Chausathi Jogini is an ancient temple situated in the state of Odisha. The temple is housed in a hamlet near Hirapur which is 20km outside of the capital city of Odisha i.e. Bhubaneswar. Chausathi Jogini literally means 64 Joginis Temple. The temple belongs to the 9th century. The temple is dedicated to goddess Kali. The temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Legend behind the Chausathi Jogini Temple
It is believed that in order to kill a demon Goddess Durga took the form of 64 demi-goddesses. After killing the demon all the 64 demi-goddesses or Joginis asked Goddess Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure. Hence the temple was formed. One can find similar temples in other parts of Odisha too. The Ranipur-Jharial site is one such location where there exists a temple of this style. It is believed to be built by the queen Hiradevi of Bramha dynasty.
The Story behind the Number 64
In Hindu mythology the number 64 is considered as an auspicious number. It is used to describe time or Kala, Kala for performing arts etc. There exists 64 tantras or 64 books of tantraism in Hinduism. Tantraism is a part and parcel of this temple as this temple is dedicated to goddess Kali.
Indian sacred texts mention 64 sacred arts also known as Chausath Kala.
Chausathi Jogini Temple Worshipping
The Chausathi Jogini temple is a tantric temple. Tantric prayer rituals involve worshipping the bhumandala or the environment consisting of all the five elements namely fire, water, earth, sky and ether. The tantric way of worship celebrates the beauty and bounty of nature. The major festival celebrated in this temple is the festival of Kali Puja.
Chausathi Jogini Temple Architecture
Almost all temples in Odisha are built in Kalinga style of architecture or the deula style of architecture. But this very temple is built in hypaethral style of architecture. A hypaethral is an ancient temple having no roof. This style of architecture supports the tantric way of worship. The tantric tradition is followed in this temple.
The Chausathi Jogini temple is built in a circular fashion. It is made up of large blocks of sandstone. The temple appears as if it’s built by placing these blocks one on top of another. The inside of this structure has cavities. Each cavity houses the statue of a goddess. These statues are made up of black granite. The central part of this circular structure has the statue of goddess Kali. She is standing on a human head which symbolizes the victory of heart over the head. There is a total of 56 idols in the Chausathi Jogini Temple. The central altar of the temple is popularly known as the Chandi Mandapa. It is believed that an idol of Bhairava was worshipped in the Chandi Mandapa.
This temple is different from any regular temple. Its circular structure lined with a continuous placing of the idols of goddesses is spectacular. The idols aren’t in very good shape. They have seen the wrath of invaders. But whatever remains of the temple is enchanting. The temple displays the skill and craft of the artisans who had made these divine idols.
A Tourist’s Guide to Chausathi Jogini Temple
The Chausathi Jogini Temple is just at a distance of 15km from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. It is open on all days of the week from 6am to 7pm. The nearest railway station is Bhubaneswar Railway Station and the nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar airport itself. One can stay in Bhubaneswar and go on a trip to this temple. There exists a wide range of hotels in the hustling and bustling city of Bhubaneswar.
This is the most complete and intact temple of all the 64 Jogini Temples present in India. Just one Jogini of the 64 Joginis is missing from this temple. Each goddess or Jogini stands on a different animal. Each one of them have a separate story to tell or expression to represent. They express sorrow, happiness, desire etc. It is a temple at a completely different level. It is a tantric temple and celebrates Mother Nature. The temple is situated among trees and vegetation. It is the perfect weekend escape. Not much far from Bhubaneswar, the temple is well connected by road to the nearby places. The Chausathi Jogini Temple is situated is an off the map location but its beauty and antiquity can only be realized when seen by one’s own eyes.