December 26, 2015

Baital Deula - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Baital Deula Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple related to Tantric cult
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: An important temple related to Tantric cult
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: There are many options across the city
Restaurants: Varieties of options

Bhubaneswar is not only about the gigantic Lingaraja temple or the architectural marvels such as Raja Rani temple or Parasurameshwar temple. The city has a lot more to offer for any enthusiastic and art loving traveler or devotee. The city, which is the capital city of Odisha (formerly Orissa) state of India, is called as 'the City of Temples'. It once had around 3000 temples and even today hundreds of temples are located in every nook and corner of this heritage rich city. Let us explore a very unique and ancient temple related to Tantric cult called as Baital Deula temple in this article.


Baital Deula temple a.k.a. Tini Mundia Mandira is a fine example for the occult practice that was prevailing in Odisha. The temple is located at the outskirts of Bhubaneswar city. It is located on the left side of the road leading from Mausima chowk to Badehibanka chowk. 


The temple belongs to the 8th century CE and was built by the Bhaumakara rulers

The Bhaumakara Kings ruled Odisha between the 8th and 10th centuries CE. They were originally Mahayana Buddhists and were later converted into Shaivism. In fact, the period of Bhaumakara rulers brought a new era in the religious and architectural history of Odisha. Shaktism and the tantric cult made its appearance in Odisha only during their period. It appears that the Bhauma queens patronized the tantric culture and many Shakti shrines were constructed in their period. 

Baital Deula is an important temple among the Tantric shrines. It might have been built by the Bhauma queen Tribhuvana Mahadevi who was also called as Katyayini. The actual name of the temple is Kapalini temple. The temple is a Tantric temple which were worshiped by Kapalikas and Tantriks. The temple was called as Vaital temple by the locals, which was probably derived from the word 'Vetal' which means spirit. 

In Odisha, the alphabet 'V' is generally pronounced as 'B'. Hence, the Vaital temple became Baital temple.


The east facing Baital Deula temple has a rectangular vimana with semi-cylindrical shape roof and Jagamohana enclosed by an irregular compound wall. It shares the compound wall with a nearby Sisireswarar temple. Its vimana is a good example for Khakhara order of vimana. This vimana slightly resembles the Dravidian Gopuram style. The Jagamohana is flat roofed and has miniature rekha shrine at each corner of the four sides. The temple is triangabada in elevation. 


The presiding deity of the temple is Chamunda. She is also called as Charchika or Kapalini. She is in a terrifying form. The idol is actually a relief image carved in the central niche inside the main shrine. She sits on a corpse which is flanked by a jackal and an owl. She has emaciated body (literally skeleton) with sunken belly, sunken eyes and open mouth. She wears garland of skull and has serpent on her head. She has eight arms and holds snake, bow, shield, sword, trident, thunderbolt and arrows. The neck of a Rakshasa is pierced in the arrow. 

The carvings of Shiva and Parvati in the seated posture are found in the back side of Chamunda. A small carving of Lakshmi is found above Chamunda.

The interior is very dark. Chamunda is surrounded by many ferocious idols. I am sure one who visits the temple alone might get a fearsome experience.

Other Deities:

The Chamunda niche is surrounded by few smaller sized deities carved in the lower parts of the walls. Each deity is found within a niche and each niche is separated by a pilaster. 

Ganesha, Sapta Matas (the seven female deities), Veerabhadra, Bhairav, Shivaduti, Mahakala, Abhalakapeswara and Kuber. All these deities are found in the sitting posture and their respective mounts are found along with them. 

Shivaduti is a female deity. It is rare to find eight female deities together (along with Sapta Matas). 

Chamunda is one of the seven Matas. She is found in the central niche whereas the other six Sapta Matas are in the side walls. 

Bhairav is not in his usual posture. Similar to Chamunda, his body is also emaciated with sunken belly and is looking ferocious. 

Abhalakapeswara is a form of Shiva. He is found under the serpent and is in the sitting posture. More than Shiva, he resembles Jain Tirtankara.

Mahakala is another form of Shiva who is found seated on a corpse.

Designs and Carvings:

The outer walls of temple have many panels of deities mostly related to Shiva and Shakti in different forms. Some sculptures depict the erotic couples and few scenes like hunting processions or capturing the wild elephants. Also, so many Nayikas are found in different postures all over the outer wall. 

Few notable carvings on the Jagamohana include Surya with Usha and Pratyusha shooting arrows on his either sides and Arun in his front side driving the chariot of seven horses. There is also a beautiful carving of ten armed Nataraj. 

One more important sculpture found in the outer wall is MahisasuramardiniMahisasuramardini has eight arms. She holds sword, trident, thunder bolt, Trisula, shield, bow and snake. The buffalo headed demon Mahisa is lying down under her feet. The mount lion bites the right elbow of the demon whereas the snake in the arms of Goddess draws out the tongue from the mouth of the demon.

Another important sculpture found in the outer wall is of DurgaDurga has four arms and holds japamala, trident, khadga (a type of sword) and a vase in her arms. Above her head, two flying Vidyadharas are found. Two female attendants flank her.

Some of the other designs and sculptures on the outer walls of the main shrine and Jagamohana include jali pattern, scroll works, elephants, lions, Ardhanareeswara, Lakulisa, Vidyadharas and Mithuna figures.

In front of the Jagamohana, there is a stone post where the sacrificial offerings were made in the olden days. Also, there are two pillars with few carvings. One of the carvings is Eka pada Bhariav, Bhairav with single leg. (In South India, he is form of Shiva and is called as Eka pada murti).

Happy travelling.

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