Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance

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

Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance

Nātya Sundari – Dancing shilābālike at the main entrance
This beautifully sculpted shilābālike is one of the first bracket figures you see when entering the Belur Chennakeshava Temple. She is mounted on a pillar on the right side of the door at the main entrance. The iconic Darpana Sundari is on the left, and Gāna Sundari is on the right.

As you can see from the image, Nātya Sundari has a well-proportioned body covered with stylish clothes and jewelry. She has a graceful dancing stance, and it appears as though she is dancing with an Indian classical dance move. Accompanying her at the bottom are the four musicians playing different musical instruments. As you can see, two on the left are playing the dolu, one on the right is playing the tāla, and the other 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.

Nātya Sundari is one of the four bracket figures on the facade at the main entrance. Experts believe that one of these shilābālikes 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, the covered hall in front of the garbhagriha (inner sanctum). Each 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, Nātya Sundari is bracket figure number 38.

Read the Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures page for a detailed description of this and the other bracket figures in the Belur Chennakeshava Temple.

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, 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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