golden image of Sundareswara is one among such numerous figures. It has got a mark
supposed to be the imprint of a dancing girl's kiss. The Sthalapurana says that Hema, a
beautiful dancing girl greatly attached to the temple in Sri Pushpavana, was an ardent
devotee of Siva and always presented to Lord Sundareswara whatever was given to her by her
numerous patrons. She cherished a desire to have an image of Siva in pure gold.
But she was too poor to afford it. She prayed to
Lord Sundareswara to fulfil her desire. One fine morning, the God himself appeared and
turned a number of her brass vessels into pure gold. She immediately got an image of Siva
made out of this gold. Seeing the image of Siva made out of this gold, she was so much
overwhelmed with joy that she kissed it fervently. The imprint of this joyous kiss is said
to be still visible on Siva's image,
which was at last presented to the temple by the dancing girl. Hema's heart was pure like
gold and so she could leave the golden imprint.
Figures of the 63 Saivite saints of South India
known as Nayatimars are always associated with Saivite temples. Among them there is only
one-woman saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar. This sculpture is remarkable for the ascetic
expression of the face of this saintess and the carefully executed detail.