Chausath Yogini Temple, Morena, Madhya Pradesh, India

The Chausath Yogini Temple, Morena, also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple, is an 11th-century temple located in Morena district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the few well-preserved Yogini temples in the country. The temple is formed by a circular wall with 64 chambers and an open mandapa in the centre, separated by a courtyard which is circular in shape, where Shiva is deified.

The Chausath Yogini temple is in Mitaoli village (also spelled Mitawali or Mitavali), near Padaoli in Morena district 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Gwalior. According to an inscription dated to 1323 CE (Vikram Samvat 1383), the temple was built by the Kachchhapaghata king Devapala (r. c. 1055 – 1075). It is said that the temple was the venue of providing education in astrology and mathematics based on the transit of the Sun.

The temple is located on a hill which is about 100 feet (30 m) in height and there are 100 steps to climb leading to the entrance of the temple. It is externally circular in shape with a radius of 170 feet (52 m) and within its interior part it has 64 small chambers, each with a mandapa which is open and a facia of pilasters and pillars. The roof of the entire structure is flat including that of another east facing circular temple within the outer circular wall. A large passage or courtyard lies between the outer enclosure and the central temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is an open porch entrance to this temple. The exterior surface of the outer wall has carvings of Hindu deities. Each of the 64 chambers in the outer circle has an image of Shiva deified in it. However, recent investigations have confirmed that originally these had a Yogini image deified in them and hence the temple is known as Chausath Yogini Temple (‘Chausath’ here means “Sixty four” ). It is said that the roof over the 64 chambers and the central shrine had towers or shikharas which were probably removed during later modifications.

Within the main central shrine there are slab coverings which have perforations in them to drain rainwater to a large underground storage. The pipe lines from the roof lead the rain water to the storage are also visible. The temple needs conservation measures to preserve the ancient monument in good shape.

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. This fact was cited when the issue of safety from earthquake effect of the Parliament House which is also a circular structure, whose design is taken from the Chausath Yogini Temple, was debated in the Indian Parliament.

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