On the way to Talakad at Malavalli lake
Yesterday I went for the longest ride on a two wheeler driving myself. In all four of us went to Talakad. Official sources show Talakad is 130 km from Bangalore but I feel it was longer. May be because of the long driving on winding roads of country side. I started around 7 am in the morning and by the times we left Mysore road it was over 8.30 am. I suggest you leave Bangalore by 7 am, this will give you more time to spend and explore there. A little stretch between Mysore road flyover end and Vijaynagar road junction is bad and traffic infested most of the times. After Rajarajeshwari Nagar road is very good and you one can have a nice ride.
We reached Ramnagaram by 10 am and halted for breakfast at a Darshini hotel. Then rode till Muddur and took a left turn for Malavalli. The rugged country side of this region has a mystique feel. It took us over 4 hours to reach Talakad at around 1 pm.
Things to see: The panchalinga temples, Cauvery river, country side and various other temples if you have time.
Around a month ago the Panchalinga darshan festival took place. So a face lift has been given to the temples and new infrastructures created. We went there at a good time and were able to see all the five temples. I was told three of them are open through out the year. But the two which are located in the sand dunes gets inundated with sand over the years. These two temples open once in every 12 years. Talakad used to the capital of Ganga dynasty and is very rich in history.
Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara and Vaidyanatheshwara temples is located at short distance of each other. They are located on that part of Talakad which are covered with sand dunes. These are Lord Shiva with different names. Vaidyanatheshwara temple is the first temple you will see and is located right near the entrance. You can park your vehicle besides the entrance. There is no fee for parking or keeping shoes. This temple has a very nice architecture slightly similar to the Hoysala models. There is huge Nandi on the northern side of the temple premises. From here your walk on sand trails will start but no worries it will be in shade. As tin roof as been made throughout the walkway. It is indeed strange how come such huge amount of sand came here in the middle of fertile cauvery basin. Though it is attributed to the curse of Alamelamma, a local myth. The first temple on the sand dunes is Pathaleshwara. One has to climb down around 3 meters to reach the base of the temple. Next is Maruleshwara temple. Here the base of the temple was covered with atleast few inches of sand. This two temples were small and primitive in nature. We continued our walk and on the way we saw another temple in a valley. The route brings you to the same entrance, which we entered earlier.
Our next stop was river Cauvery. From here take first right and then again first right to reach there. You will be able to see a green board with the direction. The atmosphere there was like a fair. With shops selling crafts, key chains etc. There are also few hotels where one can have food. We quickly proceeded to the bank of river Cauvery. I was totally amazed by what I saw. The bank almost resembled a sea beach. One can easily play in the water as there is atleast 2 – 3 meters of shallow of water from the bank. On the other side of the bank there seemed to be some current. You can try coracle ride on the river. I do not suggest you to go swimming as there may be whirlpool. On the way back we had egg fried rice and Katla fish fry. I have nothing much to say about the egg fried rice but the deep fried fish was awesome. One plate consist of two piece and cost Rs 40.
After food we proceeded to Mallikarjuna swamy temple located on top of a hill. One has to take left (if you are coming towards Talakad) to reach there from circle of Talakad village. You can either climb the step to reach the temple a top or you can take the road on the right hand side to reach till the middle of the hill. Here you can park you vehicle (no parking fee). However, you may have to shell Rs 2 for every pair of shoe if you keep your shoes with the shoe keeper there. From here you will have to climb little over 100 steps to reach Mallikarjuna temple on the top. From this hill one can get an astounding few of the surroundings including the Cauvery river, paddy fields and rugged hills.
View from top of Mallikarjuna swamy temple
Till then we are done with 4 temples of the Panchalinga (5 linga) temples. So we inquired about the 5th temple (Arkareshwara temple). We were told to reach there we have to take the left hand side road at the base of Mallikarjuna Swamy temple hill and the distance was supposed to be 6 km from there. But as we started to go through the inner country side and villages, we discovered it was atleast 10 km. Road condition is not good many places, however new road laying is going on. I suggest you to inquire locals for directions frequently. At last we found the temple in the middle of open space. As it was almost 4.30 pm, we hurriedly prayed and left. We were told from here there is a direct to route to Malavalli via Belakavadi village. We wanted to be on Bangalore – Mysore highway before dusk. Glad we have managed to reach there by dusk. We halted at Muddur CCD (cafe coffee day). It is on left hand side if you are coming from Mysore. It is a very nice place to refresh on long drives on this route. It is a self service outlet.
After giving rest to the vehicles and us, we headed back for Bangalore by 8 pm. We reached Bangalore by 10 pm.
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