Navaranga layout and the locations of the Bracket Figures
The diagram shows the layout of the mantapa (covered hall), popularly known as the navaraga, in front of the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of he Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India.
The main entrance to the temple is facing east, and there are two side entrances, one facing north and the other facing south. There is no entrance on the west side because of the garbhagriha is located on that side. The temple is symmetrical about the east-west axis. In other words, the south-side layout is a mirror image of the north side (and vice-versa).
Navaranga is a unique element of Hoysala architecture. In the Kannada language, nava means nine, and ranga means the stage or sector, so the navaranga means nine sectors. In Hoysala architecture, the mantapas are designed with the navaranga principle. With this principle, the four pillars in the middle of the mantapa divide the mantapa space into nine sectors.
In the Chennakeshava temple, the navaranga design is implemented by the four pillars at the corners of the dance floor located in the middle of the front portion. The rest of the space is filled with numerous pillars, some of which needed to support the roof of the temple, and the rest are there just for decorative purposes. The beautifully-carved Mohini and Narasimha pillars are the most famous among them.
The exterior wall surrounding the navaranga has eight sections each on the south (S1 to S8) and north (N1 to N8) sides. On each section, the small sculptures, known as bracket figures, are mounted on the brackets just below the eaves of the temple. Check the Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures page for a detailed explanation of some of the bracket figures.
Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
– Darpana Sundari (1), Sukha Bhasini (2), Nātya Sundari (38), Gāna Sundari (37), Kesha Sundari (7), Tribhangi (8), Nagna Sundari (15), Kapala Durga (9), Koravanji, Nātya Mohini (25), Betegārthi (23)
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple Complex
— Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu
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