Chaunsath Yogini temple

Chaunsath Yogini temple, 10th century, near Bhuvaneshwar:

The goddess, lesser known throughout the world but one of the most potent deities here, has long intriguied me. Though i am still reasonably unclear about her many forms, i am aware that Kali has ten forms called the ten mahavidhyas, though i dont quite know how the 64 yoginis fit into this pantheon.
The female form has played many roles, as shakti, as the goddess of fertility etc. but strangely few temples have been completely dedicated to Her.

This temple, better known as the Chaunsath Yogini temple, finds other references in the 64 shrines found around Khajuraho. I do not think i am completely equiped to talk about the many forms of the Goddess, but I do know that there is something entirely strange about this temple.

For one, this temple follows none of the old canons of architecture precribed in the holy texts, but is built on a circular ground plan quite unlike all the other temples that are square or complex versions of it. The central platform, possibly a shrine in the olden days is square and has no roof. This temple is not apsidal, therefore it does not have any remote connection with Buddhist influences. Its therefore very clear that these temples attributed to the Mother Goddess, were restricted to themselves and were not half as popular and well known as temples associated with male deities. There is one thing about this temple though, its plan can be very clearly associated with the aniconic symbol of Shiva, The linga with emphasis placed on the Yoni aspect.

Other interesting feature around this temple are that every male deity except Shiva are replaced by a female counterpart including Ganesha. The temple also hosts forms of Bhairava and Chamunda, who are better known as the fierce forms of Shiva and Kali. There definitely has been a lot of tantrik practices that have been taking place here for sure.

One of the most interesting and unique sculptures found here is that of "Ekapada Shiva" or the one legged Shiva. He is also known as Ajaikapada Bhairava. There are only two references to the presence of such a form, one here in Orissa and the other very strangely at Shore temple Mahabalipuram.

All in all, what ever the current state of the temple, it would have been very interesting to see the original form of this temple in completion as well as the potent sacrifices that were done here and the rituals practised here to appease the Goddess Chamunda!

Interestingly Chamunda has always been associated with Bhairava, even in the Vittal Deol temple in Orissa, better known as a remote temple that performed strange human sacrifices to appease this fierce form of the Goddess.


JC Joshi said...

At the first instant, I would like to give an extract from Takeo Kamiya's book, Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent:

"The unusual temple in Hirapur village 10 km from Dhauli, has no roof and is only a small shrine, surrounded by a circular wall. The outside of the wall has nine niches and the inside is lined with niches, in which are black statues of yoginis (a species of witches). These 64 witches are attendants of gods and are referred to by their number, chausatt."

kavitha said...

Hi Joshi uncle, the description is perfectly fine, but calling them witches is not right.

Witches in the western mind evokes negativity, but i think these yoginis are far from evoking negative values...

they are attendants and belong to the pantheon closely associated with the goddess chamunda and bhairava.

I would also like to bring one more thing to light, human sacrifice should not be considered a dark ritual in this case since its not like an aztec ritual.

Those who died there, offered themselves to the Goddess at their own free will and were not killed by a tantrik of sorts. that practise could have simultaneously existed but from all temple depictions its very evident that people held up their hair with one hand and cut of their heads with a sword in the other hand.

Hence i would like to make ti clear that these were not dark sacrifices involving witch craft but were completely devotional in nature, not necessarily the way we define it these days.

JC Joshi said...

Hi Kavitha,

I just indicated what a Japanese Architect had perhaps gathered from the present day locals during his visit to different temples in India...

To seek the logical communication intended in the advanced past through Yogini cult, as I had indicated elsewhere also, the centre of our galaxy (Krishna the one who wields the 'sudershan chakra' or ’black hole’) is believed by the Yogis - in human form - to be the 'Yogiraj' or the king of Yogis and is associated with numeral 8, which when placed in ‘Lord Vishnu in Yoga-nidra like reclining position’ indicates infinity. And, essences of eight members of the Solar system - perhaps ranging from Sun to planet Jupiter, centred at different point locations from Mooldhara to Sahasrara chakras, or Bandhas, i.e., locks., - were considered by them as the essence of the galaxy reflected in the human structure.

