This beautifully carved shilābālike, popularly known as Darpana Sundari, is an iconic figure and one of the most famous sculptures in the world. She is like Monalisa of the sculpture world. In Kannada, darpana means mirror and sundari means a beautiful lady.
As you can see from the image, Darpana Sundari is holding a mirror and looking at herself in it. She is wearing fine jewelry and a beautiful dress, her elegant stance suggests that she is a dancer, and it appears as though she is looking in the mirror just before the start of a dance performance.
Notice the three small figures at the bottom, two among them are seen handing her some objects – most likely the makeup material. The third one is a mysterious stocky figure carrying a monkey on his left side and holding a bunch of fruits or nuts with his right hand.
Located to the right of Shuka Bhasini, Darpana Sundari is mounted on a pillar located on the left side of the main entrance doorway. She is also one of the four shilabalikes on the facade of this entrance. It is believed that one of these shilabalikes resembles Pattada Rani Shantala Devi, who was an accomplished dancer and the main queen of the Hoysala King Vishnuvardana, the builder of the Chennakeshava Temple.
Darapana Sundari is one of the 38 sculptures, known as bracket figures, mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (front portion of the temple). Each figure is attached to a bracket placed at an angle just below the eaves of the temple. The base of the sculpture is mounted on the side of a pillar just below its capital.
– 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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