The most marvelous specimens of Hoysala architecture, found exclusively at Belur in Karnataka are the angled bracket figures depicting celestial nymphs. All the 42 beautiful and expressive damsels are depicted in various forms as singing, dancing or executing daily chores and are described in detail below:
1) Darpana Sundari – A lady holding the mirror in the left hand and admiring her beauty.
2) A lady with a parrot perched on the fore palm of her right hand.
3) A lady holding the folded betel leaves in the left hand.
4) A Lady in her make up.
5) A monkey tugging the lady’s saree, and she is trying to beat it.
6) Aiming an arrow at a bird – the huntress.
7) Dressing her hair after a bath.
8) Tribhangi Nritya – A lady dancing by bending her body into three portions, one from the waist downward, other from the waist to the chest and another upwards. This is said to be the most difficult one, so far no other dancer has been able to exhibit this.
9) Holding a drum in her left hand and playing it with the right hand.
10) A lady playing the flute.
11) A lady singing with time.
12) Bewitching beauty: The canopy above her left shoulder depicts a jackfruit and a fly on it. A lizard intends to catch the fly.
13) A violinist
14) A curly haired beauty arranging her curls on the forehead and looking into the mirror.
15) Plucking a mango with her right hand.
16) The heroic huntress – Dresses as one and is aiming at the birds sitting on the creeper above.
17) Masculine woman: She is wearing a beard and a moustache like a man and is playing a drum.
18) A Saint: She is in the disguise of a saint.
19) The dancer.
20) The songstress holding metallic time keepers in her hands.
21) The divine dancer, and her maids play the musical instruments.
22) The huntress – holding a fork like spear with a skull on top.
23) The huntress returning from a successful hunt.
24) Beauty dance.
25) Bhasma mohini dance depicting the form of Mohini
26) Frightened of the scorpion in the folds of her sari, she dusts her sari upon which the scorpion falls down.
27) She is beautifully dressed and is waiting for her lover.
28) A gypsy girl – She holds palm leaves in her left hand.
29) After a hearty meal – She had her meal and is about to rest.
30) Nagveena Dance – The expert musician playing her violin, which is in the form of a snake.
31) Bedecked beauty - Admiring herself in the mirror after adoring herself with all sorts of ornaments.
32) The fortune teller – She holds in her left hand a small drum and a timekeeper is set in her right hand, foretelling the future to the world.
33) The Kite dancer – She is standing as if she is tugging the string of a kite using both of her hands.
34) She has tied her hair into a knot, looks like the modern pony – tail.
35) The lady has worn her best dress and ornaments and is ready to go for a dance.
36) Drum dance – She has a beard and a moustache like a man. She is dancing holding a drum in her left hand.
37) She is singing and her maids are playing the musical instruments.
38) She is dancing to a tune with her accomplices on both her sides.
Inside the temple:
39) Lady with her pet parrot – A lady holds a creeper in her right hand and a parrot is sitting on the fore palm of her left hand. She is wearing a bangle in her right hand.
40) Shantaladevi – She is dancing and there is a canopy behind her. She is wearing a gem, just above the middle of her forehead.
41) Gandharva dance – She is wearing many bangles on her fore arm.
42) Kesh Shrungara – She is wringing her hair to sqeeze the water after a bath. One can view the drops of water collected at the tip of her hair.
Seeing is Believing !