Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mystery of the sands

For a really unique mix of history, mystery, archaeology and a lovely dose of nature, you can do no better than head to Talakad (variously spelt as Talakkad, Talkad and Talakadu).

Talakad is an ancient town, dating back to at least 2000 years ago, judging by megalithic remains found here. In the early 1600s, Alamelamma, wife of the defeated Vijayanagar viceroy jumped into the river Cauvery here, but not before famously cursing the Mysore Wodeyar dynasty and the town of Talakad itself. You can see a documentary made by Sashi Sivramkrishna about the curse here. Of course, what is really intriguing about the story of the curse is how it seems to have come true. Many Wodeyar kings have indeed not borne male heirs and have had to adopt to continue their line; and the town of Talakad has indeed been deluged by sand.

So what does the scientific community have to say about this remarkable coincidence? Check out my article in today's Deccan Herald about this. I had a good time researching this article, including an enjoyable talk with MB Rajani, a postdoc at NIAS.

Today, most people know of Talakad either as a place of pilgrimage, for the Panchalinga darshana that is held here (to be held next week), or as a picnic spot, to frolic in the sun and sands along the Cauvery. But the next time you visit there, take time to go off the beaten track to see signs of the city (or cities?) that lies buried beneath the sand under your feet. Trust me, you can see them...


Arul Jegadish said...

Nice article Meera!

Meera said...

Thanks, Arul! BTW, the Santhome pics are also for an article, as you might have guessed. It's still in the pipeline right now. But its not for DH.