When each of these eight point sources of energy interacts with self and the seven others would result in eight into eight, i.e., sixty-four components of forces in eight directions in a hierarchical system. These sixty four ‘forms of Shakti’ or force were perhaps called 'Yoginis' or smaller units of 'Yogi'…

There doesn't reportedly appear to be uniformity in the numbers or their names as reflected through Puranas/ temples in different regions of the country. However, number 64 seems to have been generally accepted...

The square platform could represent the four Cardinal directions of earth or Shiva that receive energy from the Sun during one year in its movements from East to West and North to South between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Brahma believably had four faces… Egyptian Pyramids (literally meaning 'fire within'), and Vimanas in Hindu temples also have four faces oriented in the cardinal directions... Human body also is believed to have a soul (or fire) within. While meditating Hindus face directions East or North, i.e., they too took care to orient themselves properly to increase the quantum of energy within, i.e., 'elevate the soul' to infinity to merge with the Paramatma or the Supreme soul and thus reach the 'Absolute Truth'...

abhilash warrier said...


Me with my limited knowledge of temples, gods, goddesses, and art history, can see this temple looking like a shiva linga itself...

the door portion looks like the part from where the theertham flows out from the linga...

it does look like somebody wanted to show that shiva and mother goddess are so inseparable that you don't need to show the two deities together in one temple.

u worship shiva... u worship mother goddess... and vice versa.

also, human sacrifices. well, chamunda was supposed to love blood. so people used to sacrifice any live being...

most human sacrifices that occurred over a period of time where tantriks or people who practised occults sacrificed innocent or ignorant children... young children.

I agree with joshi uncle there.

there must have been few people who did cut themselves and offered themselves to the goddess.

but... those were rare then. those are rare now too.

you just need to see and realise. there are more ways than one to offer oneself to the Goddess.

abhilash warrier said...

one more thing...

when it rains... the temple may look like a linga made out of earth directly on the floor...

what say?

JC Joshi said...

Present day scientists are surprised to observe that sea tides are relatively low under the influence of Sun alone, and are inexplicably higher due to the combined effect of both Sun and Moon.

The ancient ‘wise’ Hindus appear to have gone much deeper into the mystery that creation appears even to the ‘most intelligent’ among humans in the present where human behaviour appears to be getting more and more erratic with the passage of time. This could be anticipated if one observed that the Hindu mythology states time to be moving backwards from Satayug to Kaliyug, in one thousand long-duration-cycles, with human efficiency decreasing from 100% to zero - such that the Kaliyuga ushers in Satyuga again and again. However, ‘life’ is believed to freeze when Brahma’s day ends after one thousand cycles and it is the beginning of the Creator’s night of a similar duration - to restart from the dormant state at the beginning of His new day…

The present day finding that the present Homo sapiens all over the world apparently had their origin in Africa perhaps conforms to the ancient belief…

And, as per them the life originally started from Kashi, the present day Varanasi as the abode of Adi Shiva (indicated as Earth-Moon)… The present day scientists believe the moon to have evolved from the earth, whereas the ancients indicate earth-moon as one system - Shiva-Parvati (Body and soul respectively) within the solar system (or sky), i.e., Mahashiva along with His companions, fire, air, and water…

Thus, one could notice that in the human body the solar plexus is located much lower to the location of moon in the head, the apparent cause of lunacy in certain humans!

With the above as background and the presence of 64 forms of yoginis or mostly dormant or unrealized/ unutilized forms of energy in each human body (which presently uses negligible percentage of brain cells available), i.e., an inferior reflection of Shiva-Parvati the ardhanarishwar, it can be easily visualized how, with different permutations and combinations of the forces, apparent miracles can be exhibited by the one and the only permanent Creator to His Own temporary infinite reflections at different apparent times!

Abhi, I hope the above is helpful in understanding the apparent drama of life that was understood as illusionary by the ancients.

