Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Darpana Sundari

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

Darpana Sundari – A bracket figure mounted on a pillar at the main entrance of the Chennakeshava Temple

Darpana Sundari
Popularly known as Darpana Sundari, this beautifully carved shilābālike is an iconic figure and one of the most famous sculptures in the world. She is like Monalisa of the sculpture world. In Kannada, darpana means mirror and sundari means a beautiful lady.

Here is another view of Darpana Sundari. Read more about this and other bracket figures at: Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Bracket Figures.

As you can see from the image, Darpana Sundari is holding a mirror and looking at herself. She is wearing fine jewelry and a beautiful dress. Her elegant stance suggests that she is a dancer, and it appears as though she is looking into the mirror just before the starting of a dance performance.

Notice the three small figures at the bottom, two among them are seen handing her some objects – most likely the makeup material. The third one is a mysterious stocky figure carrying a monkey on his left side and holding a bunch of fruits or nuts with his right hand.

Located on the right side of Shuka Bhasini, Darpana Sundari is mounted on a pillar on the left side of the main entrance. She is also one of the four shilābālikes on the facade of this entrance. 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.

Darapana Sundari is one of the 38 sculptures, known as bracket figures, mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (covered hall in front of the garbhagriha). Each figure is attached to a bracket that is placed at an angle just below the eaves of the temple. The base of this bracket is attached to a pillar just below its capital.

Other Shilābālikes
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 Outer Wall
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple Complex
Kappe Chennigaraya Shrine
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Magnificent Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

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