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Vaital Temple, Bhubaneswar

This interesting 8th century temple is dedicated to Chamunda (Kali). She wears a necklace of skulls and is shown as the eight-armed slayer of the buffalo demon. Her necklace of skulls and the corpse she is sitting on are usually hidden by her robes. In her arms she holds a snake, a bow, a shield, a trident, a thunderbolt and an arrow with which she is piercing the neck of the demon, thus displaying the most terrifying aspect of the goddess Kali.

This temple is lock to Bindu Sagar, and it has some intricate exterior carvings. To get a good view of the temple's interior, a flashlight (torch) is needed. A brief look at the Vaital Temple will show an extremely accomplished style of sculptural decoration. A slightly closer look will reveal some of the darker facets of the sculpture's content, and the temple's nature.

The Tantric worship, which combined elements from certain sects of both Buddhism and Hinduism, is centered on the worship of 'Shakti', the female life force. It developed elaborate rituals involving magic spells, secret rituals and sacrificial offerings. The interior of the Vaital Temple's inner sanctum is almost completely dark, in keeping with the esoteric rites believed to have been performed there.

The temple deity of 'Chamunda' (tantric form of the Hindu goddess Durga) is dimly visible behind her grille, portrayed with a garland of skulls around her neck, seated on a corpse, flanked by an owl and a jackal. Her emaciated body, sunken eyes, and shrunken belly are quite remarkable, and even the usually staid and unflappable Archaeological Survey of India, in their guide to Bhubaneswar , cannot help but remarking that she displays the 'most terrible aspect conceivable'.

Timing : Morning 6 AM to 8 PM
Dedicated To : Kapalini (Shakti)
Architectural Style : Kalinga architecture
Built in : 8th Century
Also Known As : Deul Temple
Best Time to Visit : October to April
Nearest Railway Station : Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport : Biju Patnaik Airport Bhubaneswar

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