Chausathi Yogini temple and Dhualigiri Hills were to cover since it was on the way to Bhubaneshwar. But as I woke up, looking through the glass door, I could see the choppy sea and the dark sky. But I rose to play Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s song Rain on Me. And without further delay had a quick shower and prepared to go.
After checking out the hotel, I decided to try the local street seller’s breakfast. And I ate Upma, a different flavour from southern India. Also eaten Vada with Buta Dalma ( Bengal gram lentil soup), it was poignant. After a sumptuous breakfast, we drove to Bhubaneshwar.
It was still early when the clouds poured their rain on the grass and trees. And the road came alive with more splashes than my eyes could appreciate. As we headed towards our destination, the rain brought a calming sound, a natural melody just as beautiful as a mother’s hum. It was as if earlier the street had been a matte photograph, only washed as bright as any magazine page. Simply! Photogenic.
The journey to the Chausathi Jogini temple, at Hirapur, was 1hr & 15min, approximately 55km. Honestly, I have never heard of such a temple before; hence I surfed for quirky places when it popped up. And with the technology upgrading, they continuously display staggered locations to me. Well, coming back to the temple, I wanted to know about Yogini? And the best one to answer was my mom. She is far better than Google, frankly. Consequently, I asked my question, although it annoyed her because she was enjoying the rain and later gave in.
She explained that Yogini evolved from the embodied power of the Saptamatrukas of the various Devas; who stand on an animal, devil or human head depicting Shakti’s victory. They are all expressions of anger, sadness, pleasure, joy, desire and happiness and is worshipped in Tantric practices. According to the tribal tradition associated with the Yoginis, a practice concentrates on the Yoginis as acolytes (assistant) of the great Goddess – the Matrukas.
Further, she explained as folklore describes Yoginis as being born of eight mothers and formed into eight groups; who helped the Goddess Durga in her war against RaktBija- an evil king who multiplied with every drop of her blood on the ground. However, the demon was killed with the help of Yoginis who drank the devil’s blood drops before they could touch the floor. Following the battle, the 64 goddesses asked Durga to commemorate them as a temple structure. Woah! That’s some intensity.
The temple’s location was also quite mysterious, as we drove across the central canal of Puri, in the middle of the paddy field towards this unknown hamlet Hirapur which maintains its rustic atmosphere intact.
And the water droplets drop like they don’t have anything better to do. They are lazy as if they could scarcely abide by the will of gravity. And the percussion of the given water varies depending on the area it wets. Finally, we reached our destination, following the narrow alleyways. Right outside the temple was beautiful Pushkarni with a typical little temple in the middle called the DeepDandi. A large banana tree attracted my attention when suddenly I heard a priest call me. I met Manoj, and he told me that the temple was closed because of COVID-19.
I was so offended, all the trips in the trash. I asked to take some photographs, and he disagreed, fearing of the complaint. Therefore, I let him go, but he shared his number and pledged to share a Goddess photo and the temple. It was impressive, and standing in the rain, I asked him a couple of questions to satisfy my thirst for curiosity.
The priest, Manoj, began with the information that the temple is unique as its first and smallest survivor Chausthi Yogini temple of India amidst the five temples. We have two in Odisha, three in Madhya Pradesh. However, there is another – dilapidated, but the practising temple of Jirapur.nd one near Mandu. Hence the total to 6 Yogini temples.
Historian and archaeologist Kedarnath Mohapatra discovered this ancient site of mystic Tantric practices in 1953 from the ruins. The Chausathi Yogini temple was constructed between the 8th and 10th century, by Queen Hiradevi of the Bhauma dynasty, a dynasty that gave numerous queen rulers. The temple is locally called Mahamayan Temple, after the central deity. Manoj family has been in the service of this temple for six generations, Quite! Magnificent.
The Chausathi Yogini temple is part of another kind of architecture, quite different from the Kalinga style. The temple has no roof, and it looks like round yoni or a 60-spoke wheel from the top, a delight when I saw the photos shared by Manoj. Well, I have been informed that tantric prayer rituals often involve the worship of Bhumandal- fire, water, earth, sky and air, which creates a global energy cycle of Tatvic tides. Though, these practices are secretive and revealed to those who are initiated on the path. At this temple, I was told that Chandi Path or Devi Mahamaya is primarily used to worship the goddesses for practices. I offered my prayer and gave a certain amount to worship. Manoj gave me marigold of the mother’s feet & asked her blessing to revisit it.
While leaving the temple only one thought came to my mind- “The mysteries I desired to learn of heaven and earth, and all that is between could only be taught by experiencing Devi Mahamaya.”
Dhauli Giri’s hillsBhubaneswar is the nearest airport, which is approximately 3km from the heart of Bhubaneswar. You can reserve a taxi from the airport for Puri.
Bhubaneswar Railway Station is the central railway of the town and located in the centre of the city. Superfast trains and passenger trains are readily available from the station. Travellers can also get more train station in the town, which is also easily accessible with various public transportation availability. You can book a taxi or take buses for your destination.
To reach within and around the city, you can get different modes like bus, taxi and auto-rickshaw. Bhubaneswar BusStation is within is within 8 km of the town. And buses operated by Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC). Private buses are available here as well.