November 16, 2015

Chausathi Yogini Temple (64 Yoginis) - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Chausathi Yogini Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple related to Tantric cult
Location:   Hirapur, 20 kms from Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: A unique hypaethral temple for 64 Yoginis; distinct circular structure
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: There are many options across the city
Restaurants: Varieties of options 

Bhubaneswar is not only about the gigantic Lingaraja temple or the architectural marvels such as Raja Rani temple or Parasurameshwar temple. The city has a lot more to offer for any enthusiastic and art loving traveler or devotee. The city, which is the capital city of Odisha (formerly Orissa) state of India, is called as 'the City of Temples'. It once had around 3000 temples and even today hundreds of temples are located in every nook and corner of this heritage rich city. Let us explore a very unique temple called Chausathi Yogini temple in this article.


Introduction:


The 64 Yogini temple a.k.a. Chausathi Yogini temple is a fine example for the occult practice that was prevailing in Odisha. The temple located in a village named Hirapur near Bhubaneswar city is one of the four unique Chausathi temples that exist in India today. The other three temples are located in Ranipur/Jharial in Odisha, Khajuraho and Jabalpur. 

The temple does not tower, Vimana, Jagamohana or any other typical temple structure. It is constructed as a hypaethral structure (meaning, without roof/ceiling). The temple is a circular structure enshrining the sculptures of 64 Yoginis in the niches. 


History:

It is believed that the temple was built by the Queen Hira Devi of Bhauma dynasty in the 9th century CE. She was the consort of Shanti Kara II and the village is named after her.

The Bhaumakara Kings ruled Odisha between the 8th and 10th centuries CE. They were originally Mahayana Buddhists and were later converted into Shaivism. During their period, the tantric cult developed and many temples of tantric cult were constructed. 

Legend:

It is believed that the Yoginis are demi female deities, who serve the Goddess Kali a.k.a. Bhairavi. 

As per one version of the legend, the Goddess Durga took the form of 64 Yoginis to defeat a demon. After the battle, the 64 Yoginis requested Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure.


Temple Layout:

The temple has no tower, Vimana, Jagamohana or even roof. It is not Pancha ratha, Sapta ratha, rectangular or square on plan. It is a rare circular structured temple without any ceiling. The circular wall is around 8 feet high and around 90 feet in circumference. There are 60 niches on the circular wall which enshrine 60 Yoginis made of black chlorite. 

There is a central altar called as Chandi Mandapa. It has the three remaining Yoginis. One Yogini image is missing in this mandapa.


Yoginis are female deities found in different postures. Some of them have two arms and some of them have four arms. Each of them hold different weapons. Some of them are found standing on an animal, demon or human head. 

One particular Yogini among the 56 idols is worshiped as Maha Maya and nowadays the temple is locally called as Maha Maya Mandir.

Let me attempt to list down the names of Yoginis along with their mounts and postures to some extent.


