There is a special place for the feminine in Indian psyche. Understanding and experience of divinity necessarily include both, the masculine and the feminine. As much as the Yogis have enriched this land, so have the Yoginis. Not only have the Yogis attained to level of consciousness of Vishnu and Shiva, but the Yoginis have also attained to the consciousness of Kali, Saraswati and Katyayani. There is a proliferation of shrines to 64 (Chausanth) Yoginis around the country. And all bear an uncanny resemblance to one of the most central modern day shrine of Indian polity – the Sansad Bhawan. Or the Parliament House.
This underscores how the consecrated feminine divine plays the most critical role in the running of the Indian state even today.
The most prominent being a temple at Mitaoli in Madhya Pradesh, near Gwalior called Chausanth Yogini temple. It is a temple, which is believed to have inspired the Indian Parliament. The temple is also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple (source). The temple was built by Devapala, the Kachchhapaghata king.
The temple is on a hill that has a height of about 100 feet with 100 steps leading upto it. It has a 40 m diameter circular wall with 64 chambers, a circular courtyard and an open mandapa with a shrine to Shiva in the center. IN each of the 64 chambers, Shiva’s image has been carved out.
It is said that it was the center of learning in astrology, astronomy, and mathematics in ancient times.
Other Chausanth Yogini Temples
Interestingly, this is not the only Chausanth Yogini temple. There are others as well.
Chausath Yogini Temple of Bhedaghat is seen as one of the oldest heritage sites in India. It was built in the 10th Century AD by the Kalachuri kingdom
Chausathi Jogini Mandir at Hirapur Orissa
The 64 Yoginis depicted at Hirapur are:
- Jwala Kamini
- Maha Maya
- Vindya Balini
- Veera Kumari
- Jwala Mukhi
- Sarva Mangala
- Surya Putri
- Vayu Veena
Featured Image by PankajSaxena