Dr.Anil Joshi Pandharpur said...

what an informative exchange of views!Joshiji & Kavita I would like to know your viewson preservation techniques of ancient temples.

kavitha said...

hi dr. Anil
thanks for visiting my site. yes! joshi uncle is a complete asset to my blog. he has been so amazingly informative, a lot of us have really benefitted from him.

unfortunately am completely unaware about temple preservation. as a lay man i can simply say, the govt should stop painting temples in garrish colors and leave the original splendour as it was. secondly while renovating temples, the ASI should take a little trouble to rebuild the temples in teh same style as they were built during their time and not do the current style which is extremely over ornate.

one example is the Kailashnatha temple at kanchipuram whose vimana(roof over the sanctum) has be styled to this era and the original splendour of pallava architecture is completely killed. people should take trouble.. a little at least...


JC Joshi said...

Hi Dr Anil,

Before I attempt replies to your query, I would like to give the background how in order to interpret 'Durga's Kavach' or 'Shiva's Trishool' in the present day terminology, inspired by “Prevention is better than cure”, I have been pursuing 'research’, particularly wrt human 'health', and ‘welfare’ too, for some time... As it is a continuous process, I am still learning based on interaction with individuals... (I had started basically to prove that humans are reflections - ‘model of the universe’ as per ancient ‘Hindu’ belief or 'images' as per Bible - of the one and only creator, i.e., His ‘Maya’ or illusion!)

To cite a recent example, since August, my sister's grand daughter (under-weight for an 8 yr old) in Bangalore was reportedly suffering from Typhoid. As she been having fever again and again my sister went to help her daughter towards the middle of October...

At that stage she asked me to help. I asked my niece to send her daughter's photograph and particulars of her birth. Application of four gemstones here in New Delhi (at that stage of my knowledge) on her photo showed positive results. She became active and remained well for first three weeks of November and attended school. I applied another additional one when she reportedly had fever again although she remained active even when she had low fever. By first Dec. she was better again. Tests conducted by doctors didn't show why she was having temperature off and on...

Thereafter I have modified the gemstones- only ‘three’ in numbers of the modified ones have shown much better results, and even the doctor attending on her found some white material attached to her tonsils, one of which he removed, and as she didn't allow the doctor to remove the other one he asked them to make her gargle. She is reportedly alright now and has been able to take her school exams...

The only problem I have found with the majority of people I came across is non availability of birth particulars with them, i.e., particularly the time (IST) of birth - most people aren't sure, as perhaps no one cared to record it when they were born. I need these, and also a photograph, which may not necessarily be the latest - any old photo, irrespective of age when it was taken even if a recent one is not available. It could be of old passport-size, say... Next, I need to be kept informed, at least in the beginning and particularly if ill effects are observed. This generally happens if time had not been correctly recorded - it needs to be correct at least within the hour…

Kavitha might like to throw some light on the query in the meantime...

kavitha said...

Nice post on the Hirapur temple.

I recently read a fascinating book called "Mobius Strip" by Gita Thadani.
She writes of her travels (alone in a jeep) in MP and Orissa, searching for Yogini Temples. Some of the temples are in really remote locations which makes her journeys all the more interesting. What makes the temples even more intriguing is that not much is known about the societies or religious groups that patronized these temples. Most historians assume that they are
linked to Tantric cults that probably flourished around the 9th century.

Another theme of the book is the worship of female dieties in ancient India and how they were gradually replaced by male dieties. She discovers temples where images of female gods were defaced, mutilated, hidden, or replaced.
Incidentally, all Yogini temples originally had a "free centre". The
central Shiva platform was a later addition.

Courtesy: Amit (http://www.kaladarshana.com)

Thank you Amit!

IBH said...

i seem to be drawn to ur blog forever now :) I am a temple lover.but owing to the place am in now, can not make all these visits...so i am addicted to ur blog..keep them coming... I have blogrolled u..hope its fine!

anil joshi said...

dear kavitha,Pandharpur has many temples of historic importance.They are being painted & {?}renovated in exactly the words that you used,Gowry colours.There is a complete lack of awareness about this.A legal remedy must be sought on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kavita,

The blog becoming approachable today, I am posting the following directly.

