The Gandaberunda or Berunda (Kannada: ಗಂಡಭೇರುಂಡ gaṇḍabheruṇḍa), or Bheruṇḍa (Sanskrit: भेरुण्ड, lit. terrible) is a two-headed bird in Hindu mythology, believed to possess immense magical strength. Later Vaishnava traditions hold it to be a form of Vishnu to fight Sharabha (Sharabha is a form of Shiva taken to pacify Vishnu's Narasimha avatar).

Left: Gandaberunda as roof sculpture, Rameshwara temple, Keladi. Right: Decorative motif in the ceiling of Brihadeeswarar temple

It was the emblem of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore under the Wodeyar kings, and after India attained independence, it was retained by the Mysore state as its emblem. The aforementioned state was enlarged in 1956 and renamed Karnataka in 1973, and the Gandabherunda continues to be the official state emblem of Karnataka. It is used as the official emblem of the Karnataka state government. It is believed to represent resilience against the forces of destruction. It appears as an intricately carved sculpture motif in Hindu temples.[1]


The bird is generally depicted as clutching elephants in its talons and beaks, demonstrating its immense strength. In a coin [Kasu] found in Madurai, it is shown holding a snake in its beak.[2] All 2-dimensional depictions show a symmetrical image similar to the Double-headed eagle while other images show the long tail feathers resembling a peacock. In the Chennakeshava temple of Belur, Karnataka, Gandaberunda, the two faced bird is carved as a scene of "chain of destruction" result in destruction of Universe.[3] The Gandaberunda was later identified as a secondary form taken by Narasimha, the fourth avatar of Vishnu. It is mentioned by several Hindu scriptures.

Gandaberunda slaying Sharabha and Hiranyakashipu

After Narasimha had slain the asura king Hiranyakashipu, he drank the demon's blood, but his fury did not subside. According to the original iterations of this legend, the asura's son Prahlada was able to pacify the wrath of Narasimha with the recitation of moving prayers, after which the latter returned to Vaikuntha.[4] However, Shaiva traditions made retroactive alterations to this tale, seeking to establish the supremacy of Shiva. The gods, (devas) fearing that Narasimha might destroy the cosmos in his fury, approached the deity Shiva for help. In order to protect creation, Shiva took his Virabhadra form to beseech Narasimha to see reason, but Narasimha ignored this appeal. So, he then took the form of Sharabha or Sharabheswara, a part-lion and part-bird beast. He fought Narasimha in combat, finally subduing him with his claws over the latter's immobile form, after which the deities returned to their abodes. Following this, Vaishnava tradition now created an extension to the legend as well, holding that while Sharabha held Narasimha and began carrying him high in the sky, Narasimha took the form of a two-headed eagle - Gandaberunda - who was even stronger than Sharabha and now with renewed rage. After hot pursuit, when Gandaberunda met Sharabha, a fierce 18-day long battle ensued between them. On the eighteenth day, Gandhaberunda defeated Sharabha, and as a consequence, snapped out of his fury and restored his sense of calm. As a mark of respect to Vishnu, Sharabha removed the skin of his body and presented it to Gandaberunda. Both Vishnu and Shiva then returned to their abodes.


A sculpture depicting a Gandaberunda is found on the roof of the Rameshwara temple in the temple town of Keladi in Shimoga District, the capital of the Keladi Nayakas. The Gandaberunda was also used by the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore as the Royal emblem. The Karnataka Government adopted this symbol as the state symbol and can be found on bus terminals and tickets issued by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. Coins(Gold pagoda or gadyana) from the rule of Achyuta Deva Raya are thought to be the first to use the Gandaberunda on currency.[5] The crest of the Indian navy ship INS Mysore (D60) features a Gandaberunda.

In mediaEdit

Ganda Berunda is a Kannada film directed by S. V. Rajendrasingh Babu and produced by Vajramuni. The playwright of the movie was the celebrated writer, late H V Subba Rao. The film was released in the year 1984. The music was composed by Sathyam. Bollywood actor Amrish Puri played the antagonist in the film.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mystical Bird Gandaberunda". Retrieved 2007-04-12.
  2. ^ Ganesh Coins of Tamilnadu, 13.48
  3. ^ "Kamat's Potpourri: Amma's Column - Gandaberunda- The Two Headed Bird". 2014-02-02. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  4. ^ Kaivalya, Alanna; Kooij, Arjuna van der (2020-09-08). Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-68383-848-7.
  5. ^ "The COININDIA Coin Galleries: Vijayanagar". Retrieved 2020-01-23.

1.Brahma took the avatar of Gandaberunda & not vishnu[clarification needed]

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