Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Shuka Bhashini – Shilābālike with her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini - Shilābālike talking to her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini – Shilābālike talking to her pet parrot

Shuka Bhashini
Popularly known as Shuka Bhashini, this shilābālike appears to be talking to her pet parrot while her three friends/assistants, who are holding what appears to be corn cobs, are watching her talk. In Kannada, shuka means parrot, and bhashini means a lady who talks.

As you can see from the image, the shilābālike has gracefully bent her body to give her an elegant dancing stance and held her left hand precisely at the chest level so that the parrot can stand on the back of her palm and look at her.

Located to the left of the iconic Darpana Sundari, Shuka Bhashini is one of the four bracket figures mounted on the facade at the main 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.

Shuka Bhasini 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, Shuka Bhasini is figure number 2, i.e., mounted on leftmost pillar on the facade at the main entrance.

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

Shilābālikes – Female Bracket Figures
Darpana Sundari, 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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