Chausath Yogini Temple, Hirapur

The Chausath Yogini Temple (64-Yogini Temple) of Hirapur,[1] also called Mahamaya Temple, is 20 km outside Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state of Eastern India.[2] It is devoted to the worship of the yoginis, auspicious goddess-like figures.

Chausath Yogini Temple
Chausath Yogini Mandir
Chausath Yogini Temple - Outside.JPG
FestivalsKali Puja
Country India
Chausath Yogini Temple, Hirapur is located in Odisha
Chausath Yogini Temple, Hirapur
Location within Odisha
Geographic coordinates20°13′35.454″N 85°52′32.141″E / 20.22651500°N 85.87559472°E / 20.22651500; 85.87559472Coordinates: 20°13′35.454″N 85°52′32.141″E / 20.22651500°N 85.87559472°E / 20.22651500; 85.87559472
Elevation17 m (56 ft)

Religious aspectEdit

Hirapur's yogini temple is a tantric shrine,[3] with hypaethral (roofless) architecture as tantric prayer rituals involve worshipping the bhumandala (environment consisting all the 5 elements of nature - fire, water, earth, air and ether), and the yoginis believed to be capable of flight.

The yogini idols represent female figures standing on an animal, a demon or a human head depicting the victory of Shakti (Feminine power). The idols express everything from rage, sadness, pleasure, joy, desire and happiness.[2] The number 64 finds its reference in Hindu mythology in forms such as Kālá for time, Kalā for performing arts etc.

Such temples dedicated to yoginis, although rare, are also seen at Ranipur-Jharial site of the Balangir district in Odisha and seven other places in India.


The temple is believed to have been built by Queen Hiradevi of the Bramha dynasty during the 9th century.[4]

The legend behind the temple, according to local priests, is that the Goddess Durga took the form of 64 demi-goddesses to defeat a demon. After the fight the 64 goddesses, equated with yoginis, asked Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure.[2]

The temple complex is now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.

Kalapahad, a converted Muslim general of 16th CE is believed to have attacked this temple as well and broken the Murtis. He is famously known as the destroyer of Puri and Konark temples.[5]


The temple is small and circular, only 25 feet in diameter.[6] It is hypaethral, and built of blocks of sandstone. The inside of the circular wall has niches, each housing the statue of a Goddess. 56 of the 64 idols, made of black stone, survive. They surround the main image at the centre of the temple, the Goddess Kali, who stands on a human head, representing the triumph of the heart over the mind. Some historians believe that an idol of Maha Bhairava was worshipped in the Chandi Mandapa.[4] The temple seems to follow a mandala plan in a way that concentric circles are formed while a Shiva at the center inside the inner sanctum is roundly surrounded by four Yoginis and four Bhairavas.[7][8]

The circle is reached via a protruding entrance passage, so that the plan of the temple has the form of a yoni-pedestal for a Shiva lingam.[9]

The Yogini images depict standing goddesses and their animal vehicles (vahana). The Yoginis are naked but for their bejewelled girdles, from which hang flimsy skirts that can be made out as a light decoration on their legs; they are adorned with bracelets, armlets, necklaces, and anklets.

The scholar István Keul writes that the yogini images are of dark chlorite rock, about 40 cm tall, and standing in varying 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.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Orissa Review, Government Gazette". Orissa Review. Home Department, Government of Orissa. 43: 30. 1986.
  2. ^ a b c "Chausathi Yogini Temple – A Place of Wondrous Occult - Sand Pebbles Tour N Travels". Sand Pebbles Tour N Travels. 15 June 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Yogini temple of Hirapur". The Hindu. 17 October 2003.
  4. ^ a b Saravanan, V. Hari (2014). Gods, Heroes and their Story Tellers: Intangible cultural heritage of South India. Notion Press. ISBN 9384391492.
  5. ^ "Chausath Yogini Temple Hirapur – A 9TH CE GEM OF ODISHA". Anuradha Goyal. February 2020.
  6. ^ Dehejia 1986, p. 10.
  7. ^ Hatley 2007, p. 113.
  8. ^ a b Keul 2012, pp. 367–369.
  9. ^ Hatley 2007, p. 112.


External linksEdit