Ironically, the oldest and smallest of these temples (termed as "Chausathi Jogini" in Odiya) which started the cult following lies right next to my hometown, Bhubaneswar; however, took me the longest to visit. Best suited for art, architecture and history lovers; it is popularly known as "Mahamaya Temple" by the villagers as Mahamaya deity is the main goddess being worshipped. Do not get confused if one refers the temple by this name.
Location - The temple lies in a village named Hirapur approximately 15 km east of Bhubaneswar. The road leading to the rustic area does not bear many active sign boards as most have fallen around. It is better to ask for guidance from a local as the path goes through narrow, dusty lanes after taking an off route from the highway.
P.S - Alternatively, Google map absolutely leads to the exact location.
How to Reach - No direct public transport is available to the temple and it can only be accessed by personal conveyance. An auto/ cab from Bhubaneswar can be easily available charging both ways for the trip.
Good to know
Timings - 6 AM till 7 PM
Visit time - Approximately 30 - 45 mins (depends on personal interest)
No tickets/ entry fees (But you will see donations near the Mahamaya temple)
No charges for Mobile phones/ Camera
Legend of “Yoginis”
The term "Yogini" mostly invokes a sense of fear with a majority regarding them as followers of a secret tantric cult or ones capable of extreme destruction. Some consider them as female attendants of Goddess Durga. However, in essence, it is the feminine Sanskrit word for Yogi (masculine) with their references in our ancient and medieval texts from Hinduism. Literally used for a female master practitioner of Yoga as a mark of respect, the ancient culture of Yoginis are as spiritual practitioners. Researchers have also found their relevance in Buddhist and Jain scriptures.
Origin and architecture
Experts suggest that the temple in Hirapur was built by Queen Hiradevi or Hiradei (of Brahma dynasty) around the 9th century. It was also the time when some of the prominent tantric temples of the state were built. Some scholars differ and suggest a later date of around 11th century. For long, it was safely kept as a secret from the outer world, maybe by the practitioners of the tantric cult. It was in 1953 when Kedarnath Mahapatra, archaeologist and historian of Odisha State Museum discovered these ruins and pieced it back to life; it became public.
Today, the temple is under the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to visitors. It is also the only functional one of all Chausath Yogini temples in India.
The small temple is made on a unique architectural pattern (cicular like other Yogini temples) as it has no roof above. Evidently, it is completely different from the major Kalingan style temples in town and other parts of Odisha. The aerial view resembles a Yoni. The temple walls are built with blocks of coarse sandstone. These are small and circular about 25 feet in diameter. All the primary deities are made of black granite.