Close view of sculpture panel of Durga killing Mahisasura, north wall of the sanctuary, Vaital Deul Temple, Bhubaneshwar
Photographer: Cornish, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of sculpture panel on the façade of the sanctuary of Vaital Duel, Bhubaneshwar, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by William Henry Cornish in 1892. The Vaital Deul in Bubhaneswar (late 8th Century) is an unusual temple with a rectangular sanctuary covered by a barrel-vaulted roof. On the top of the tower are three miniature amalakas with small pot finials. The projection on the façade houses a Shiva Nataraja and an image of the Sun god Surya. The sanctuary walls have carved niches with figures of deities, couples and graceful maidens framed by bands of scrollwork. The adjoining rectangular mandapa has miniature shrines and a roof of sloping slabs. The main deity of this temple is Chamunda (a form of Durga), with a garland of skulls, seated on a corpse, flanked by a jackal and owl. This along with various interior carvings like the skeletal head have given rise to the view that this temple was used for Tantric rituals. This view shows a powerful sculpture of the goddess Durga killing the buffalo demon Mahisa.