Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Shilābālike as Goddess Durga

Kapāla Durga - A bracket figure mounted on the exterior wall of the Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka

Kapāla Durga – A bracket figure mounted on the exterior wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Kapāla Durga
This shilābālike is depicted as Goddess Durga, who is seen holding a kapāla danda (skull cup attached to a staff) with her left hand and an unidentified object with her right hand. Accompanying her are the two dolu playing male musicians carved at the bottom. Note: Dolu is a two-sided drum-like percussion instrument

In Hindu mythology, Durga is a goddess who fights evil forces. As you can see from the image, Kapāla Durga is wearing a garland of kapālas on her crown symbolizing the liberation of mankind from evil.

The disc-like base on which this shilābālike is standing is on top of a lotus pedestal. As you can see from the image, the curved side of the base has an inscription written in the Helegannada (Old Kannada) script inscribed likely by the sculptor to describe himself and his work.

This sculpture is one of the 38 bracket figures mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (front portion) of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka, India. The bracket figures are located just below the eves of the temple. Each of them is attached to an inclined bracket mounted on the side of a pillar at the top.

Kapāla Durga is mounted on the pillar at the junction of section 4 (S4) and 5 (S5) of the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga. She is bracket figure number 9 in the navaraga layout.

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhashini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapāla Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegārthi

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Davane playing male musician

Related Pages
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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