MITAWALI Morena, Chausath Yogini Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2020

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1. I had read that the round shape of Parliament House was inspired by the Mitawali–Chausath Yogini Mandir near Gwalior. It was constructed by Kachchhapaghat king Devapala in 1323 A.D. The temple was the venue of providing education in astrology and mathematics based on the transit of the Sun.

2. I wanted an aerial view but could not get, found this pic in Financial Express. Temple is on top of a standalone hill about 100 feet high, has cells in a circle just like the Chausath Yogini Temple Jabalpur. There are 64 cells, each with a Shivling.

3. View from bottom of hill. Walk way is a bit steep but easy. Happy to see clean toilets that worked. The temple structure supports rain-water harvesting and engineering.

4. It is called Ekttarso Mahadev Temple. It is said that Mitawali, Padavali and Bateshwar (all close by) made a golden triangle in which a university existed about a 1000 years ago. The teaching centre was said to be a hub to impart education in Mathematics, Astrology and Hinduism to children with the help of sun rays.

5. Close to eastern temple entrance small temple at a height of say 8 feet. Early morning sun, there is no murti inside now. We reached at 9 am, month January.

6. Mitawali’s outer wall is decorated with images of Hindu gods and goddesses as you see, few remain. Historically, Yoginis has referred to the women attendants of Goddess Durga possessing sacred feminine force as a blessing from the goddess or to women who were part of the ancient schools of yoga.

7. Lower panel temple entrance. Can see Ganesha and Kirtimukhas (to ward away evil).

8. You see the open mandapa (main circular temple in the centre) ie dedicated to Lord Shiva and is surrounded by 64 cells with a Shivling in each, which were earlier murtis of yoginis.

9. Shivling in mandapa. Locals come and offer prayers. It is still respected as a temple because all remove their shoes.

10. Next set of pictures are clockwise walk round the temple. Left side view. Note cells on left side. It is externally circular in shape with a radius of 170 feet. Column design is minimal as is seen today.

11. Left side external view, notice the arch. Unlike the Parliament House that has pillars on the outer verandah, the Mitawali Temple has pillars around the outer circumambulatory path that opens into the central courtyard.

12. Walk further clock-wise, right side is main circular temple. “The design of the temple has withstood earthquake shocks, without any damage to its circular structural features, in the past several centuries. The temple is in the Seismic Zone III.”

13. Another view of the open mandapa ie on a raised platform. The perforated base at the central structure allows rain water to collect in a huge reservoir below which is not visible from outside. The roof is also built in a way that rain water gets drained quickly.

14. Centre part of temple behind mandapa. See the cells clearly and perforated base at the bottom.

15. Clockwise post our crossing half the temple. Early morning sun rays made it better. We left Gwalior at 7 am (really cold in January), reached by 9 am. There is a turning from the national highway that we missed, going through villages made it longer, actually distance is only 40 kms.

16. Coming to end of our clock-wise walk.

17. Internal corridor on right side of entrance. A local told me to walk around the temple corridor clockwise, then sit next to stone (where havan is performed) and pray to Parmatma asking for wishes to be fulfilled. I did as told with faith in the Divine.

18. Column design, few such columns remain. This is the third Chausath Yogini Mandir that I visited, the first two being in Bhubaneshwar and Jabalpur. The first is very small. To see pictures

19. Entrance to cell have small carvings on three sides, few remain. Can only say the murti in the centre shows sitting in a Yogic posture. Some caption information taken from Madhya Pradesh Tourism site. Keep 30-45 minutes for visit.

20. All along the temple wall, inside and mandapa are these perforated bases. It is a form of water harvesting. For water that collects inside temple this is the outlet, rolls down the hill I guess.

21. Lush green fields all around. Happy I visited. To see pics of Jabalpur temple which again is round

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