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Gandaberunda

Emblem of Gandaberunda
The Gandaberunda is a two-headed bird that is found within the Hindu mythology. It is an incarnation of the god Vishnu, and is said to possess magical strength.

The story behind this legendary creatures goes like this-- Lord Vishnu took the form of Narasimha in order to slay the demon Hiranyakashipu. However, Narasimha/Vishnu became so powerful after this battle that the rest of the world feared destruction. The people prayed for Lord Shiva to intervene-- and he did, taking the form of Sharabha (half beast/half bird).

Sharabha was able to pacify Narasimha, but the destructive energy turned Vishnu into an even more powerful form-- Gandaberunda. The two aspects fought for 18 days before Vishnu was able to regain control and end the fight.

The Gandaberunda is an official state insignia of Karnataka, and has appeared on minted coins and emblems for the past 500 years.  It is also a popular motif on temples, and can be found on several Hindu sites dating back even further.

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