Wielding a kapāla danda (staff attached to a skull) with her left hand, this shilābālike – identified as Goddess Durga – appears to dance vigorously. Accompanying her are the two dolu playing male musicians standing at the bottom. Note: Dolu is a two-sided drum-like percussion instrument.
In Hindu mythology, Durga is a goddess who fights evil forces. As you can see from the image, she is wearing a crown embellished with a garland of kapālas, which symbolizes the liberation of mankind from evil. Notice her facial expression, which is stern and appears to project power.
Goddess Durga is standing on a disc-like base mounted on top of a lotus pedestal. Engraved into this base is an inscription, written in Helegannada (Old Kannada), inscribed likely by the sculptor to describe himself and his work.
Goddess Durga is one of the 38 bracket figures mounted on the exterior wall surrounding the navaranga (the front portion of the temple). Each figure is attached to an inclined bracket placed just below the eaves, with its base mounted on a pillar slightly below its capital.
Check the Navaraga Layout page for the locations of the bracket figures. Referring to this layout, Goddess Durga is bracket figure number 22, i.e., mounted on the leftmost pillar standing on the fifth section of the north wall.
Read more about this and other shilābālikes at Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Bracket Figures.
– 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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