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Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Navaranga Layout – Locations of the Bracket Figures


Navaranga layout and the locations of the Bracket Figures
The diagram shows the layout of the mantapa (covered hall), popularly known as the Navaraga, in front of the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple in Karnataka, India.

Check the Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga page for a detailed explanation of the interior and exterior of the Navaranga.

The main entrance to the temple is facing east, and there are two side entrances, one facing north and the other facing south. There is no entrance facing west because the garbhagriha is on that side. The temple is symmetrical about the east-west axis. In other words, the south-side layout is a mirror image of the north side (and vice-versa).

Navaranga, which means nine sectors in Kannada, is an essential element of the Hoysala temple architecture. In the Navaranga design, the rectangular area is a grid of nine sections (i.e., 3 x 3) created by placing the pillars at the corners of the central section. An extended roof above these pillars covers the entire space.

In the Chennakeshava Temple, the four pillars at the corners of the dance floor, situated in the middle of the hall, implement the Navaranga design. The rest of the space is filled with numerous pillars, some of which support the roof, and the rest are there just for decorative purposes. The beautifully carved Mohini and Narasimha pillars are the most popular among them.

The exterior wall surrounding the Navaranga has eight sections, each on the south (S1 to S8) and north (N1 to N8) sides. On each section, the small sculptures, known as bracket figures, are mounted on brackets just below the eaves.

Check the Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures page for a detailed explanation of some of the bracket figures.

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari (1), Sukha Bhasini (2),
Madanike chasing a monkey (5), Kesha Sundari (7)
Tribhangi (8), Kapala Durga (9), Narthaki (10)
Nātya Sundari (13), Madanike plucking a mango (16), Betegārthi (17)

Goddess Durga (22)
Betegārthi (23), Nātya Sundari (24), Nātya Mohini (25), Nagna Sundari (26)
Shilābālike holding a betel leaf (29), Koravanji (33)
Gāna Sundari (37), Nātya Sundari (38)

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician (11)
Davane playing male musician (18)
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer (36)

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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