Representing the Khakhara order of the Kalinga School of architecture, the Vaital temple of 8th century A.D. is one of the oldest temple of Orissa and one of the rare temples in the entire country that was used as a shrine devoted to tantric cult. The deul (tower) of the temple is the most striking feature of the temple. Built in a rectangular shape and positioned at a right angle to the Jagmohana (porch), the temple bears an affinity to the Dravidian gopuram of the South India temples. The roof vault is brought about from earlier freestanding buildings made up of wood and thatch. The outer surface of the vault is plain, in contrast with the heavy sculptural embellishment of every other existing Oriya temple tower. The shape of the more common Temple form has not been ignored, however; it has been carefully inserted, in miniature form, on the four corners of the Vaital Temple`s jagmohana (porch). A brief glance at the Vaital Temple projects an accomplished style of sculptural decoration. The medallion in the upper Chaitya-window houses a 10-armed Nataraja or dancing Shiva. In front of the flat roofed jagamohana is a stone post relieved with two Buddha like figures seated in dharma-chakra-pravartana mudra. Another striking feature is temple's tantric associations, marked by eerie carvings in the sanctum and the image enshrined in the central niche, eight armed Chamunda, locally known as Kapalini, is the terrifying form of goddess Durga. Thus Vaital Deul is a Sakta shrine.
The interior of the Vaital Temple`s inner sanctum is completely dark, in tandem with the esoteric rites believed to have been performed there. The temple deity of Chamunda (tantric form of the Hindu goddess Durga) is fairly visible behind her grille, portrayed with a garland of skulls around her neck, seated on a corpse, flanked by an owl and a jackal. Her cadaverous body, sunken eyes, and shrunken belly are quite remarkable in creating a terrifying atmosphere. The 15 niches, which adorn the interior wall around her, are also filled with a series of singularly strange images. In front of the entrance to the sanctum is a `fourfaced` linga adorned with unusual carvings. Next to it is a post, to which sacrificial offerings were tied. The entire atmosphere is weird. On the outer, eastern face of the tower (back, thankfully, in the sunlight), there is an extremely fine image of the sun god, Surya, with a sensitive and beautiful face. He is flanked by Usha and Pratyusha, twin sisters of the dawn, while his chariot is driven by Aruna. The first erotic sculptures known in Orissan art are found here, in a sunken transitional panel on the super-structure. It has been suggested that these images, which are a sort of catalogue of positions, had real relevance to the tantric rituals of this particular temple. Once presented here, they acquired the force of convention and temple builders in later centuries may have accepted them as a standard part of the temple decoration repertoire.