This ancient temple is located at Hirapur just on the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar city. Also known locally as the Mahamaya mandir, this temple is home to 56 idols made of black granite arranged in a circle facing the center. 7 more idols are situated in the central altar facing the four cardinal directions, making the total number of idols as 63. The missing 8th idol is said to have been taken to some place called Yamankunda. The temple itself is made of sandstone.
The central altar holds an idol of the Goddess Kali, which stands upon a man’s head, signifying the triumph of the heart over the mind. This central altar is called a chandi mandap. Similar temples can be seen in Balangir and seven other sites in India.
The temple is said to have been commissioned by Queen Hiradei of the Bramha dynasty in the 9th century AD. The village was originally called Hiradeipur in her name, which was later shortened to Hirapur.
This is a tantric temple with no roof. It was abandoned as Shiva and Vishnu worshipping cults rose to prominence and Shakti worshippers declined. The temple is said to be one of the many destroyed by the Afghan invader Kalapahad in the 16th century. The site was rediscovered in 1953 by eminent historian Kedarnath Mohapatra, painstakingly restored and is now protected by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
How to Reach it?
You can reach this temple by the Tankapani Road out of Bhubaneshwar. The closest airport and railway station are both in Bhubaneshwar.
The drive will take only 20 minutes. However visiting times are restricted from 6 am to 7 pm.
|Closest Railway Station||Bhubaneshwar|
|Distance from Closest Station||9.5 km|
|Visiting times||6 AM to 7 PM daily|