The Chounsath Yogini Temple at Bhedaghat is the largest yogini temple in India with the internal diameter of about 116 feet and the external diameter of about 131 feet. Cunningham describes it as a curious circular cloister of considerable antiquity located on singularly fine and commanding position above a hill near Narmada. The cloister consists of 84 square pillars which results in an arrangement of 81 cells and 3 entrances, two on west and one on south-east. In Jabalpur this temple was built by Kalchuri rulers near Bhedaghat near 9th century for their Yogini Sadhana. This temple is dedicated to sixty-four Yoginis and the rest of the cells are occupied by other related deities like matrikas, Shiva, Ganesha etc. Mula Chakra of Matottara Tantra talks about nine matrikas, Sapta-Matrikas with Chandika and Maha-Lakshmi, forming the inner circle of the chakra. Each of these nine matrikas issue nine Yoginis, thus forming a chakra of eighty-one. Hence, Dehejia states that the Bhedaghat temple was meant for these eighty-one Yoginis. The statues in the cloister cells can be divided into two groups, standing and seated. Standing statues, five in number, are made of purplish sandstone while the sitting statues are in grey sandstone. These standing images bear no inscription and can easily be distinguished by their style of execution in comparison to the sitting statues. Hence these can be assigned to the Kushana period as many Kushana statues were discovered near Dhuandhar falls resembling with the style of these standing statues. The central temple, now known as Gauri-Shankar temple, is probably built after the original circular temple as suggested by Cunningham. It is located off-center of the inner courtyard, which is indeed very peculiar. Cunningham suggests that there was probably another similar temple located diagonally opposite to it, however there is no evidence of such a shrine. The basement, 25 feet by 22 feet, is still of the original construction, however the superstructure is of a later period partially constructed in stone and partially in brick.
The main image inside is of Shiva and Parvati sitting over Nandi. Looking at the dimensions of this image and the fact that it is constructed over a pedestal, Cunningham suggests that this image belongs to the images placed in the cells of the inner circle. Probably, this image was removed from its original location at some later time. An image of Vishnu with Lakshmi riding over Garuda is embedded into the wall of the temple. A slab discovered here, now kept in American Oriental Society’s Museum, bears an inscription mentioning that the Kalchuri queen Alhanadevi, the wife of the king Gayakarna, built this temple during the reign of her son Narasimhadeva in the Kalchuri year 907 (1155 CE). Does this inscription talk about the Yogini temple? Cunningham after studying the characters of the labels on the Yogini image pedestals tells that the characters of these labels are older than those used in the slab inscription hence the Yogini temple is older than the inscription. Hence this inscription probably talks about the construction of the Gauri-Shankara temple. In very ancient days, eight great Female Goddesses Shaktis emerged from the cosmic soul of the Principle Dieties and formed Kali Durga, the Universal Shakti Power, These were the grand Mothers (Ashta Matrikas) of all subsequent Yoginis. According to Kaula Tantra, these eight manifested each in turn into eight Divine Shaktis, thus resulting in the 64 Tantric Yoginis. Chatuhsasthi Yogini Mantra – 64 Kali Yogini Namavali 1. Kali Nitya Siddhamata – Mother of the Siddhas 2. Kapalini Nagalakshmi – Lakshmi of Naga 3. Kula Devi Svarnadeha – Of golden body 4. Kurukulla Rasanatha – Ruler of physical pleasure 5. Virodhini Vilasini – Residing within Self 6. Vipracitta Rakta Priya – Who loves passion 7. Ugra Rakta Bhoga Rupa – Enjoyer of passion in the form 8. Ugraprabha Sukranatha – Ruler of the seminal essence 9. Dipa Muktih Rakta Deha – Liberation through the body of passion 10. Nila Bhukti Rakta Sparsha – Who receives pleasure from the touch of passion 11. Ghana MahaJagadamba – Great Mother of the world 12. Balaka Kama Sevita – Attended by the God of Love 13. Matra Devi Atma Vidya – The Goddess with knowledge of Self 14. Mudra Poorna Rajatkripa – Who completely radiates compassion 15. Mita Tantra Kaula Diksha – Initiatress of the Tantric Kaula Path 16. Maha Kali Siddhesvari – Queen of the Siddhas 17. Kameshvari Sarvashakti – Shakti of All 18. Bhagamalini Tarini – Who delivers from calamity 19. Nityaklinna Tantraprita – Fond of Tantra 20. Bherunda Tatva Uttama – Essence of Sexual Fluid 21. Vahnivasini Sasini – Radiance of the moon 22. Mahavajreshvari Rakta Devi – Senuous Goddess 23. Shivaduti Adi Shakti – Origional Feminie Energy 24. Tvarita Urdvaretada – Giver of the Upward Ecstasy 25. Kulasundari Kamini – Desire Itself 26. Nitya Jnana Svarupini – The Great form of Wisdom 27. Nilapataka Siddhida – Giver of perfection 28. Vijaya Devi Vasuda – Goddess who is Giver of wealth 29. Sarvamangala Tantrada – Who Bestows Tantra 30. Jvalamalini Nagini – Snake Goddess 31. Chitra Devi Rakta Puja – Goddess who is worshipped with passion 32. Lalita Kanya Sukrada – Pure Maiden 33. Dakini Madasalini – Shining with rapture 34. Rakini Papa Rasini – Destroyer of sin 35. Lakini Sarvatantresi – Ruler of all tantras 36. Kakini Naganartaki – Who dances with Nagaraj 37. Sakini Mitrarupini – Friend 38. Hakini Manoharini – Mind Stealer 39. Tara Yoga Rakta Poorna – Who in union bestows complete passion 40. Shodashi Latika Devi – Creeper Goddess 41. Bhuvaneshwari Mantrini – Energy of all mantras 42. Chinamasta Yoni Vega – With dripping yoni 43. Bhairavi Satya Sukrini – Supreme Purity 44. Dhumavati Kundalini – Primordial energy of self 45. Bagla Muki Guru Moorthi – Form of the guru 46. Matangi Kanta Yuvati – Youthful beauty enhanced by Love 47. Kamala Sukla Samsthita – Residing in the Semen 48. Prakriti Brahmandri Devi – Goddess residing in the crown 49. Gayatri Nitya Chitrini – Eternal core of the energy of Self 50. Mohini Matta Yogini – Intoxicated 51. Saraswathi Svarga Devi – Goddess of Heaven 52. Annapoorni Shiva Samgi – With Shiva 53. Narasimhi Vamadevi – Beloved Goddess 54. Ganga Yoni Svarupini – Energy of the Yoni 55. Aprajita Samaptida – Who Bestows Orgasm 56. Camunda Parianganatha – Ruler of sacred erection 57. Varahi Satya Ekakini – Oneness of Truth 58. Kaumari Kriya Shaktini – Energy of dedicated action 59. Indrani Mukti Niyantri – Guide to bliss 60. Brahmani Ananda Moorthi – Image of bliss 61. Vaishnavi Satya Rupini – Form of truth 62. Mahesvari Para Shakti – Transcendental energy 63. Lakshmi Monoramayoni – Beautiful Mahalakshmi 64. Durga Satchitananda – Truth consciousness and bliss