Main Attraction : The Yogini Temples
Significance : Two of the best self preserved temples of the Yogini cult
Location : Situated near the City of Bhubaneswar in Orissa
Hirapur is another major attraction for tourists in Orissa. This place is filled with a number of attractions in Somavamsi and Bhauma rulers in Orissa. The place is home to many ancient Hindu and Buddhist heritage sites.
Yogini Cult :
This ancient cult has its origins in Hirapur. It was a simple tribal and folk tradition in India somewhere in the 8th century A.D. Many believe that this cult followed the Sakta Tantric of the mother goddess which is combination of many magic rituals that acquired a definite shape.
Many tantric shrines and texts across various parts of the country have a more definite shape.
Certain inscriptions found in the Yogini temples indicate that these magic rituals followed by the Yogini cult were practiced even in the 16th century A.D.
The Yogini Temples of Hirapur are very well preserved. The Yoginis in these temples are portrayed as balancing on a pair of wheels or playing drums whereas others are shown as huntresses with bows and arrows. Many of them have two hands whereas there are sculpted figures which shown more than two. Some Yoginis have non-human faces such as horse, rabbit, elephant, rat or a decapitated male head.
The chakra of the yoginis is associated with mastic, mamsa, Madya, Mudra (parched grain) or Maithuna (sexual intercourse), Mamsa (meat) etc.
There is a vast collection of historical texts which suggest that in order to attain Spiritual powers or ‘Siddhi’ the ‘Sadhakas’ unanimously offer flesh, wine and blood to the Yoginis. This ancient tradition is still practiced in Hirapur.
Devotees believe that in this village goddesses appear in their dreams especially in the times of crisis or on special festive occasions.
Withcraft and magic :
There are number of ancient scriptures that tell the terrifying stories that highlight sorcery and witchcraft aspect of the Yoginis. Even to this day Witchcraft is practiced by the Santhal tribe in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa.
The ancient practice of witchcraft and sorcery cites an example of the Santali witches who often leave their husbands in bed in the midst of the night to assemble naked in a forest. Here they gather and dance and sing naked with spirits and deities known as Bongas. After conducting the entire ritual they return to their beds and are back to being their original self.
Vajrayana Buddhism :
There are some streams of Buddhism which act as stores for Sakta or Yogini worship. The vajrayana is a tantric form of Buddhism which was evolved in the principles of Buddhism.
The Vajrayana Buddhists were empowered to seduce women and kill human beings.
The Yogini temple is a self contained symbol that expresses separateness and completeness or the relationship between Nature and Human beings.
The Vajrayana is distinct form of Buddhism and has evolved with the principles of Buddhism. This Tantric form of Buddhism is believed to have been started by Buddha himself.
The Hirapur temple :
The Hirapur temple is one of the smallest Yogini temples in India. The Yoginis are carved out of fine grained gray chlorite. The inner walls of the Temples consist of around 64 Yoginis in place.
The interiors of the temple consist of a small central pavilion which is around 8 inches. The pavilions carry images of sixty four Yoginis while the other four have images of the Bhairavas and some customary images of Shiva in Orissa.
The hirapur temple is the only type of Yogini temple that has female sculptures on its outer walls.
The illustrious Bahauma and Somavasi temple rulers of Orissa are known for their tolerance and their Liberal attitudes towards Art and Culture. The Bhauma and Somavasi rulers of Orissa were known for their tolerance and liberality. Their rule has lasted for around two centuries between the 8 th century A.D to mid 10 th century A.D.
This period is also considered by many historians as the golden age of art, architecture and religion.
The Legend of Chandi Purana :
The Chandi Purana was based on killing of the great demon ‘Mahisasura”’ by the goddess Durga. It reflects the extreme form of Tanstrism. The Goddess Chandi is said to have a huge number of female soldiers known as Yoginis and very fond of flesh, blood marrow and bone. The soldiers fought incessantly with the demons till they were killed and were devoured and consumed.
Those who visit the Yogini Temple in Orissa will get to know the hidden past of medieval Orissa.