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64 yogini temple hirapur -Odisha

64yogini temple

Dating back to the 9th century AD, the 64 Yogini shrines give a glimpse of the religious and occult practices of medieval times. Today only four of the architecturally distinct 64 Yogini shrines survive in India. Out Of them two are in odisha and one of them at Haripur,Bhubaneswar.Odisha

The Hirapur Temple of Odisha is built of coarse sand stones blocks with literate stones in its foundation. While its Yogini are curved from fin grained grey chlorinate. The inner walls of this circular pavilion or Chandi Mandapa,30 feet in diameter built of coarse sandstone and has barely 8 feet high walls containing 64 inches to house the sculptures of yoginis(2feet hight). The Haripur Yoginis are extraordinary beautiful figures with exquisite features and sensuously formed bodies.
The Yogini traditions are tantric in nature and therefore have strong connections to rural and tribal traditions. However references about these deities have been found in puranic literature too. That the cult of sixty-four yoginis was widely prevalent is evident from several lists of sixty-four yoginis recorded in different texts. The Kalika purana,Skanda purana, Brihadnandikeswara Purana, Cansatha yogini namavali, chandi purana of Sarala Das, Durgapuja, Brihndla Tantra, Bata Avakasa of Balaram Das and other texts contain the list of sixty-four yoginis.
They are: – –

1. Chhaya, 2. Maya, 3. Narayani, 4. Brahmayani, 5. Bhairavi, 6. Maheswari,7. Rudrayani, 8. Baseli,9. Tripura,10. Ugratara, 11. Charchika, 12. Tarini,13. Ambika Kumari, 14. Bhagabati, 15. Nila,16. Kamala, 17. Santi, 18. Kanti, 19. Ghatabari,20. Chamunda, 21. Chandrakanti, 22. Madhavi,23. Kachikeswari, 24. Anala, 25. Rupa,26. Barahi , 27. Nagari , 28. Khechari ,29. Bhuchari, 30. Betali, 31. Kalinjari,32. Sankha, 33. Rudrakali, 34. Kalavati, 35. Kankali, 36. Bukuchai, 37. Bali, 38. Dohini,39. Dwarini, 40. Sohini, 41. Sankata Tarini, 42. Kotalai, 43. Anuchhaya, 44. Kechamukhi Samuha, 45. Ullaka, 46. Samasila, 47. Mudha, 48 Dakhinai, 49. Gopali, 50. Mohini,51. Kamasena, 52. Kapali, 53. Uttarayani,54. Trailokya Byapini, 55. Trilochana,56. Nimai , 57. Dakeswari , 58. Kamala ,59. Ramayani, 60. Anadi Shakti,61. Balakshatrayani, 62. Brahmani, 63. Dharani 64. Matangi.

Mythology apart, the origin of the Yoginis appears to be in small, rural villages. They are local village goddesses, grama devatis, who look over the welfare of an individual village. Through Tantrism, these local deities were able to gain new forms and vitality as a group of goddesses who could impart magical powers to their worshipers.

In the villages of Odisha, the Yoginis are the favored deities. Each gram devi, be she Ramchandi, Shyamkali, Harachandi, Tarini, Viraja, Bhagavati, Durgamata, Sarala, Bhadrakali, Kamakhya, Bhabani, Mangala etc., presides over the welfare of the village. These village goddesses seem to have been gradually transformed and consolidated into potent numerical groupings of sixty-four (sometimes eighty-one, sometimes forty-two) acquiring thereby a totally different character. It was Tantricism that elevated these local deities and gave them new form and vigor as a group of goddesses who could bestow magical powers with a view to the destruction of enemies.

There are four main traditions that are associated with the cult of the yoginis and how they developed from their tribal beginnings and became integrated into orthodox beliefs.All four of the traditions revolve around the idea that the yoginis were minor divinities to greater goddesses.