Human form, as also all physical forms in the universe, are believed by the
'wise' ancients to be made up of the 'panchatatvas', i.e., earth, water,
air, fire and sky, with Shiva or the earth as one of these, also called
'panchbhootas. It was understood by them to be a temple of the living God
that contains within it the essence of the universe in the form of a 'soul',
a part of the one and only omnipotent and omnipresent Paramatma or the
Supreme soul or Naadbindu, a point source of energy.

Like the present day scientists have come to realize similarities between
the microcosm and the macrocosm, they explained the functioning of human
body - for the benefit of the lay man - with the help of the example of an
earthen pot or 'ghat' that holds potable water for various purposes. Thus,
one could realize that just as good quality water and properly baked earth;
replenishment of water at the right time as it gets consumed; proper
handling and maintenance of the pot and water from time to time; and so on,
are essential if the pot is required to give satisfactory service as long as
it lasts, similar care and discipline in human life also is necessary
throughout one's life.

In its function, the ancient Chinese Acupuncturists understood the human
structure similar to modern day electrical/ telephonic circuits. They
believed that ailments in human bodies manifest because the required cosmic
energy is unable to reach some or all vital organs (in chronic cases) due to
obstructions in the 'windows' in the outer skin that normally, in a healthy
body, lead it to the related channels in the internal tissues so that it
could then flow without hindrance.

Whereas, the Yogis in 'India' believed the Nirakar or the infinite energy
(omnipotent) or Yogiraj to lie locked, distributed according to their
hierarchy, at eight different point locations - representing the essences of
members of the solar system, or Yogis, from tail-bone end (Mooladhara) to
head (Sahasrara) within the human body and eight yoginis associated one each
in eight directions with each Yogi, thus resulting in sixty four yoginis
symbolically represented by different female forms, just as each human form
is, in the eyes of the Creator!

The yogic exercises attempted lifting the total energy to one point in the
head, i.e., integration of all the sixty four components of the original
point source of energy, when real time as well as space is realized as zero,
as apparently experienced by the enlightened ones in the past.

In the mythological stories concerning Krishna the Yogiraj, this apparently
is communicated through the incident related to death of seven siblings
before Krishna is born! Maybe, this feature was reflected in the reported
suicides, or sacrifice of some animals and humans by offering the head to
the main deity or Mahamaya... Mythological stories that inspire humans at
any time similarly for example also indicate 'ten headed Ravana', perhaps a
partially enlightened 'powerful' person in Tretayuga, to have offered to
Shiva nine of his heads that grew as soon as one was cut (indicating power
to perform 'miracles'), to retain the tenth one when Shiva, pleased with his
devotion to Him, offered a boon to him.

Regarding location of Hirapur temple, a scientist or a seeker could ask: why
its location in a village in the vicinity of Konark (Sun) temple?

Perhaps the answer wouldn't be that difficult once you visualize that like
in human form the solar plexus represents the essence of Sun, similarly its
location on the body of earth (Shiva) was realized to lie in that region (as
I had indicated it earlier also), which when combined with the Somrus or
Moonlight (no roof) could generate a scenario similar to the combined effect
of the two energies as on seawater during new or full moon!

JC Joshi said...

Sorry! The above has gone in the name of anonymous...

To more or less round up, I realized in recent times only why the story heard in my childhood - from a political worker - at the time India attained Independence evoked interest in me...

He gave the example of a father wanting to read the newspaper in peace. However his inquisitive child had been bothering him, asking (like the present day scientist!) questions: How, why,
when, where, and so on? The father made a number of pieces (maybe 64!) of the map of India that had appeared in the newspaper, jumbled them up and asked him to make India again! He thought this will allow him hours of freedom and peace!

But, after a few minutes only, the son was again demanding answers to his questions! The father, his eyes on an interesting news item, irritatingly asked him why he had not been doing the task assigned to him. He was shocked to learn that the young boy had already done it! He wanted to know how so
soon!? The child replied that it was an easy task as at the back of the map was printed a photo of a (poor) man - he made the man and India was automatically made!

