February 23, 2016

Jogmaya Temple, Delhi

Site Name: Jogmaya Temple
Site Type: Temple
Location:  Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: Historical significance

Nearest Railway Station: Delhi
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Delhi city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

Delhi, the capital city India, has so many interesting monuments. If you love history and monuments, you need at least four years to visit all the monuments in Delhi, provided you visit just one monument per day. Yes, there are about 1300 monuments in Delhi. Let us explore about one historically important site called Jogmaya Temple in this article. It may not be artistically interesting and cannot be called as monument. But it has an interesting history and few legends.


Jogmaya temple is located in a small lane hardly 400-500 meters from Qutb Minar in Mehrauli area of Delhi. 


You cannot find this site in the travel itinerary of any typical travel book or travel planner. This is not an architectural marvel. This is not very popular across the entire Delhi. Still, this temple has some interesting historical background and hence it is worth visiting.

People nowadays claim that this Yogmaya temple a.k.a. Jogmaya temple is dedicated to Maya, Lord Krishna's sister. (Those who  know the story of Krishna could recollect that Krishna's uncle Kansa was trying to kill a female infant, which took the form of Mother Goddess. She is Maya, Krishna's sister.)

What people claim does not seem to be correct. In the olden days, there was a Yogini temple located in the same site. The name Ýogini became Yogmaya of Jogmaya in due course of time. This has nothing to do with Maya, the sister of Krishna. This is a good example to know how some temple legends are formed in the recent times.

So, who is Yogini? Actually there are many Yoginis. It is believed that they are demi female deities, who serve Kali or Bhairavi. As per another theory, Durga took the form of 64 Yoginis to defeat a demon in a battle.

As per the legend, Yudhishtir, the first brother among the five Pandavas of Mahabharat epic, built a temple for Yogini in the current Mehrauli region. Due to this temple, Delhi, which was called as Indraprastha in those days, was also called as Yoginipura

Keeping aside the legend, it is true that there was a Yogini temple in the current site for many years. (It is said that some Muslim rulers used to destroy this temple and some Hindu Kings also rebuilt the temple. However, I am not sure if there is any historical evidence for that.)

The current temple was built during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar II. Who was Akbar II, you know? He was the father of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II. During his period, the British East India company was gaining more and more power fast. He ultimately became an Emperor for name-sake. 

Akbar II had a lot of debts to be paid and he was in extremely bad financial situation. Seth Sidhu Mal, a wealthy person from Chandni Chowk area, promised Akbar to pay lump sum and got his approval to build this temple. The original Yogini temple was in ruins and Seth rebuilt the current temple completely in the same site in 1827 CE.

The association of this temple with Akbar did not stop here. A British resident's bodyguard was shot dead by his son Mirza Jehangir. Mirza was exiled to Allahabad. Akbar's wife was extremely sad due to this and she wanted his son to be back to Delhi at any cost. Yogmaya appeared in her dream once. The queen vowed to place floral pankhas at her temple. She started the tradition of placing floral pankhas at Yogmaya temple and the nearby Muslim shrine of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. The tradition is followed every year even now. The popular festival is called as Phool Walon Ki Sair and is held for three days during October month every year.

Temple Structure and Layout

The temple has a simple contemporary structure with an entrance and the sanctum sanctorum. The circle shaped sanctum enshrines Yogmaya. The idol does not have any particular shape or form and is made of black stone. It is placed in a small marble well. A small Ganesha idols is also found in the sanctum. A small shikara (Vimana/tower) is found above the sanctum. 

The other idols made of marble appear to be recent period. The other idols that are found in the temple include:

  • Ram, Sita and Lakshman
  • Hanuman
  • Radha and Krishna
  • Santoshi Mata
  • Ganesha
  • Vishnu and Lakshmi
  • Bhairav
  • Kaliki

Happy travelling. 

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