  • The first tradition is the idea of the yoginis as aspects of the Devi or Great Goddess. The yoginis were said to be formed from different parts of the Devi, including: her voice, sweat, navel, forehead, cheeks,lips, ears,limbs, toe nails, womb, and her anger.
  • The second tradition is the idea that the yoginis are attendant deities of the Great Goddess. This tradition is thought to have developed from earlier tradition of Siva and his gana attendants.
  • The third tradition focuses on the yoginis as acolytes of the Great Goddess: the matrukas. This tradition describes the yoginis as being born of eight mothers and formed into eight groups.
  • The fourth and final tradition centers on the thought of the yoginis as patrons of the goddess of the Kaulas.
  • Yogini Worship

    The worship of 64 Yoginis in Orissa started at around 800 AD and flourished till 1300 AD . The cult is influenced by Tantrik rituals and a great deal of the worship was conducted to achieve powers of black magic. The number 64, being a multiple of 8, was considered to have magical powers in the numerology of India. Devotees who performed this worship were known to conduct the Shava Chhedan ceremony — meaning the beheading of a dead body as the ultimate symbol of detachment from earthly desires. The members of this cult never harmed living beings and never conducted animal or human sacrifices.

    Until 1500 AD, there are references in history to the widespread following of this cult. Yogini worshippers would ask for corpses from poor families with a promise of a grand funeral and provide this after their Shava or corpse ritual was over.

    In Yogini worship, the Tantrik symbol is a chakra with 64 spokes in the wheel. Each spoke represents one Yogini a form of Shakti. In most of the well-conserved temples, the sculptures of Yoginis are intact and none of them are erotic as in other temples. This is because this cult did not believe in sex as a path to self discovery.

    But in later centuries, out of scary nature of the rituals and because of the growing stronghold of the Bhakti movement all over India — which preached love of god as the finest path to self realization — this cult died a slow death, and remained only in small pockets of India. Thus, today, several Yogini temples are dilapidated and neglected . However the element of fear still persist and even tourists are scared to enter the precincts of the Yogini temples.
    However, Yogini temples in Hirapur, Ranipur Jharial are in excellent conditions even today.

    64 Yogini Temple,Hirapur Culture and Architecture
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Placing the main deity in a dark and hidden chamber like a baby inside a womb has been the custom of the Hindu temples since ages. However the Yogini temples do not follow this practice and their monuments are open to sky. The Yogini temples are usually constructed with a circular cloister, except one temple, the rectangular Yogini temple at Khajuraho. In many such temples, an open shrine in the center of the circle dedicated to either Shiva or Bhairava is also found. Yogini cult is a heterodox sect hence it is expected that their monuments do not follow common Hindu temple architecture

    Now coming to the most famous yogini temple of Odisha -The Yogini Temple at Hirapur, also known as the “Mahamaya Temple”, has an ambiance that is quite charged. The temple conveys an impression of the overwhelming power of its sixty-four Yoginis. Mahamaya, the presiding deity of the temple is found adorned with red cloth and vermilion. The deity is still worshiped by the local villagers.

    The Hirapur Temple is the smallest of the Yogini temples in India. It measures only thirty feet in diameter, and is hardly eight feet high. The temple is built of coarse sandstone blocks with laterite as its foundation. The Yoginis are carved out of fine-grained gray chlorite. The inner walls of the temples have sixty-four niches with sixty Yoginis still in place.

    The credit for building the Yogini temple of Hirapur goes to the Bhauma and Somavamsi rulers of Odisha / Orissa who were known for their tolerance, liberality and eclecticism. During this period, there was a gradual amalgamation of Shaivism (worship of Shiva), Shaktism (worship of the Mother Goddess) and the Vajrayana, or Tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism in the region. It is believed that the Yogini Temple at Hirapur was built towards the end of the Bhauma rule, in the 9th century A.D.

    Though yogini cult has seen a diminishing phase and hardly we find the mention of yoginis these days, it is an accepted truth that these once ruled the roost in Orissa and have contributed immensely towards the spiritual and architectural growth of Orissa.

    How to reach:

  • Distance from Bhubaneswar: 15k.m.
  • Direction: Bhubanswar> Uttara> Haripur
  • Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
  • Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
  • (Src :- orissaonline)


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