Chausath Yogini temple : an ancient enigmatic Tantra university in India

India is avowedly a country of marvelous and mysterious temples, standing high with their history hidden in their pillars. In every nook, there are stories that depict their grandeur, some are basically found in exquisite carvings, and some are buried in the latency of time. Every temple tells its story of glory, history and resilience, while some of them just keep on standing on high hills silently, and lure people to decipher what their dilapidated walls, pillars and pavilions have to say.

This is a quintessential part of Indian history where miracles, mystery and uniqueness continue to bewitch generations unabated. That’s why there are several temples in India where science fails, where imaginations fail, where even all calculations fail, what remains is, divinity so journing with history. It is apparent that India is a land of knowledge from ages, where miracles didn’t only occur itself, but they were also created that we behold nowadays, attracting travelers from every corner of the globe to impart the wisdom to the world. What I am trying to tell, is a story about a temple that sits atop an uninhabited hill with its history and glory that regularly lures visitors to get enamored with its architectural beauty and bewilderment that silently resides in its rooms.

Forty kilometers away from Gwalior (MP), Chausath Yogini temple is located on a small hill at a village called Mitawali inMorena district. This is one of the four Yogini temples of India, two of which are in MP, and two in Orissa. This is the oldest, yet unscathed, survivor of many earthquakes.

According to a historical inscription dated to 1323 CE, the temple was built by the Kachchapaghata king Devapala. An ascend of around 200 steps takes you to the entrance of the temple, where the breezy and soothing ambience emanating from adjacent lush green fields welcomes you. This temple is built on a circular platform inan open courtyard completely put together with blocks and sand stones, surrounded by a circular wall standing on 100 pillars with 64 chambers, where shiv ling is enshrined in each chamber. In the center, stands an open Mandapon a circular platform, with tilted slab coverings which have the perforation giving it a look of an umbrella that makes it look elegant when rainwater flows downward to the underground storage. Thereis a unique drainage system connected to this Mandap for water restoration. The pipe lines from the roof leading the rain water to the storage are also visible. Exquisitely carved Motifs engraved on the pillars of this temple adorn the coigns of the pillars and walls. Inside the Mandap, is a beautiful cylindricalShivling. It is bigger than those inside the chambers. For the presence of these Shivlings, this ancient temple is also locally known as Ekattarso Mahadev Mandir. It is a Yogini temple dedicated to 64 yogini.

In each chamber, there were Yogini idols along Shivling which have now been broken and stolen, a few are still there just like other Yogini temples. Being situated on uninhabited hill, this temple is an unexplored gem in this region. The history of this Shiva temple depicts how this venue was famous for Tantra wisdom and practices. It used to be called Tantra university in ancient time. Although its significance has faded into oblivion, yet it is adamant to remain intact as every wall of this temple exudes serenity and unfamiliar energythat was once a favorite and thronged place for woman yoginis.

This temple was built for a purpose of providing education in mathematics and astrology based on the transit of the Sun. It also served as a university for Tantra practices where women used to deify female figurines inside chambers and courtyards, and practice Tantra. After a couple of decades, women started to stay here and release evil spirit from people living nearby which brought popularity here from everywhere. Being located in a secluded village, it quickly became a venue for tantric activities, therefore it was always thronged. Probably, it was the prime reason why this region remained in the captivity of seclusion for ages, even now. Yogini worshipping has been prevalent in India since ancient time, therefore such temples where female figurines were and are still worshipped, moreover Tantric rituals have its own history in India. The old yet safe roofs resting on the weary pillars that shouldered the history, and significance of this temple for centuries, show no desire to bow down.

It is strongly claimed that the inspiration behind the architecture of Indian parliament house was derived from this Chausath Yogini temple. For, it possesses a vivid, circular resemblance with the parliament that quickly leaves us wondering and comparing both buildings. Howbeit, there is no govt recognition of this claim. Both buildings look like twin sisters in drone pictures, further more both look equally mesmerizing. The only visible difference between this temple and the parliament, is the wall andthe pillars. In temple, the pillars are inside the courtyard, while in parliament, pillars are outside.

In many years, dueto a lack of any special attention, the yogini idols have been broken and stolen. So now the site is under protection of the archaeological survey of India. Besides, now. For this site, Mitawali is gradually becoming tourist attraction. Since the tantric activities are no longer practiced here. No supernatural energy is experienced, however staying at the site at night is interdicted. A different kind of energy infused with serenity is all we can experience here. This esoteric, mesmerizing, surreal beauty riveted to its history is now bringing all the eyes to be a next historical gem for the mavericks in Madhya Pradesh.

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