As Dr Anil Joshi has intimated that the temples are already being painted in garish colours by the authorities concerned. I have a feeling that the ASI has good teams that undertake the renovation/ repair work etc., perhaps the authorities concerned could have consulted them before undertaking the work...

JC Joshi said...

Hi Kavitha,

Regarding ‘Ekapada Shiva’ or the one legged Shiva, or ‘Ajaikapada Bhairava’, let us look on one hand at our earth or Shiva of the ‘Satyam Shivam Sunderam’ fame, and on the other hand as the fearful Bhairava or the ‘Mrityulok’…

We know that every planet rotates around its own axis while also revolving around the sun... And, in Nature, the concept of someone ‘standing on one leg’ is best depicted through plant life...

Also, the mythological stories associate Shiva with ‘intoxicating’ materials. And, in the form of trees, the extract of flowers of coconut or palm trees provides toddy, a traditional social and local drink (reportedly called ‘Kallu’ in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and ‘Salphi’ in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, and so on). The juice has the same effect as drinking any alcoholoc beverage…

The second leg in humans perhaps represents moon’s axis (leg of Shiva’s ‘ardhangini’ or consort, Parvati, or His soul without which He, or any human being is incomplete)…

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Wendi said...

The personal development industry has never been bigger! It consists of a myriad of authors basically telling us how to improve our lives. We are constantly being told self help and self improvement has never been easier. New techniques, gadgets and potions adorn the shelves of new age shops and the 1 billion dollar industry, that is personal development, offers many different approaches to help better our lives. They offer ways to increase our bounty and ultimately alter our own reality. A great example of this is how to develop a Prosperity Consciousness. But does this state really exist and if it does will it bring the effortless unlimited wealth promised?
A lot has been written about prosperity and how to attain it. We have been told by many religious traditions and every personal development guru that the Universersal Source (God, Spirit, Cosmic Mind or whatever label you chose to give it) is boundless wealth. We are also told that abundance, wealth and prosperity are our birthright! Why then are so many people ill, broke, frustrated and unfulfilled? Can a person really develop a prosperity consciousness and effortlessly attract wealth? Well as with everything in life there is only one way to find out. Test it for yourself!

Before we can attain and then test the effectiveness of having a prosperity consciousness we need to understand some basic truths. Let's start by explaining three fundamentals of personal development namely; 1. The Universal Source is all wealth, abundance and prosperity; 2. Prosperity is our birthright; 3. You get more of what you focus on.

1. Why are we told that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth? - Because the Universal Source is the consciousness of the Universe - a universe that is still expanding. It is the driving force behind physical reality. It created everything you see, hear, touch and smell as well as all that we are unaware of (microwaves, radiation, air etc.). It has been stated in religious and metaphysical traditions that this intelligence is not only the Source of everything but that it is also the substance of it! It creates the Universe from itself! It is omnipresent (everywhere present). That means that the entire seen and unseen aspects of the universe are a part of this Universal Source. Science reaffirms this theory as it states that nothing is solid and everything is just one mass of pure energy that vibrates at different frequencies and gives the illusion of separateness.
So we can now claim that the Universal Source is unlimited wealth, abundance and prosperity with some belief. For if this Source is the very substance of everything then it is all the wealth, abundance and prosperity that exists at this very moment!
Ok so far? Now lets look at the second point - prosperity is our birthright.

2. If this Universal Intelligence is the source and substance of all things then there can be only one intelligence in the Universe. Jesus said to his disciples "know ye not that you are the temple of the living God?" Buddha attained enlightenment and "oneness". The list of these religious teachings are too numerous to mention but their message remains the same - God (Universal Substance) resides within and around us. It's very substance makes up our physical body and the world around us - "For in him we live, move and have our being" Acts17:28. Therefore, if this Universal Source is at the very core of our being and is the substance from which we take physical form then it stands to reason that we are connected to everyone else and in fact everything else around us - we are a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the universe. Just as your hand or foot is a part of your body, so every grain of sand, blade of grass, wisp of wind, bar of gold and brick that is laid in a mansion is part of you. The unlimited wealth of the universe is yours for the claiming. It is already yours, always has been and always will be. It is a part of you.
Ok let's go the third point - you get more of what you focus on.

