Lalitpur district, once the stronghold of the Guptas and the Chandelas of Jejakabhukti has some of the earliest brick and stone edifices found in Akhanda Bharat. Though a sizeable number of these magnificent structures did not survive the savagery of the Muslim invaders and the British, some of them have been restored to their former splendour by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The architectural prowess of the Chandelas is on full display in their temples, sculptures and intricate carvings in Dudhai village in Lalitpur district. A lesser-known architectural gem of theirs is the Chausath Yogini Temple dedicated to the different forms of Divine Mother.
This ancient temple is built in the typical circular plan with an open centre. The wisdom and goal of the Vedas and the Hindu scriptures is clearly underlined in the plan of the temple. Sanskrit scholars say that the ideology of this circular plan is to depict the subtle, infinite and indivisible nature of creation and an atom. Locally known as Akhara or Akhada, this temple is located at some height in a thickly wooded area of the village.
Said to have been built in the 10th century, this temple is about 50 feet in diameter. The shrines that housed the different forms of Divine Mother are largely in shambles today. One can see about twelve shrines in the north and five in the south while the shrines in the east and west have completely collapsed.
Unfortunately, though this temple is an excellent translation of the exalted philosophy stated in our Hindu scriptures, it has been ignored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for years and is now in a state of disrepair. As one takes a walk in this village, one will find innumerable rare artefacts strewn about with none to care for them.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)