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Chausathi Yoginis of Hirapur: from Tantra to Tourism

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Author: DR. ADYASHA DAS, Associate Professor Chairperson- BBA (TT) / Culture / Placements Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management
July 20, 2019
Yoginis are a class of divine and semi-divine deities who emerged in the 5th century AD and remained in worship till 13th century AD, after which their cult seems to have become extinct. Yoginis are now popular among the modern women as liberated Goddesses who had their own stance in society despite prescribed social sanctions. The  symptomatic  characteristics  that define   the Yogini  cult  include  tightly bound  clans  or  groups,  association  with  magic  and  occult,  martial  prowess,  sexuality and  death.  In Hirapur, one comes across a fascinating group of  Yoginis   who in their original mythological context  had  been  confined to the  roles  of  consorts,  attendant  deities  and  possessed  women; However, with  their  entry  into  the  Yogini  cult  they  are  transformed  into  individual  ferocious  deities. In this perspective it’s interesting to note the number of tours to Hirapur led by the trans-nationalist, feminist, spiritually orientated Goddess movement. There are many women’s only travel packages to Goddess sites which celebrate the sacred Feminine. Motivators for women travelers to visit Hirapur could be the following: Experience local (traditional) Culture Spend leisure time in temple premises, amidst heritage and cultural attributes Interest in History, Archeology and the tantric, yogini cult Escape from daily routine, for relieving tension and fatigue To have an opportunity for self-reflection(identity tourism) Appreciation of rural scenery Interest in religion, philosophy
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