Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Jalandhra and bracket figures on the left section of the northern entrance

Jalandhra and bracket figures on the left section of northern entrance of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Jalandhra and bracket figures on the left section of northern entrance of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Jalandhra and bracket figures
The image shows a section of the wall on the left side of the northern entrance of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka, India. As you can see from the image, two bracket figures, Nagna Sundari and Nātya Mohini, are mounted at an angle on the pillars just below the eaves.

Known as the jālandhara, the perforated stone window is a unique element of the Dravida-style architecture and is a common feature in Chalukya and Hoysala temples. The perforations allow light and air into the mantapa (covered hall). When the temple was built, the navaranga was an open mantapa, which means there were no jālandharas. King Veera Ballala II (1173 – 1220 CE), a grandson of King Vishnuvardhana, was responsible for covering the navaranga windows with the jālandharas, likely for security reasons.

Besides providing ventilation and light, jālandharas make the temple aesthetically pleasing by their beautiful patterns of perforations carved into them and the reliefs carved around them. Some jālandharas are carved with themes from the Hindu epics and ancient Indian texts, such as the Puranas.

The relief on this jālandhara depicts the following two themes:
1. Lakshmi Narayana – Lakshmi sitting on Vishnu’s lap
2. Hanuman and Garuda trying to grab a flower/fruit – Based on a story about Vishnu teaching a lesson to Garuda through Hanuman when Grauda became arrogant

The frieze below the jālandhara has many small carvings, including dancers, musicians, Narasimha, and Vishnu.

Other Jālandharas
Vishnu reclining on Adishesha – A beautifully carved relief on a jālandhara
Court of Hoysala King Vishnuvardana, the builder of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Court of Hoysala King Vira Ballala III

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhasini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapala Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegarthi

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Davane playing male musician

Hoysala Temples:
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Badami Chalukya Temples:
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole

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