quite memorable as there are a lot of places in around it that can help a person feel rejuvenated while being completely at home.