We take time away from Tamil Nadu into the delightful jewels of Hoysala land, into the Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebid, for a quick lesson on ear rings. But before embarking on the lesson let us pray respects to him guarded by his ever faithful door guardians.
Being used to hefty rock cut Pallava relief carved door guardians and the slightly more demure early Chola ones, the Hoysala ones must have had a better pay package ! Either the state paid for their Uniforms or their emoluments must have been simply awesome to afford such finery. But we must compliment them on their fashion and dressing sense.
Coming back to the topic, we have already seen the mismatched earrings of Shiva, here too we see his door guardian with a set of mismatched earrings.
On his left ear he had an exquisitely crafted Makara Kundala. Thanks to Sri Umapathy Acharya we now understand the Makara
But what interesting me was what he wore on his right ear. For the uninitiated - ear ornaments are generally called Kundalas.
Refering to Sri Gopinath Rao’s Elements of Hindu Iconography, he lists 5 different kinds of Kundalas. Patra kundala ( early palm leaf style - later replaced by gold leaf), the nakarakundala (same as the makarakundala), the Shankapatra Kundala ( a conch shell cut in profile to form a kind of spiral), a Ratna Kundala and a Sarpa Kundla.
The Sarpa Kundala is what interests us now. Normally the Sarpa or snake is a cobra as seen from the Garuda in Belur.
But what was interesting in this door guardian was the detailing of the multi hooded snake.
The work was so finely executed that you almost feel as if the central serpent has got a smile on his face.
Just on the topic of the intricacy of the carving, wanted to show you a piece of the ` head’ gear.
The Skulls have been carved hollow on the inside, considering the size and margin for error, cannot but salute these master craftsmen.