Gāna Sundari playing the tāla (manjira)
This shilābālike, popularly known as Gāna Sundari (Singing Beauty), is seen singing and playing the tāla (notice the bell-like objects in her hands). Unlike the other bracket figures, her mouth is slightly open, indicating that she is singing.
Notice the four figures at the bottom who are seen playing some musical instruments. It appears Gāna Sundari is part of an orchestra, a quintet in which she is the lead singer accompanied by two male musicians playing the dolu, a lady musician playing the tāla, and a male musician playing the flute.
Note: Tāla, which looks like a smaller version of hand cymbals, is an Indian musical instrument made of brass typically played while singing devotional music. Dolu is a drum-like percussion instrument.
Gāna Sundari is mounted on the rightmost of the four pillars on the facade of the temple at the main entrance to the Belur Chennakeshava Temple. She is figure number 37 in the Navaranga layout. Experts believe that one of the shilābālikes on the front facade resembles Pattada Rani Shantala Devi, who was an accomplished dancer and the main queen of King Vishnuvardana, the builder of the Chennakeshava Temple.
There are 38 bracket figures mounted on the pillars attached to the exterior wall surrounding the Navaranga, which is the front portion of the temple that includes the covered central hall and vestibule. Each bracket figure is placed at an angle just below the eaves, with its base attached to a pillar just below its capital.
– 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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