Baitala deuala or Vaitala deuala (Odia: ବଇତାଳ ଦେଉଳ) is an 8th-century Hindu temple in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, India, dedicated to Goddess Chamunda in the typical Khakara style of Kalinga architecture. Tini-mundia deula is another name for it because of the three spires on top, which are very distinctive and unusual features. The three spires are thought to represent the goddess Chamunda’s three powers: Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Mahakali.
The striking feature of Baitaḷa Deuḷa Temple is the shape of its sanctuary tower. Its semi-circular roof is a prime example of the Khakhara order of temples, which is similar to the Dravidian Gopuram found in South Indian temples. Its gabled towers, punctuated by a row of Shikharas, reveal unmistakable signs of southern intrusion. The deuala’s plan is oblong, and the Jaganmohan is rectangular, but there is a small subsidiary shrine embedded in each angle. Baitala deuala boasts of some figures that, despite being executed in relief, are distinguished by delicacy of features and perfect equipoise.
Panels portraying Hindu deities, notably Shiva and his consort Parvati, hunting processions, catching wild elephants, and the rare sexual pair, adorn the outside walls.
The lower chaitya window has a carved figure of the sun god, Surya, with Usha (Dawn) and Pratyusha throwing arrows on either side and Aruna in front, driving a chariot of seven horses, and the upper one has a carved figure of the sun god, Surya, known for its facial expression.
A 10-armed Nataraja, Shiva’s dancing form, is shown in the medallion in the upper Chaitya window. A stone pillar with two Buddha-like figures seated in Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana mudra stands in front of the flat-roofed Jagamohana.
The temple’s Tantric links are very prominent, as seen by spooky carvings in the sanctum. The fearsome form of the goddess, eight-armed Chamunda, locally known as Kapaini, is housed in the middle niche. Baitala Deuala is thus a Shakti shrine.
Chamunda or Charchika, the presiding deity, sits on a corpse flanked by a jackal and an owl and adorned with a garland of skulls. She is piercing the demon’s neck with a snake, bow, shield, sword, trident, thunderbolt, and arrow. A chaitya window with sitting images of Shiva and Parvati crowns the niche.
Chamunda is flanked by a slew of smaller allied deities carved into the lower walls, each in their niche separated by a pilaster. The skeleton form of Bhairava, Chamunda’s counterpart, is shown on the east wall, to the right of the door. The other, engraved on the north wall, emerges from the ground, his skull-cup filled with the blood of a person whose severed head is on the right. A jackal eating on the severed victim on the right and a woman clutching ahead on the left flank an offering of two more heads on a tray sitting on a tripod on the pedestal.
The stone pillar in front of the Jaganmohan, to which sacrificial gifts were fastened, adds to the temple’s tantric nature. Although the early morning sun illuminates the interior, artificial light is required to see in the darkness.