Cow feeding an anthill

Figure of a two-headed cow feeding a shivalinga – a pillar carving at Talakadu, Karnataka (45 Kms from Mysore)

One has heard the story of a cow feeding an anthill several times and in several contexts.This time we heard it from a guide in Talakadu as the legend associated with this town and temple.

The story goes thus: The local chief had a cow which never yielded him any milk after grazing in the forest, eventhough it had a full udder before entering the forest. The chief sent two of his hunter assistants, Tala and Kada to investigate. They found the cow feeding an anthill in the forest. The hunters struck a blow on the anthill with an axe. The shivalingam which was inside split into 5 lingams and Lord shiva emerged with a bleeding cut on his body. The bewildered hunters pleaded to the Lord to forgive them. Shiv pardoned them and ordered them to bring some herbs from nearby plants and healed himself. Since he healed himself, the Lord here is known as Vaidyanatheswara. The other four temples nearby are called, Pathaleswara, Maruleswara , Arkeswara and Mallikarjuna. Devotees worship the panchalingas on specific days.

Another legend of Talakadu revolves round a curse of a noble lady. That story can wait for another day.

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