Belongs to the Khakhara order

The Vaital Temple (c. AD 800) belongs to the Khakhara order (a subdivision of the Kalinga school of architecture), which was used for shrines devoted to tantric cults. On the Vaital Temple, the outer surface of the vault is absolutely plain, in contrast with the heavy sculptural embellishment of every other existing Orissan temple tower. 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. Tantric worship, which combined elements from certain sects of both Buddhism and Hinduism, centered on the worship of shakti, the female life force. The interior of the Vaital Temple's inner sanctum is almost completely dark. In front of the entrance to the sanctum is a 'four faced' linga adorned with unusual carvings. On the outer, eastern face of the tower there is an extremely fine image of the sun god (Surya) with a sensitive and beautiful face. The first erotic sculptures known in Orissan art are found here, in a sunken transitional panel on the super-structure.