February 21, 2010

A 14th century temple buried in the sand - Vaidyanatheswara Temple, Talakad, Near Mysore, India

Talakad aka Talakadu, a small town near Mysore city of Karnataka state in India is famous for Cauvery river, ancient temples buried in the sand, and Panchalinga Darshan. To know more about Talakad town, visit my post on Talakad.

Talakad has three temples of Lord Shiva and one temple for Lord Vishnu. The main temple of the town is Vaidyanatheswara temple aka Vaideeshwareswar temple. (Vaidyanatheswara is a name for Lord Shiva). As per a legend, an ascetic Somadatta along with his disciples were killed by wild elephants on their way to worship Shiva at Talakad. They were reborn as wild elephants and worshipped Shiva in the form of a tree. Two hunters named Tala and Kada struck the tree with an axe and found blood coming out of the tree. Upon hearing the heavenly voice, they dressed the tree's wound with leaves and fruits. Thus the hunters healed the tree and became immortal. Since Lord Shiva healed himself through this incident, the idol of main temple in this town is named as Vaidyanatheswara. (For those who do not know, the word "Vaidya" means "healer" or modern day's "doctor".)

The main temple of Talakad, Vaidyanatheswara temple was built in granite in Dravidian style during 14th century CE by the Chola kings. The main entrance aka Navaranga is very attractive with two huge Dwarapala idols. The entrance toward east side of the main shrine is intricately carved. There is a beautiful chain of granite rings hanging from one edge of the roof on the outside without any joints, which shows the talent and imagination of the sculptors of those days. The temple has not only the religious importance, but it is architecturally beautiful too.

The main shrine has a huge Shiv linga and Shiva's face behind the linga. There are idols of Parvati, Vishnu, Alamelumanga, Shivlinga with multiple rudraksha, Kalikambal and Ganesha around the main shrine. The prakara, the big corridor surrounding the temple has a lot of shrines with Shiv lingas in various names. It also has the shrines of Shanmukha, Vinayak, Pancha lingams, Chamundeswari, Chandikeswara and Manonmani. Manonmani is the main goddess of the temple. There is a small shrine where the idol of big Nandi is placed on top of the shrine.

There are buses to Talakad from Mysore city. The best way to travel is either by car or taxi from Mysore. For hotels and good restaurants, you need to go to Mysore city.

Overall, you will get a spiritual as well as historic experience when you visit Vaidyanatheswara temple of Talakad town.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Vaidyanatheswar Temple aka Vaidheeswareshwar Temple
Site Type: Architecture, Temple
Location: Talakad or Talakadu town, 50 kms from Mysore, Karnataka state, India
Highlight: An architecturally beautiful 14th century temple by Cholas buried in sand
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Local Transport: Easily reachable from Mysore; It is better to travel by car or taxi rather than depending on public transport
Hotel: It is best to stay at Mysore (50 kms from here)
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available only at Mysore

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