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Yogini Temple




Hirapur, Orissa



The temple is sculpted with graceful feminine figures.

Best time to visit


October and March

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The state Orissa is famous for the temple culture and there are temples known for its ornamental sculpture and structural beauty. And one among them is that Yogini Temple. Also known as Mahamaya Temple, it is located at Hirapur, a small picturesque village on the bank of the sacred Bhargavi River, 15-km southeast of Bhubaneshwar. This beautifully preserved temple is one of the best Yogini temples in India that still stand.

The temple is dedicated to goddess Shakti or Mahamaya (Yogini Goddesses) made of black chlorite stone, adorned with red cloth and vermilion. Large number of devotees gathered here to worship the Goddesses on a belief of attaining supernatural powers. 

Yogini Temple also known as Chausati Yogini temple (Chausati - 64), is one among the four Yogini temples of India (The one is in Khajuraho and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh) and second of its kind in Orissa. The other Yogini Temples are at the twin villages Ranipur and Jharial in Orissa and Khajuraho and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The temple reflects the role of feminine power in the religious practices of Orissa.

Built in the 9th century by Bhauma and Somavamsi rulers of Orissa, the temple is constructed in a circular structure, with 30 feets in diameter. Constructed as a hypaethral structure, the temple built of blocks of coarse sandstone piled uniformly one on top of another. The shrine is entered into by a small opening in its outer wall. The entrance is flanked by two guardians.

The images of the 64 yoginis, which are said to be the 64 incarnations of goddess Shakti (Parvathi) are placed inside the sanctum, with the chief female deity, Mahamaya wrapped up in red clothes and vermilion, while the others in skirts held by an ornate girdle worn low on the hips. All the images of the yoginis are adorned with necklaces, garlands, armlets, bangles, anklets, earrings etc and each figure holds a curved knife or 'javelin' in one hand, and a cup carved in the shape of a skull, in the other. The temple has many sculptures on its outer walls.

Another feature of this temple is that it is a roofless temple. It is the second of its kind in Orissa and one of such four temples in India. (Two of them are in Orissa and the other two are in Madhya Pradesh).

Another unusual feature of this temple is a projecting entranceway flanked by doorkeepers. On either side of the narrow entrance hall is a skeletal male of fearsome men wearing a garland of skulls, and snake anklets. One of these male figures holds a severed human head. On the pedestal below are two more similar skeletal figures holding skullcaps, with jackals besides them.