The Chausath Yogini Temple, Mitaoli, MP - dedicated to 64 forms of Durga

 Chausath Yogini Temple, Madhya Pradesh.

The Chausath Yogini Temple, close to the Narmada river in Mitaoli of  Morena district MP is dedicated to Goddess Durga and  64 Yoginis who are considered to be her different forms, The Yogini images have been carved intricately and they belong to three different historical periods. Some belong to the Kushana period - some to the post-Gupta period and others to the Kalachuri time (10th-13th century). The temple atop a small hill (height 100 ft) that is accessed by  a series of 108 steps, is a popular one that attracts lots of devotees far and wide.   It is a declared ancient and historical monument by the ASI - The Archaeological Survey of India which manages it. It is 40 km from Gwalior city. 

Built during Kachchhapaghata reign (10th Century CE), the temple has a circular plan with a diameter of about 170 feet  and  65 chambers, each dedicated to one Yogini and the goddess Devi. The open mandapa in the center of a circular courtyard is dedicated to  God Shiva. It is said to be one of the well-preserved Yogini temples in India. The temple also goes by the name of  Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple. This Yogini temple is believed to have been built during the 10th century during the Kalachuri reign. Unlike other temples here  the wall exterior was decorated with statues of couples flanked by maidens, but most of them are lost or damaged by vandals.

The term 'Yogini' is widely used in Buddhism as well as in Hinduism and refers to a female practitioner of Yoga who is also an enlightened guide or guru. The term is also associated with the sacred feminine force or a secret cult It is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and is said  to have taken the form of eight matrikas or of 64 Yoginis. There  are many temple across India dedicated to the feminine force - Yogini.  

Chausath Yogini Temple.MP.

Chausath Yogini Temple, MP.

Chausath Yogini Temple, Madhya Pradesh.

What is unusual about  the temple is all the niches or chambers in circular form are  hypaethral, with out roof and are open to the sky supported by thickened walls integrated in the wall (pilasters), a load bearing design. The courtyard is also open with an open entrance porch.   This is because they were designed for communion with yoginis, thought to be capable of flight. Their bodies are described as beautiful, but their heads are often those of animals. The temple here was once the venue of he venue of imparting  education in astrology and mathematics based on the transit of the Sun.