Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Gāna Sundari

Gāna Sundari playing the tāla (manjira) - A bracket figure mounterd on the facade of the main entrance of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Gāna Sundari playing the tāla (manjira)

Gāna Sundari playing the tāla (manjira)
This shilabaliké, known as Gāna Sundari (Singing Beauty), is seen singing while playing the tāla (notice the bell-like objects in her hands). Unlike the other bracket figures, her mouth is slightly open, indicating that she is singing.

Notice the four figures at the bottom who are seen playing some musical instruments. It appears Gāna Sundari is part of an orchestra, a quintet in which she is the lead singer accompanied by two male musicians playing the dolu, a lady musician playing the tāla, and a male musician playing the flute.

Note: Tāla, which looks like a smaller version of hand cymbals, is an Indian musical instrument made of brass typically played while singing devotional music. Dolu is a drum-like percussion instrument.

Gāna Sundari is mounted on the rightmost of the four pillars on the facade of the temple at the main entrance to the Belur Chennakeshava Temple. She is figure number 37 in the Navaranga layout. Experts believe that one of the shilābālikes on the front facade resembles Pattada Rani Shantala Devi, who was an accomplished dancer and the main queen of King Vishnuvardana, the builder of the Chennakeshava Temple.

Check the Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures page for a detailed description of this and other important bracket figures in the Belur Chennakeshava Temple.

There are 38 bracket figures mounted on the pillars of the exterior wall surrounding the Navaranga, which is the front portion of the temple that includes the central hall and vestibule. Each bracket figure is placed at an angle just below the eaves of the temple. The base of the sculpture is attached to the side of a pillar just below its capital.

Other Shilabalikes
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhasini, Nātya 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 Exterior
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Hoysala Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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