22, September 1914 was the day when SMS Emden, the German bomber ship sneaked near Madras Harbour’s calm sea. Karl von Müller the commander of the ship ordered to bombard everything in front of its line. As a result of a series of bombings, it destroyed some oil containers belonging to Burmah Oil Company. It didn’t stop there and started involving in the relentless shooting ( fancy shooting ) shelling out 125 bullets approximately which killed 3 and injured around 13 according to reports. The surprising thing is, the ship was anchored for solid ten minutes in-spite of the strong presence of Royal Navy ships. Once it had completed its so called mission, Emden rushed out of harbour. It had escaped the Royal Navy and started its journey to south unscathed. But the damage was done and everyone in Madras started panicking, leaving the place in the coming days.
Later in November 1914, Emden was sinked by HMAS Sydney by a series of fighting near Cocos Islands.
In the thirties and forties the word ‘Emden’ was a metaphor (in Madras) for someone thought to be super-clever and go-getter. “Avan periya Emden-da”(is he the Big Emden ? ) was the expression heard in Madras lot of times.
Here are some of the offbeat places to visit around Mysore which has the blend of both culture and history of Mysore and its rise as the cultural capital of South India.
Take a tour to Mysore Silk Factory
Silk factory in Mysore is the place where we get the exquisite Mysore Silk saree. Factory allows the visitors in the working hours to know about the different stages of the silk production right from the extracting the fibre to dying the sarees. When I went inside the factory I was overwhelmed by the warmness of the people working in different departments answering my every curious question about silk and how it is made. One guy even showed me the most expensive saree made with gold jariga (group of threads for decoration). Historically this weaving factoring was owned by the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and their wardrobe were filled with the clothes weaved here. After independence, they donated the loom to the Government for making silk sarees to people across the country.
Visit Somanathapura – Poor cousin of Belur – Halebidu
Somanathapura often ignored for more touristy Belur-Halebidu is a little quaint village located 35 Km from Mysore, named after Soma who was then the Commander of Hoysala Kingdom. He wanted to build a Hoysala style temple in this village which lies on the bank of river Cauvery. Under the guidance of the King Narasimha III, he collected taxes and built the ChennaKesava Temple around 12th century. This temple symbolises the Hoysala architecture, built on stellar shaped raised platform decorated with intricate carvings of Hindu mythological stories. The temple has three sanctums built for various legends of Lord Vishnu.
Visit Talakad – A beautiful place with a curse
Talakad alias is another village on the banks of Cauvery river located at around 40 Km from Mysore.
While visiting Talakad one can listen to a number of interesting stories both historically and mythologically. One such interesting story is the curse of Rani Alamelamma, who was chased by the army of Raja Wodeyar for getting her jewels which she used to lend Srirangapatna temple on festive occasions. She uttered three curses and threw herself alongside the jewels into the cauvery river. The three curses were
– Talakad village is to be submerged by sand .
– The place where she drowned become a whirlpool.
– Mysore Kings will fail to beget their heirs.
This story is believed widely because all the three curses seems to exists even today although geologists contradicts the first two curses. The famous Five Shiva temples are submerged under sand and are excavated by archaeologists time to time. They are also working on excavating other temples under the sand, believed to be built during the period of Ganga Kingdom around 8-10th century.