Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Shuka Bhashini – Shilābālike with her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini - Shilābālike talking to her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini – Shilābālike talking to her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini
This shilābālike, popularly known as Shuka Bhashini, is seen talking to her pet parrot while her three friends/assistants, who are holding what appears to be corn cobs, are seen watching her talk. In Kannada, shuka means parrot, and bhashini means a lady who is in conversation.

As you can see from the image, the shilābālike has elegantly bent her body to give her a beautiful dancing stance and precisely held her left hand at the chest level so that the parrot can stand on the back of her palm and look at her.

Shuka Bhashini is one of the four bracket figures mounted atop the pillars at the main entrance and located to the left of Darpana Sundari. She is figure number 2 in the navaranga layout. It is believed that one of these shilābālikes 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.

Shuka Bhashini is one of the 38 sculptures, known as bracket figures, mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (front portion of the temple). Each bracket 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.

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, 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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