In Hindu temples dedicated to Shiva that were made in territories governed by rulers of the Hoysala dynasty (1026â€“1343), the entrance guardians appeared as a fierce form of the deity himself. In spite of his bulging eyes, arched brows, and fangs, the soft contours of the face temper the ferocity and create a gently alluring figure. This exceptional example of the ornate Hoysala style is four-armed and has the third eye of knowledge. In his upper right hand he holds a drum that indicates the relentless rhythm of time, which inevitably consumes all creation. In the other, he holds a staff at the top of which is the decomposing fifth head of the god of creation, Brahma, which Shiva cut off to show his superior power. A three-hooded cobra winds its way up the shaft, while another slithers through the sockets of the skull.