The Chausathi Yoginis of Hirapur- From Tantra to Tourism

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Item Code: NAW925
Author: Adyasha Das
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9781645600121
Pages: 98
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 120 gm
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Book Description
About the Author

Dr. Adyasha Das is Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management, Bhubaneswar, (Ministry of Tourism, Government of India). She studied at the prestigious Delhi School of Economics, obtained a Master's in Business Administration from Xavier Institute of Management and a doctoral degree in Organizational Behaviour. An avid researcher, her interests span a wide area - Cross-cultural Management, Human Resource Management, Organizational Behaviour, Cultural Tourism, Culture Studies etc.

Adyasha has participated in the Indo-Germanic writer-in-residence program, AKSHAR organized by Sahitya Academy, the Goethe Institute and the She has been the recipient of Junior Fellowship, Ministry of Culture for research on "Empowerment in the creative pursuits of pre-independent women". An active participant of academic workshops at national and international levels, she has read from her works at Literaturhaus Frankfurt am Main, The House of World Cultures, Literaturhaus Berlin, Leipzig literaturhaus, Indische Nacht im Mousonturm, Frankfurt, Uto Kulm, Zurich, Frankfurt Book Fair, Odisha Society of Americas convention, Seattle etc., Universities of Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysian, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, San Antonio etc.

Her fascination with the Yogini cult spurred her intensive research on them in various sites of the Yogini temple. Her first book on the Yoginis, "The Yogini Trail: in search of the Chausath Yoginis" was appreciated greatly by her readers.


I had first visited Chausathi Yogini temple, Hirapur as a part of my professional work, to design a training program for the residents of the Hirapur village. A mild interest in the temple and the yoginis soon transformed itself into a mighty passion. The more I read and delved deep, the more intrigued I was. From Hirapur, Ranipur Jharial, Khajuraho, Morena to Cambodia and Indonesia, I have met the Yogini's everywhere.

Initially I started with a song project dedicated to the Yoginis of Hirapur, my long-standing tryst with the Chausathi Yoginis, to be presented to them in the form of a song. The song took shape bit by bit, beginning under the patch of blue sky we could see from where we stood inside the hypaethral temple of Hirapur, the abode of the Yoginis. Several compositional techniques were used to evoke the essence of tantra music--tone painting, melodic phrasing, sequences, and rhythmic ostinati to create musical complements to meditation. The melody weaves the texture of a trance, helping in deepening the listeners insight. The use of traditional, authentic musical instruments further accentuated the experience. The vocal melody, mantric utterance, and rhythmic flow all were enmeshed to create the mysticism of the Yoginis.

Immediately after this, the book took shape. Based on my research and information I collected from museums in several places, I have tried to demystify the relatively unknown Chausathi Yoginis of Hirapur. Several rare aspects of this temple intrigued me. The Yogini Cult, Tantric in nature and tantra itself, projecting the efficacy of magical rituals and spell, sounds and gestures, is intertwined deeply with rural and tribal traditions. There is a diverse range of attitudes toward the tantric traditions, ranging from viewing it as a path to liberation to the relatively widespread associations of the tantric traditions with sorcery and libertine sexuality. In Hinduism, the tantra tradition is most often associated with its goddess tradition called Shaktism, followed by Shaivism and Vaishnavism. In this temple, every male deity except Shiva are replaced by a female counterpart including Ganesh all of them representing varied qualities. The Yoginis were believed to impart magical powers to their worshippers:

These powers included: anima (the ability to become very small), laghima (the power to levitate and to be able to leave your body at will), garima (the power to become very heavy), mahima (the power to become large in size), istiva (the power to control the body and mind of oneself and others), parakamya (the power to make others do your biding), vasitva (the power to control the five elements) and kamavasayitva (the power to be able to fulfill all your desires) (Dehejia). According to the Archeological Survey of India the temple came to be known in 1953 (Mahapatra 1953). This seems strange considering the proximity of the temple to the state capital Bhubaneswar. I have visited the temple uncountable times, mostly alone but often with friends and have enjoyed the quiet isolation that has been thrust upon not just this temple but the cult as well. The most beautiful Yogini temple among all, sixty three Yoginis are enshrined here. One statue is missing. This book is a compilation of my research and readings on the Chausathi Yogini temple at Hirapur. This book was motivated by the desire to delve deeply into the tantric roots in which the Yogini cult is embedded and to link it to the significance of this site as a potential cultural tourism destination.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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