In South India, many temples have Salabhanjika, a stone sculpture in the shape of a woman holding a lamp that is set in front of the sanctum sanctorum as a sacred guard to the deity (Dwarapalika). Recently they are a indispensible part of Indian Decor.

A "Salabhanjika" sculpture refers to a styled figure of a woman standing provocatively near a branch of a tree. In sanskrit, salabanjika means "breaking the branch of a tree". The salabhanjika woman is shown with exaggerated breasts and hip, and is an extremely attractive woman.
She is usually used as a decorative element in monuments, temples and at home.
The sculpture imparts all the grace and feelings of the feminine ideal. This is an imaginary saga of the innate conflicts of the human heart. While Salabhanjika yearns for union with the sculptor and dreams for happiness however ephemeral it might be.

Also called madanakai, salabanjika or shilabalika, they epitomize the ideal female form, depicted as dancers, musicians, drummers, and rarely erotic in nature.

Highly decorated salabhanjika figures can be seen at Belur and Halebid temples too. These figures depict the female in different postures such as dancing, grooming oneself, playing a musical instrument etc.







below the salabhanjika figure is from the Sanchi Stupa, here, the figures are used as architectural brackets.

I love collecting Salabhanjikas at home.Below are some of them from my collection.The different moods of Salabhnajikas at home during holi celebrations.They looked graceful as ever carrying ,marigolds and colours ...



Salabhanjika at Fort Kochi

Salabhanjikas at Padmanabhapuram Palace and my little one having the feel of the hands of ....
The grace and divinity of the Salabhnajikas still will remain forever.

Images and Ideas conceived by Lakshmi Arvind,except1,2,3,4,5
Text$ ImageCourtesy:LakshmiArvind,greatbuildings.com,pallavikrishnan.com,mistryimages.com,asi.nic.in
 
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