From a pillar mandapam in Ekambareswar temple, Kanchipuram.
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!)
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.
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.