Talkad, a historical temple town is located in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka about 180 km from Bangalore and 45 km from Mysore. A major portion of this place is covered by sand dunes with numerous temples buried under the sand and some excavated from beneath it.
The name Talkad is said to have been derived from two woodcutters called Tala and Kadu, who while cutting wood in the forest, found blood oozing out from one of the trees that they had tried to cut. Tala and Kadu while praying to Lord Shiva applied the leaves of that tree to the wound and the bleeding stopped. This incident led to Shiva being worshipped as Vaidyanatha, the lord of doctors and the temple in Talkad came to be known as Vaidyanatheswara Temple.
Legend has it that Talkad got covered by sand due to a curse by one Alamelamma, wife of the local chieftain, and an ardent devotee of Sri Ranganayaki, the consort of Lord Sriranganathan of Srirangapatna. Alamelamma used to send a box of precious ornaments to be adorned on the deity during the yearly festival in Srirangapatna. Once the Maharaja of Mysore enamoured by the beauty of the jewellery decided to confiscate the jewellery.
A heartbroken Alamelamma, unable to part with the Goddesss jewels, tied it to her body and uttering a curse jumped into the river Cauvery at a place called Malangi. To this day it is believed that Talkad being covered in sand, the whirlpool at Malangi and the Kings of Mysore not having any heirs to their throne is because of this curse.
Lot of temples in Talkad have been unearthed from below the sand dunes. Among them the significant temples are the five Shiva temples and the Vishnu Temple established by Sri Ramanujacharya. The Keertinarayana Temple which was recently excavated has an eight foot tall idol of Keertinarayana. Pancha linga Darshan here is a very auspicious way of worshipping Shiva.
An ideal time to visit Talkad is between September to February. Talkad can be best reached via road from Bangalore. The nearest railway station is 45 km away in Mysore and the closest airport is in Bangalore.