Thursday, June 25, 2009

Satellite imagery solves a 400-year-old mystery

Satellite imagery solves a 400-year-old mystery

Rohith BR / DNA

Friday, June 5, 2009 1:51 IST

Satellite photos of Talakad, an ancient city located on the banks of the Cauvery, near Mysore, have found several man-made canals which, archaeologists say, lend weight to the famous curse that brought this temple destination down.

According to legend, Talakad was swept away by sand dunes after it was cursed by Alamelamma -- wife of Tirumala II, the defeated king of Srirangapatnam --who killed herself after Mysore king Raja Wodeyar took over in 1610.

Before dying she said Talakad would become sand, Malangi (a nearby village) a whirlpool and the Mysore Rajas will fail to beget heirs, a curse which is still said to be acting on the royal family.

The research, which was conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in collaboration with the state archaeology department, Karnataka, found a well-developed canal system extending a few kilometres from Talakad to Cauvery. "We analysed the site through geospatial maps recorded by a satellite using infrared and radar technology," said MB Rajani, the project head. "A GPS survey was done on the site for more accuracy. By analysingdata and comparing it with historical evidence, we were able to arrive at the findings."

The findings support the 400-year-old curse theory, but experts are unsure how such a well-designed and fertile city, which had an elaborate water supply system, could fall victim to sand dunes. Archaeologists believe the canals are only the tip of the iceberg.
Supporting the NIAS finding is an inscription found at Malingi. "The inscription says land near the temples of Talakad was marshland.

There was no water source in Talakad. The water could have been brought into the city through the canals," an archaeological department official said. Past excavations, he said, have revealed water reservoirs in the temple city.

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