Hirapur’s Chausath Yogini Temple (64-Yogini Temple), also known as Mahamaya Temple, is 20 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha in Eastern India. It is dedicated to the worship of the yoginis, goddess-like beings who are considered auspicious.
The aspect of Religious:
The yogini temple in Hirapur is a tantric shrine with hypaethral (roofless) construction because tantric prayer rituals include worshipping the bhumandala (environment made up of all five elements of nature – fire, water, earth, air, and ether) and yoginis who are thought to be capable of flight. The yogini idols depict female figures standing on the heads of animals, monsters, or humans, symbolizing Shakti’s victory (Feminine power). Rage, grief, pleasure, joy, desire, and happiness are all expressed by the idols. In Hindu mythology, the number 64 appears in various forms, such as Klá for time, Kal for performing arts, and so on. Yogini temples can also be found in Ranipur-Jharial in Odisha’s Balangir region, as well as seven other locations in India.
Queen Hiradevi of the Bramha dynasty is thought to have built the temple in the 9th century. According to local priests, the Goddess Durga took the form of 64 demi-goddesses to slay a demon at the temple. The 64 goddesses, who are equated with yoginis, begged Durga to build a temple in their honor after the battle. The Archaeological Survey of India now looks after the temple complex. Kalapahad, a 16th-century Muslim general who converted to Christianity, is said to have stormed this temple and destroyed the Murtis. He is infamous for destroying the temples of Puri and Konark.
The temple is modest and circular, with a diameter of only 25 feet. It’s hypaethral and made of sandstone pieces. The circular wall includes niches on the inside, each containing a Goddess statue. Sixty-six of the sixty-four black stone idols have survived. They encircle the temple’s primary figure, Goddess Kali, who stands atop a human head, symbolizing the triumph of the heart over the mind. According to some historians, the Chandi Mandapa once housed a Maha Bhairava idol. The temple appears to be built on a mandala layout, with concentric circles forming around a Shiva in the inner sanctum, who is encircled on all sides by four Yoginis and four Bhairavas. The temple’s plan has the shape of a yoni-pedestal for a Shiva lingam, with the circle accessible via a projecting entrance tunnel. Standing goddesses and their animal carriages are shown in the Yogini pictures (vahana). The Yoginis are completely naked except for their bejeweled girdles, from which hang thin skirts that serve as light ornamentation on their legs; they wear bracelets, armlets, necklaces, and anklets. The yogini images are 40 cm tall and made of dark chlorite rock, standing in various poses on plinths or vahanas, their animal vehicles; most have “delicate features and sensual bodies with slender waists, broad hips, and high, round breasts,” with varying hairstyles and body ornaments, according to scholar István Keul.