Vaital Temple,Orissa

Vaital temple

The presiding deity of the temple is Chamunda, a tantric cult-name for Durga or Shakti. In keeping with the requirements of the sect, the sanctum is dark and the whole atmosphere is disquieting and weird. The eight-armed Chamunda, locally known as Kapalini, planked by an owl and a jackal, sits on a corpse. Her body, emaciated and reduced to skin and bones, is adorned with the garland of skulls. Her sunken eyes and shrunken belly and the cerie setting with a number of strange images filling the niches around the sanctum, present here in her terrible best.

Some of the early erotic sculptures in Orissan art are found here. The erotica later became a conventional motif, ubiquitously present in almost all forms of decorative temple architecture. The figures depicted in various positions were probably relevant in the context of the tantric rites. On the eastern face of the temple one can see an extremely fine image of the Sun god flanked by his sisters Usha and Pratyusa and the chariot is driven by Aruna. The sun motif was developed to fruition at a later date in the famous Sun temple at Konark.

Vaital temple is perhaps the finest extent representative of the Khakhara order of the Kalinga style of temple architecture, an order that was specially devoted to the tantric cults. The deul rectangular in shape and oblong on plan, is positioned at a right angle to the flat-roofed jagamohana. The two-storeyed semi-cylindrical wagon roof of the deul strongly suggests the influence of Buddhist cave architecture. The vault of the deul is rather plain without any art work and the shape of the common deul in miniature form adorns the four corners of the jagamohana. In place of the traditional ratha projections, the bada has shallow pilasters. On the backside, the five pilasters have been crowned by two vidalas seated back to back above two carved mouldings. The medallion of the upper chaitya window, in addition to a ten-armed Nataraj, has the figures of Lakulisa on the south and the composite form of Hari-Hara on the north. In front of the jagamohana the stone post shows two Buddha like figures seated in the famous dharmachakra pravartana mudra. The unconcealed apathy and animosity of the Pasupatas (ardent Shiva worshippers) towards Buddhism has probably provided the inspiration for the ironical representation of the Buddha on the sacrificial post found in front of the Vaital deul that was once an important centre for the esoteric rites of the Tantrics.

Getting there and around

By Air –

By Rail –

Puri is wel connected to the major city of Orrisa by regular and few express trains.

By Road –

Puri is well connected by road with important cities in and out of the state, Bhubaneshwar, Konark, Berhampur, Taptapani, Sambalpur and Kolkata.


There are a number of hotels, lodges, dharmashalas and youth hostel and Panthnivas, most of them along the beach. The wide range of accommodation make it convenient for the tourists to choose according to their pockets and likings. The budget class hotels are to be found generally at the norther end of the beach. The Dharmshalas charge a nominal tariff of Rs 2 to 3 per head per day. Some of the hotels include Panthanivas , Youth Hostel , SE Rly Hotel, Chakrathirtha Road, Puri Hotel, Sagarika Hotel, Victoria Club Hotel, Bay view Hotel. The Dharmashalas are on the Grand Road or at Dolavedi.