Ashta dikpaalas of Raja Rani Temple Bhubaneswar

The Rajarani temple (11th -12th C.C.E) of Bhubaneswar is one of the Kalinga temples well known for exquisite sculptures.

Like many other temples, this temple too has representation of the ashta dikpalas

Ashtadikpalas are the guardians of the 8 directions in Hinduism.

I have captured in my camera  5 or 6 of the dikpalas depicted in Rajarani temple during a recent visit. I missed the others due to the paucity of time and due to my failure to do some homework. (Or maybe I was overwhelmed by the beauty and grace of the sculpted female figures!)

Lord Yama with his Danda and noose on a buffalo

Lord Yama with his Danda and noose on a buffalo on the South

The four cardinal directions E, W, N, & S are ruled by Indra, Varuna, Kubera & Yama respectively. The ordinal (Intermediate) directions SE, SW, NE, & NW are guarded by Agni, Nirurti, Isana & Vayu respectively.

Varuna, Lord of the West, water and rain with a noose and crocodile

Varuna, Lord of the West, water, and rain with a noose and crocodile

Vayu rule the North West with an Ankush [prod]

Vayu rules the North West with an Ankush [prod]

Agni on a ram SE (the bearded figure on the bottom right)

Agni on a ram SE (the bearded figure on the bottom right)

Kubera, the Lord of wealth guards the North

Kubera, the Lord of wealth guards the North

Nirrti on the South West?

Nirrti on the South West?

Sometimes, these 8  are supplemented by 2 more directions – Urdhwa (Zenith) and Adho (Nadir) assigned to Brahma and Vishnu.

This concept of Dikpalas is applied in Vaastu Shastra, in temple and house architecture and also in town planning and layout.

Similar concepts also appear in Chinese and Buddhist philosophies. Not surprisingly it is also evident in countries like, Java, Bali, Cambodia etc which have Hindu influences.