The shilābālike shown in the image is depicted as Goddess Durga, who is seen wielding a kapāla danda (staff attached to a skull) with her left hand. With her stance, it appears that she is dancing. Accompanying her are two dolu playing male musicians standing 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, she is wearing a crown embellished with a garland of kapālas, which symbolizes the liberation of mankind from evil. Notice her facial expression, which is stern and appears to project power.
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 shilābālike is one of the 38 bracket figures mounted atop a pillar on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (the front portion of the temple). Each of these figures is attached to an inclined bracket placed just below the eaves of the temple. The base of the sculpture is mounted just below the capital of a pillar.
Goddess Durga is on the leftmost pillar standing on the fifth section of the north side wall, and she is bracket figure number 22 in the navaranga layout.
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Hoysala Temple Dedicated to Vishnu
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