IN THE TOWN OF TEMPLES : VAITAL TEMPLE
The famous eight-armed MahishasuraMardini on northern wall of
Vaital temple is known for its association with performers of 'tantrik' rites. Some bloggers have written about the eerie atmosphere inside - specially with a fearsome idol of its presiding deity 'Camunda' and idols of Bhairavas inside the temple. Unfortunately, entrance to the temple was closed when we reached there because we were there at around 2.30 pm. I knew that the priest opposes any any attempt to take photos inside the temple - still, I am quite disappointed that an opportunity was missed.
Vaital temple and Sisireswar temple.
8th century temples with several unique features.
I found a photo of Vaital temple's Camunda in a blog where the writer has used a photo sourced from IGNCA. I noted the deity is covered with a saree and garland - in my opinion, the deity found in Jajpur is fiercest among the few photos published in Internet. Camunda of '64 Yoginis' temple' @ nearby Hirapur village is also fearsome , but the effect is lost partly because it has been defaced and partly because it is in open, not enshrined in semi-dark sanctum !
Camunda - goddess with her emaciated body and fierce posture -
of '64 Yoginis' temple' @ nearby Hirapur village
Vaital and Sisireshwar temples are adjacent to each other and enclosed within an irregular compound wall. It is unfortunate that this small complex is so tight in space that photography around Sisireswar temple is impossible. Only south side of this 8th century temple, said to be built in same architectural form as that of Parashurameswar temple , is accessible to photographers ! Rich carvings of this wall is a delight to watch. It is unfortunate that a green sprawling site that ASI has developed for RajaRani temple is not possible here, not even one like Parashurameswar temple.
View of the southern facade of Sisireswar temple. Richly carved,
it contains remarkable wall-reliefs of Ganesha and Lakulisha.
11.6m tall Vaital temple is unique in many respects . It has a semi-cylindrical roof - known as 'khakhara' - which can be compared with an inverted boat or a Gopuram of Southern temple architecture. Nataraja-Surya combination on the wall above the Jagmohana is unique - the details themselves deserve a separate blog !Also unique are the wall-reliefs of 6-armed 'MahishaMardini' , 4-armed Shivani and Uma-Maheswar . I found a 'ArdhaNareeswar' on Vaital temple's wall which I did not come across anywhere else @ Bhuvaneswar.
Huge wall-relief above the Jagmohana of Vaital temple. On top,
8-armed ithyphallic Nataraja ,Devi on his left, Nandi staring upwards.
Below, Surya on his 7-horses chariot with his 2 consorts.
Mythical animals including Capricorns,elephants, hermits, amorous couples and others adorn this wonderful wall-relief.
A very well-known Uma-Maheswara wall-relief.
Siva ithyphallic 4-armed, with a round object in his lower right hand.
Parvati sitting close to him - not on his left thigh. Both the postures are comparable to a similar wall-relief of Parashurameswar temple.
Some of the stories on the walls remained a puzzle to me. One of them is here , where we find hermits engaged with women, at least two among whom are equipped with arms !