Visiting Chausath Yogini Temple and Shanti Stupa in India.
Chausath Temple is located just off the AH45 in the countryside a little way outside and south of Bhubaneswar in India and easily visited by using an auto-rickshaw. In addition it is also easy to visit the Asoka Rock Edicts and the nearbye Shanti Stupa on the same trip - these are perhaps best done first of all. Then end up by going to the Chausathi Temple last since
it's easy to spend a little time not only looking at this old temple but also having a wander along the river and enjoying some really nice countryside for an hour or two.
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The Rock Edicts of Ashoka near Bhubaneswar.
This small site to visit is located along the road towards the Shanti Stupa i.e. just outside of
Bhubaneswar, India. The Rock Edicts of Asoka were discoved in 1837 and are fourteen edicts (i.e. decrees and/or proclamations) stated by Ashoka Maurya. Ashoka the Great was an Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled much of the Indian subcontinent. Ashoka embraced Buddhism and was responsible for spreading the religion and it's ideals of peace and non-violence throughout India as well as further
afield into Sri Lanka, parts of Asia and even as far away as the Mediterranean. Situated above The Rock Edicts is the carving of an elephant - this symbolizes Buddha in the form of Gajottama - the best of elephants. The picture on the left is of a fairly large stepped tank which can be seen on the left of the road just before reaching the Rock Edicts site - it's tree-lined and very
pleasant to wander around for ten minutes.
The Shanti Stupa at Dhauli, Bhubaneswar, India.
Perhaps slightly unsual for sightseeing in India where tourists tend to look round ancient sites, the Shanti Stupa is a modern structure which was inaugurated in 1972. This very impressive Stupa sits on Dhauli Hill which is where Emperor Ashkok is said to have abandoned the Weapons of Violence - therefore this is an extemely important location for Buddhists.
Getting to the Shanti Stupa is easily done by auto-rickshaw or by local bus from Bhubaneswar - the road up Dhauli Hill is very bendy and there is little parking available anywhere near the Stupa for cars since the limited area available is usually swamped with tourist coaches and buses. Actually at the top by the entrance to the stupa the area is generally chaotic. The Temple is situated
behind Shanti Stupa - if you want to go into it then shoes have to be removed - bear in mind that this area is really mucky. Also watch out for "priests" who try to give you flowers - if you accept these then they are quite keen on you then having to "donate" quite a few rupees too.
The Chausath Yogini Temple in India - guide and photos.
Set amongst trees in the small village of Hirapur just outside of Bhubaneswar, this beautiful
open to the air old temple contains 64 carved images of Yogini. A "Yogini" is a female master practitioner of Yoga and also is a term of respect for teachers - represented by images of vegetation and fertility, illness and death,
Yoga and magic. There is no entrance fee of course to look around the temple however a reasonable donation is very clearly expected. Almost certainly you will be taken/guided round the temple by a Buddhist Priest and given very good information about each of the 64 unique Yogini images and what they represent - the carved Yogini are generally in very good condition.
Two things - watch out for a couple of younger members
of the temple who will try and corner and coerce a further "donation" from you and secondly at certain times for just a short while you may not be able to enter the temple due to worshipping.
The Temple was probably constructed during the ninth century and is mostly made from local coarse sandstone. Re-discovered in 1953 it faces east, is circular and measures 27.4 metres in circumference and 2.4 metres in height. The largest Yogini in the temple is an image of a ten-armed Mahamaya (the mother of Buddha) - however when we visited the temple the image was covered in a golden cloak and photographs of it were not permitted.
The area around Hirapur Village and the Temple is quite well endowed with trees and shrubs etc. and it's ideal for a walk along the river bank for a while and then perhaps circling back along one of the small lanes of which there are a few or maybe using one or two of the paths which frequently cross the fields.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.
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