No other Indian god is as intimately connected and profusely associated with serpents as is Shiva. A cobra coils around his neck, with it hood forming a protective canopy over his head. A snake is symbolic of Shiva's sexual energy. This head of Shiva is outstanding in the elemental power, controlled and concentrated, that informs its every plane and curve. Serene meditation is conveyed by half open eyes, their gaze steadied by reverberating curves of lids and brows. The third eye, symbolically the seat of the fire of destruction, extends across the entire height of the forehead and is here, an essential part of Shiva's physiognomy.
The beauty of the image is pristine in every feature: the relief of the five layered snake and the way it lies around and above Shiva's compassionate face.
This description by Renu Rana.