3. "It never rains but it pours", is a saying I have used myself in the past. Have you ever wondered why such a statement appears to be true? Well metaphysics and religion tell us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" or as Job cried out to God "For that which I greatly feared has come upon me". What we focus our conscious attention on increases! Don't believe me? Test it for yourself! If you can muster up the strength to do it then think in negative terms for a week. Judge everything that happens to you in negative terms and think only of a negative outcome and watch what happens in your world!!! This is a relatively easy experiment as we are conditioned to think negatively by the world. A word of warning though - once you prove that your focus determines your reality stop thinking negative thoughts as best you can.
I will not go into the 'hows' of why our focus has such a profound influence on our lives (that would be the subject of a book or perhaps a future article) just prove to yourself that it does. A clue can be found in the teachings of Jesus when he said "The Kingdom of heaven is within".
So now we have the three principles of the prosperity consciousness explained let's put it to work. The attainment of a prosperity consciousness is relatively simple - just think on the first two principles until you fully understand them and integrate them into your consciousness. As you focus on them you will discover that your feelings of lack disappear and you begin to feel a connection with everything around you. It is really just an attitude shift - nothing metaphysical or mystical about it at all. You begin to consciously realize that everything is a part of you. Your focus changes from poverty to wealth.
If it helps make a list of affirmations that correspond to the two principles outlined e.g. "God is the Source and substance of everything", "I am at one with everyone and everything around me", "I am a part of all the wealth, abundance and prosperity of the Universe" etc. Don't just rhyme them off in a parrot like manner, think on them and realize the scientific or spiritual truths behind them.

Will it work? Well I can say now that if you follow the above instructions a real change will happen in you. You will start to see the beauty of the world and the unlimited resources that are available within and around you. Will you attain wealth, abundance and prosperity? Test it for yourself! personal-development.info

Anonymous said...

Joshi ji has given some interesting insight here....is he a scholar???

Chakravarthi said...

i have heard of a magnificient circular structure, radius 170 feet, at mitawali village of morena district, mp state. the inner circular wall is said to have 64 figurines engraved on it. the center of the circular complex apparently houses a shiva shrine. perchance have any of you heard of this, seen it? would be most interested to know...

FW Bunce said...

There are a number of Silpa-sastra, other than the Manasara and Mayamatam, that list square, rectangular, circular, apsidal and elliptical as proper forms for temples. There are myriad circular temples in Karnataka and Kerala, most dedicated to the Lord Shiva.

There are four hypaethral temples dedicated to the Chaunsath Yogini: the Chaunsath Yogini Temple at Hirapur, the Chaunsath Yogini Pitha at Ranipur-Jharial, the Chaunsath Yogini Sanctuary at Khajuraho (which is rectilinear) and the Chaunsath Yogini Mandir of Bheraghat.

There seems to be a tendency to refer to the Yoginis in modern day india, although they may also be referred to as Dakinis. As such--i.e., Yogini or Dakini--they are the eight attendants each to the Asta-Matrikas--hence 64 (chausat). WITCHES! They are not!

Do you know or does anybody reading this blog know to whom the nine exterior shrines are dedicated to? If anyone does, i would appreciate a reply to my Internet address:


Fredrick W. Bunce, M.F.A., Ph.D.

FW Bunce said...

There are a number of Silpa-sastra, other than the Manasara and Mayamatam, that list square, rectangular, circular, apsidal and elliptical as proper forms for temples. There are myriad circular temples in Karnataka and Kerala, most dedicated to the Lord Shiva.

There are four hypaethral temples dedicated to the Chaunsath Yogini: the Chaunsath Yogini Temple at Hirapur, the Chaunsath Yogini Pitha at Ranipur-Jharial, the Chaunsath Yogini Sanctuary at Khajuraho (which is rectilinear) and the Chaunsath Yogini Mandir of Bheraghat.

