Chausath Yogini Temple — Hirapur

How many of you have visited the 64 or the “Chausath” Yogini Temple at Hirapur in Orissa in the recent past or in the pre-pandemic times? Well, if you haven’t then — post-COVID-19 — you must visit the roofless temple at least once — either during winter or springtime when the weather is bearable. The Chausath Yogini Temple, situated at Hirapur, Orissa, is a seat of ancient knowledge and power in the eastern part of the world. The Yogini Cult is known for being the first Wiccan concept in India.

There are other yogini temples in India but the one at Hirapur, built by the Bhauma dynasty around 6th c. AD is supposed to be the smallest but the most potent one amongst all of them. The Bhauma dynasty had 21 kings and six queens. The queens were the powerful consorts and Queen Hira Mahadevi took the initiative to construct the ‘hypaethral’ (open to the sky) temple, which retains its ancient power to date.

The Chausath Yogini Temple is a mandala. It looks slightly oval and has a square-like structure in the centre. The ‘chakra’ or the circular structure is ideal for tantric practices. The tantric practices in this part of the world gained momentum between 5th and 10th c. AD. The Chausath Yogini Temple at Hirapur was the core of Tantrism with the yoginis depicted as the flying goddesses like that of the Buddhist Khandromas or the Tibetian Dakinis. The temple houses the figurines of the two dwarpalas, 64 yoginis (yogini number 61 has been removed), nine katyayanis and four bhairavs. The figurines of the yoginis are placed within the circular enclosure and form a ‘yogini chakra’.

The figurines are carved out of black chlorite, which is supposed to be a powerful healing stone and aids in one’s growth and transformation. The four-pillared ‘chandi mandap’ in the centre makes the hypaethral temple — a powerful yantra. Laterite, quartz, and sandstone are some of the stones used for constructing the temple. All of these stones are very powerful for healing ailments.

The write-up is based on the knowledge acquired from a teacher, my observation, and my research work when I had visited the Chausath Yogini Temple thrice between the years 2015 and 2018.

(to be continued…)

Originally published at



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