Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance

Nātya Sundari - A bracket figure mounted on a pillar at the main entrance to the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka

Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance

Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance
This beautifully sculpted shilābālike is one of the first bracket figures you see when you enter the Belur Chennakeshava Temple. She is mounted on a pillar on the right side of the main entrance door, and the iconic Darpana Sundari is on the left and Gāna Sundari is on the right.

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

As you can see from the image, Nātya Sundari is wearing stylish clothes and jewelry, and her well-proportioned body has a graceful dancing stance. It appears as though she is dancing. Accompanying her at the bottom are the four musicians playing different musical instruments. As you can see, two on the left are playing the dolu, one on the right is playing the tāla, and the other 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.

This shilābālike is one of the four bracket figures mounted on the facade of the temple at the main entrance. Experts believe that one of these shilābālikes resembles Pattada Rani Shantala Devi, who was an accomplished dancer and the main queen of King Vishnuvardana, the builder of the 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. 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.

Nātya Sundari is bracket figure number 38 in the navaranga 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 Exterior
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Hoysala Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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