Nandi, the sacred bull and the mount of Lord Shiva, is a familiar sight at any temple dedicated to Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Nandi is the gate-keeper of Shiva and his most loyal attendant. It is believed that all your wishes come true if you whisper to Nandi before visiting his master. Pilgrims can be found circumambulating the statue and touching it. Women, especially, are said to benefit from touching Nandi as the bull is a symbol of fertility. Not surprisingly, bulls and cows find sanctuary at Shiva temples everywhere in India.
The following photo-series by VIKRAM RAMACHANDRAN represent some of the greatest monolithic Nandi sculptures in India, from the largest Nandi at Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, to the Nandi bulls at Brihadeesvara Temple, Thanjavur and Halebeedu, Karnataka. While admiring the Nandis, look around the temples where they are situated.
View more of Vikram Ramachandran's photographs on Flickr