The Konark Sun Temple is extensively recognized not only for its architectural magnitude but also for the superiority and richness of sculpture work. Every inch of the outer wall of Konark temple is beautifully carved with different stone sculptures. One particular kind of sculpture that catches the attention of every visitor on the outer walls of Jagamohana and Natamandira is the Yali. Yali is also known as ‘Vidala’ or ‘Vyala’ in Sanskrit language. Vidala is a mythical creature seen in many old Indian temples. It is represented as a figure comprising of part lion, part elephant, part horse, part tiger and in similar shapes of part animal/man figures. Vidalas are believed to be more powerful than the lion, the tiger, the horse, or the elephant because they carry different aspects of these animals. It is also believed that Yalis are carved on the temple walls to protect the temple from the evil eyes.
Some common forms of these Vidalas found in Indian temples are the simha-vidala (lion headed), the gaja-vidala (elephant headed), the ashwa-vidala (horse headed), the harina-vidala (deer headed), the mahisha-vidala (buffalo headed), the nara-vidala (human headed), the vanara-vidala (monkey headed) and the shwana-vidala (dog headed). During our last visit to Konark temple, we found three types of vidala sculptures on the outer walls, they are simha vidala, gaja-vidala and nara-vidala. The body part of the vidalas is almost similar but it is mainly their faces which differentiate one from the other, so a gaja-vidala has an elephant face, a simha-vidala has a lion face.
We have created below consolidated image of the three types of Vidala sculptures which we found on the outer walls of Konark Sun Temple to differentiate them appropriately in one image. The left image is of a Simha Vidala crushing an elephant, the middle image is of a Gaja Vidala crushing a man and the right image is of a Nara Vidala, which is very rare, crushing a warrior.
Apart from the above ones, we also found other sculptures of these three types of Vidala on Konark temple walls. Please find images of those vidala sculptures below.