This is a rare sculpture of Vishnu as koorma (tortoise) avatara worshiping a shiva lingam. On a pillar in the 16-pillared mandapam in front of Ekambareswara Temple Gopuram, Kanchipuram. The mandapam has several other sculptures on the pillars but indifferent upkeep with haphazard steel structures and flex posters mar the beauty.
Dvarapalakas literally mean ‘Guardians at the Gate’ . Most Hindu temples have the images of dvarapalakas at the entrance. They have a lot of common features, but there are some special features based on the presiding deity, the local practices and the Agamas. For example, the dvarapalakas in a Shiva temple will usually have trishul, damru, gada, etc.
These dwarapalkas in Vydeeswara Temple, Talakadu have the usual features and in addition, they have torsos shaped like a Nandi. This is unique and I have not seen this anywhere else.
The Vydheeswara Temple is located in Talekadu (or Talekad) in Karnatake. It is beleived to have been built by the Ganga Dynasty in the 10th Century.
There is also a story of the Curse of Talekadu. More about it later.