On one of the pillars to the north (right) of the Nandi in the pillared hall, you will come across the sculpture of Gandabherunda: a two-headed bird with human hands and torso, and legs with talons. According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu took this form to subdue Sharabha, a wrathful lion+human+bird form of Lord Shiva.

The Gandabherunda here is rendered rather like a heraldic emblem. He tramples on two elephants.

He grabs two more by the trunk and has two more in his beaks.

His wings are spread like a striped sheet behind him, which lends unity to the composition.

The image of this hybrid animal has been very popular in sculpture and craft in Karnataka from the 11th century onwards. Vijayanagara kings minted coins with the Gandabherunda on the obverse. It was adopted as a royal insignia of many dynasties, including the Wadiyars of Mysuru.


Double headed eagle in anthropomorphic form