At a little distance to the Jiddikere tank (in Balligave village*) on a platform of 3.05 metres height, there is a pillar called The Bherundeshvara Pillar, which is about 9.76 metres high. This pillar, also called Vijayastambha (pillar of victory), was installed by Chavundarayarasa, a general of the later Chalukya emperor Trailokyamalla, in commemoration of a victory, in 1047 C.E. The octagonal pillar at its top had this figure of the fabulous half human-half bird Gandabherunda**.


The abacus with the image had fallen down and the image was shattered into pieces. The Mysore Archaeological Department got a replica of the old image prepared by a sculptor in the third decade of the 20th century. This new image is installed at the base of the pillar. As you can see, Gandabherunda is a mythical animal with human body and two bird heads. Standing in a combative position, it is swallowing human beings through both of its mouths. The right hand is in ‘abhaya’ posture and the left hand holds a human body.


[Information courtesy: Prof. Rajaram Hegde, _Balligave_ Bangalore: Dept. of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, 2010.) All the photos used in this book were shot by me, thanks to Prof. Rajaram Hegde.]



* Balligavi, a town in Shikaripura taluk Shimoga district of Karnataka state, India. (


** Gandaberunda, a two-headed mythological animal, is a sculpture often found in Hindu temples. Usually a Gandaberunda is a two-headed bird. This medieval sculpture, however, portrays it as a two-headed animal with bird head and human body.

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Taken on November 3, 2010