If you visit the famous Chennakeshava Temple, Belur at Karnataka, one striking thing which you cannot miss are the Madanikas or shilabalikas sculptures which depicts the beauty, grace and the kind of activities women of the 12th century could do in India.
These sculptures represent the ideal female form and depicts the female in various forms as archer, hunter, dancers, musicians and drummers. It also shows the openness of the Hoysala dynasty where women had freedom to choose their destiny.
The Madanikas are said to be inspired by the Queen Shantala’s beauty. The temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 AD.
In all, there are 42 unique Madanikas or shilabalikas ( 38 outside the temple wall and 4 inside the temple hall) which is one of its kind in India. Each sculpture is unique and different from the other. It took 103 years and three generations to complete the temple and these sculptures.
The Madanikas Image Gallery:
To know more about Chennakeshava Temple, Belur please visit my post Chennakesava Temple, Belur – Hoysala Architecture excellence