Welcome to the Vaital Deul Temple, or as the locals call it, the Tini Mundia Mandira. This ancient Hindu temple is a treat for anyone who loves architecture and history. It is located just 700 meters away from the Lingaraja Temple and 4.5 kilometers from the Bhubaneswar Railway Station, making it an easy visit for travelers.
The Vaital Temple is a unique 8th-century structure that stands out with its Khakara style of Kalinga School of architecture. But what makes it even more special is its association with tantric cult. That’s right, you heard it correctly! This temple was used as a shrine devoted to tantric practices, making it one of the rare temples in India with such an association.
The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Chamundi, the tantric form of Goddess Durga. Her image is depicted in the central niche and is surrounded by 15 niches that are filled with strange figures. You’ll be amazed to see her eight arms holding a snake, bow, shield, sword, trident, thunderbolt, and an arrow while piercing the neck of the demon. She is also depicted as sitting on a corpse with a necklace of skulls and a bright red tongue protruding out. It’s not every day that you get to see such unique and fascinating carvings!
As you walk around the temple, you’ll also come across stunning stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and intricate decorative carvings that are a treat to the eyes. The facade of the temple above the left of the jagamohana is dominated by two chaitya windows. The lower one has a beautifully carved figure of the sun god Surya, noted for its facial expression, with Usha and Pratyusha shooting arrows on either side. The upper chaitya-window is adorned with a 10-armed Nataraja.
The temple is appreciated not only for its sculpture and architecture but also for its unique history. It is believed that the temple got its name from the Sanskrit word “Vahitra,” which means sea-going vessel or ship. Some believe that the appearance of the upper portion of the tower looks similar to the shape of an upturned hull of a ship. But let’s be real here, with the temple’s association with tantric practices, it’s more likely that the name comes from the word “Vaita,” which means a place of sacrifice. So don’t be too surprised if you come across some interesting rituals being performed here.
Overall, the Vaital Deul Temple is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique and fascinating experience. The temple is open from 7 AM to 8 PM, so make sure to add it to your itinerary.