  1. Chandika - four arms - standing on a demon
  2. Tara - two arms - standing on a demon
  3. Narmada - two arms - holding some object (not clear) on her left arm - standing on top of a small sized elephant
  4. Yamuna - fearsome figure similar to Kali - four arms - standing on tortoise
  5. Mananda - two arms - appears to be peaceful deity although the face is not very clear - standing on a flower
  6. Varuni - two arms - standing posture - no mount is found
  7. Gouri - four arms - standing on a lizard (probably lizard, as it is not clear)
  8. Indrani - two arms - standing on an animal which is probably an elephant
  9. Varahi - face is not clear - four arms holding weapons - standing on pig
  10. Padmavati - two arms - holding sword on her right arm - fearsome figure - standing on a serpent
  11. Ostagriva - four arms - standing on an animal which resembles horse (but not a horse, unable to identify)
  12. Vaishnavi - two arms - standing on a bird
  13. Pancha Varahi - two arms - standing on pig - the face is not damaged like other idols - looks very beautiful
  14. Badyarupi - two protruding teeth coming out - two arms - standing on a drum
  15. Charcika - two arms - beautiful face - standing on a demon
  16. Betali - four arms - standing on probably a big fish (not very clear)
  17. Chhinnamasta - four arms - standing on a human head
  18. Vindhyavasini - two arms - standing on an unidentified mount
  19. Jalakamini - beautiful idol - standing on an unidentified water animal - two arms
  20. Ghatabara - two arms holding some unidentified object above her head - standing on a small lion
  21. Kakarali - beautiful idol - two arms - her right leg bent in a dancing posture - standing on an unidentified animal
  22. Saraswati - four arms holding Veena - face looks fearsome and not the typical peaceful face of Saraswati - standing on probably a serpent
  23. Virupa - two arms - standing posture
  24. Kaveri - two arms - dancing posture - standing on a flower
  25. Bhalluki - two arms - holding some unidentified object on her right arm - standing on a plant
  26. Narasimhi - lion face - two arms - standing
  27. Viraja - two arms - standing on some unidentified water living being
  28. Vikatanayana - two arms - standing posture
  29. Maha Lakshmi - two arms - wearing garland - standing on a flower
  30. Kaumari - beautiful image - standing on peacock - two arms
  31. Mahamaya
  32. Rati - two arms - matted hair - standing posture (not the typical beautiful Rati)
  33. Karkari - two arms - standing on some unidentified water living being
  34. Sarpasa - four arms - standing posture
  35. Yosa - two arms - wearing a crown - standing on a four armed stand
  36. Aghora - very fearsome figure - two arms - standing on pig
  37. Rudrakali - two arms - standing on a bird
  38. Vinayaki - two arms - elephant faced - standing on an unidentified wild animal
  39. Vindyavalini - two arms holding bow and arrow - standing on pig
  40. Virakumari - four arms - standing on scorpio
  41. Mahesvari - beautiful idol - standing on probably a bull - two arms
  42. Ambika - standing on animal which looks like a mangoose - four arms - holding dumru in one arm
  43. Kamakshi - two arms - standing on a bird - beautiful idol
  44. Ghatavari - beautiful idol - standing on a small lion - two arms folded on her hip
  45. Stuti - four arms - standing posture
  46. Kali - two arms - standing posture
  47. Uma - four arms - standing posture - holding snake in one arm
  48. Narayani - two arms - standing posture - unique posture with a jar like material below her
  49. Samudri - beautiful idol - two arms - standing on a bird
  50. Brahmani - four faced - standing posture - four arms
  51. Jwalamukhi - lion faced - two arms
  52. Agnihotri - two arms - holding a sword above her head - standing on a small pig
  53. Aditi - two arms - beautiful idol - standing on a bird
  54. Chandrakanti - two arms - standing posture
  55. Vayubega - two arms - standing on an unidentified animal
  56. Chamunda - four arms - fearsome figure - wearing garlands of severed skulls - skeletal body - drooping breasts - holding severed head and a tiger - standing on a wild boar
  57. Maruti - two arms - standing on probably a deer
  58. Ganga - four arms - standing on Makara
  59. Dhumavati - two arms - crow as the mount - holding winnowing basket
  60. Gandhari - two arms - pig as the mount - head crowned with ornamental long feathers
  61. Ajita - two arms - dancing posture - deer as the mount
  62. Suryaputri - four arms holding bow and arrow - mount unidentified
  63. Vayuvina - four arms - standing posture - deer as the mount
One idol is missing. Please note that the names of 64 Yoginis are different as per few other Shaktism texts.

The Chandi Mandapa has the idols of ten armed Swachchanda Bhairav seated on a demon, the four armed Ekapada Bhairav and another ten armed Swachchanda Bhairav in the standing posture. 

The outer wall of the temple has the idols of nine Katyayanis. All of them are almost similar; they are found in the standing posture; the attendant girls are holding the umbrellas for them; two animals are found at their feet. They are all standing on severed human head.

The entrance has two idols identified as Kala and Maha Kala.

Happy travelling.


4 comments:

  1. Mesmerising. Thanks a lot. You have done a painstakingly job with lots of love. Great work and hoping to see more from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for encouraging words.

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    2. this is wonderful. I'll correct my list. But look at the leached salt on all the images. They were shiny stone in 2005.

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