The fascinating Chausathi 64 Yogini Temple - a great monument of Odisha

The Chausath Yogini temple in Odisha Flicker

64 Yogini #Temple: A Ninth Century #Monument, Odisha.
Chausathi Jogini Mandir (64 Joginis Temple) located in  Hirapur hamlet,  20 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state attracts lots of tourists as there are many monuments close-by. Built by the Queen Hiradevi of Bramha dynasty during the 9th century,  a series of temples is built in a circular fashion made of sand stone. Each one of them has a statue of goddess and there are
56 idols made of black granite. The main idol being Goddess Kali standing on a demon symbolic of  ''the triumph of the heart over the mind''. The  central altar called Chandi Mandapa has the remaining 8 Goddess idols on all 4 side.
/64 Yohinis, Hirapur, Odisha. /

The Yogini idols are depicted as  a female figurine standing on an animal, a demon or a human head implying  the 'victory of Shakti' (Feminine power). The idols show the whole gamut of human moods-rage, sadness, pleasure, joy, desire and happiness.  Such temples are also seen at Ranipur-Jharial site of the Balangir district in Odisha and seven other places in India. Chausathi Yogini" Temple was built by "Somabansi" kings. In eighth Century it was built for lord Shiv and for "Tantra Sadhana".
The Chausath Yogini temple in Odisha
One of the four famous Yogini temples in India, here  Sixty four Yoginis are worshiped on a close circular open vault. The circular open air structure is different  from the traditional  temple design and architecture of Odisha. The 64 Joginis Temple is a tantric temple, as tantric prayer rituals involve worshiping the bhumandala. The cult worshiped ''Pancha Boothas'' -the five elements - air, water, fire, earth and ether or sky, essential for survival.  The yogini cult,  that flourished between 5th century AD to 13 th century AD, practiced yoga along with tantrism. The primary object of worship was usually a Chakra or Wheel which had sixty four spokes, hence the name (Chausathi translates to sixty four in Odia). The number 64 finds  reference in the Hindu mythology in various forms viz Kālá for time, Kalā for performing arts, etc.The yoginis,  believed to be offshoots of the Saptamatrika,  are avatars (incarnations) of Shakti and  are depicted as highly-spirited and ebullient  and seem to  enjoy  life as they are rather than withdraw from it and remain isolated. The yoginis define and represent the ultimate feminine power.

The legend has it that  Goddess Durga once took  the form of 64 demi-goddesses in order to get rid of a troublesome demon. When Goddess Durga came out victorious after the  battle, the 64 goddesses (Yoginis) asked Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure.
An interesting fact about these Yogini temples is they are devoid of erotic carvings unlike the other Yogini temples of Odisha and Central India built at that point of time. The reason is  the creed of the cult, according to historians is '' celibacy is the path to salvation''. 

 Among the shrines here, the temple dedicated to Lord Someswar Siva is  one among a  group of about 50 temples here.  Indralath, the impressive brick temple is said to be the highest (20m high)  brick temple of Odisha. Mundpadar at a distance of 4kms is the nearest bus stop to reach Ranipur Jharial. The temple complex is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.