Archives for July 2011

Shilabalikas of Belur

Shilabalika, a.k.a. ‘salabhanjika’, is a standard decorative element of Indian sculpture depicting in stone a young female under a stylized tree in various poses, such as dancing, grooming herself or playing a musical instrument.The salabhanjika concept stems from ancient symbolism linking a chaste maiden with the sala tree or the asoka tree through the ritual called dohada, or the fertilisation of plants through contact with a young woman. The symbolism changed over the course of time and the salabhanjika became figures used as ornamental carvings, usually located in the area where worshipers engage in circumambulation, near the garbhagriha of many Hindu temples.