There seems to be a tendency to refer to the Yoginis in modern day india, although they may also be referred to as Dakinis. As such--i.e., Yogini or Dakini--they are the eight attendants each to the Asta-Matrikas--hence 64 (chausat). WITCHES! They are not!

Do you know or does anybody reading this blog know to whom the nine exterior shrines are dedicated to? If anyone does, i would appreciate a reply to my Internet address:


Fredrick W. Bunce, M.F.A., Ph.D.

FW Bunce said...

There are a number of Silpa-sastra, other than the Manasara and Mayamatam, that list square, rectangular, circular, apsidal and elliptical as proper forms for temples. There are myriad circular temples in Karnataka and Kerala, most dedicated to the Lord Shiva.

There are four hypaethral temples dedicated to the Chaunsath Yogini: the Chaunsath Yogini Temple at Hirapur, the Chaunsath Yogini Pitha at Ranipur-Jharial, the Chaunsath Yogini Sanctuary at Khajuraho (which is rectilinear) and the Chaunsath Yogini Mandir of Bheraghat.

There seems to be a tendency to refer to the Yoginis in modern day india, although they may also be referred to as Dakinis. As such--i.e., Yogini or Dakini--they are the eight attendants each to the Asta-Matrikas--hence 64 (chausat). WITCHES! They are not!

Do you know or does anybody reading this blog know to whom the nine exterior shrines are dedicated to? If anyone does, i would appreciate a reply to my Internet address:


Fredrick W. Bunce, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Cosmic Mamma said...

I don't know if anyone mentioned this or not, I didn't have the time to read through all the comments. However this is not a Yogini temple. It's a temple to the Matrikas. Just FYI...

A Yogini is usually someone who is or was a female human, and through the Goddess has been changed into a mystical conduit of the Goddess herself. This person contains great mystical powers of all kinds, and can bend space/time/matter/energy to her will. There are Yoginis who have lived in other times who are venerated...

Matrikas are usually the seperated Shaktis that make Durga. They each represent a Shakti or Female side of a male deity (you can call it fmeale companion, but female *side* is more appropriate). There's Ganeshani, Indrani, Bhairavi, etc. These collected powers make up Durga. And in the Saptashi when she is deafeating the demon, he tells her something to the effect of "you are cheating with these multitudes of women attendants!" but she replies "No fool, these are all but parts of me" and then they all merge back within her. The Matrikas are the little mothers, and they are usually very fierce and wrathful.

Debadutta said...

hi everyone...
just went through the posts...they are nice and very informative...thanks for them..
i would greatly appreciate it if anyone could give me some more details about the historical background as well as the features of the temple in the context of architecture...wht i read above was more of mythology and less of architecture...im working on documentation about the chausath yogini temple in hirapur...i am studying architecture in bhubaneswar, orissa...some 15kms from hirapur...
i would be happy to be of some help if required...i have many pictures taken of the temple...if anyone needs them, i will surely help...

pankaj said...

Hi mr debdutta i m pankaj from maharastra.. writing about chousath yogini temple.. can u please send the pictures of the temple?it would be the great help for me...my cell number is 09921097038 waiting 4 ur +ve reply..my mail id is bhamburkar.pankaj@gmail.com thanx

diwakar said...

Bhadra Janon! pranam,

ds anybody in here know about the "CHAUSATTA MANDIR" in jabalpur MP i read about the same in "Kadambini" longtime back (1990s) incidently/Or there is Some REASON-that temple is also without roof!

Arjun Kumar said...


I visited and photographed this temple about a month ago. Have also seen other Yogini shrines such as those in Mitaoli (Morena, MP) and Dudhai (Lalitpur, UP). It seems there is a degree of fear among locals about these temples even now. Remarkable given that the cult of the Yogini is believed to have faded out after the 16th century.


I have two comments to offer :
1. According the priest of this temple, the structure of this temple has been prepared like a 'SivaLinga in a Yonipatta'. I agree with his statement.

2. I have in my collection several other photos of 'Ekapada/Ajaipada' Siva - two from SriMukhaLingam,A.P.,one from Bhrahmeswar temple,Bhubaneswar.