Nobody knows for sure why Talakad was engulfed by mountains of sand in the cataclysm that took place in the early 1600s, though by far the most captivating explanation is the story of the notorious Talakad Curse, which was said to have been issued by a desperate queen called Alamelamma before throwing herself into the swirling waters of the Cauvery River.
Alamelamma was the wife of Rangayara, the viceroy of the Vijayanagara Empire who ruled Talakad from his seat at the nearby town of Srirangapatna. After the Raja Wodeyar of Mysore defeated Rangayara in battle, the Raja claimed that Alamelamma still kept with her some extremely precious jewels that rightfully belonged to the temple at Srirangapatna and sent soldiers to recover them.
Upon hearing news of this, Alamelamma fled to Talakad and after screaming out an angry three-in-one curse jumped into the river near a small village called Malingi:
Let Talakad become a land of sand
Let the river at Malingi turn into a whirlpool
Let there be no sires to the Mysore kings
By a strange twist of fate, Talakad was indeed subsequently deluged by a torrent of sand that almost completely buried the city – though whether or not this was triggered by Alamelamma’s bitter words is of course open to question.
In recent years, serious scholars have started to examine why this cataclysm happened, with some arguing that the deluge of sand was due to a major ecological disaster caused by a dam on the Cauvery River and others positing that it could have occurred as a result of an active geological fault.
Perhaps the latest archeological research being carried out on the site using remote sensing technology will finally reveal the real reason for disaster at Talakad. But one’s thing’s for sure: it certainly won’t be anything like as interesting as the mystery surrounding the Talakad Curse.