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

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 beautiful lady.

Here is another view of Darpana Sundari.

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

Notice the three small figures at the bottom. Two of them are handing over some objects, likely the makeup material, to Darpana Sundari. 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 to the right of Shuka Bhasini, Darpana Sundari is mounted on a pillar on the left side of the door at the main entrance. She is also one of the four shilābālikes on the facade of this entrance. Experts believe that one of these shilābālikes resembles Pattada Rani Shantala Devi, an accomplished dancer and the queen consort of 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 placed at an angle just below the eaves, with its base attached to a pillar just below the pillar’s capital.

Check the Navaraga Layout page for the locations of the bracket figures. Referring to this layout, Darpana Sundari is figure number 1.

Read more about this and other bracket figures at Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Bracket Figures.

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

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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