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Yogmaya Temple situated at New Delhi near Qutub Minar complex is a temple of the goddess Yogmaya or sister of lord Krishna. This temple also attributes itself to the illusionary power of god also known as maya. This temple has seen numerous generations and is supposedly one of the five temples left which has witnessed the epic Mahabharata.
The Yogmaya or jog maya temple has withstood a lot of destruction and reconstructions. As narrated by the resident priests, this temple was initially destroyed by the great ruler Mohammed Ghazni and later by invading Mamluks. But this temple has survived its ancient glory and is still in use. The temple was reconstructed by King Hemu, who was a Rajput ruler. During Aurangzeb’s rule, the temple was reconstructed and he emphasized on Mughal architecture, which is seen in a few rooms as well as on the outer wall of the temple.
The present temple is suppose to be built during the 19th century and has been a victim of repetitive deconstruction and reconstruction by the locals. The surroundings of the temple are not very elaborative but a small water body or johad, named as Anangtal after the king Anangpal which is now encircled by lush green trees.
Set up in a place now called Mehrauli, Yogamata Temple was named Yoginipura in the 12th century. The temple dates back its origin to Mahabharata. It was constructed by Pandav brothers. Mehrauli forms an integral part of seven ancient cities, which contributed to make up original Delhi city. The first renovator of this temple was Lala Sethmal in 1806-37 under the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The temple is placed inside Lal kot walls of the Citadel, which covered the city of Delhi. It was constructed by King Anangpal I in AD732 and later stretched out by King Anangpal II in the 11th century.
The temple carries a lot of legends. It has also held tremendous significance in the lives of the locals for many years. It is said that Yogmaya is the sister of lord Krishna, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Yogmaya was replaced as Lord Krishna to save him from being brutally killed by his uncle Kansa. Yogmaya transformed into a goddess and foretold Kansa his fatal end by lord Krishna. She vanished cleverly immediately after predicting Kansa’s death.
Another story links the temple to a close association with Mughals. Distressed from the news of Mughal Emperor Akbar II’s son, his wife dreamt goddess Yogmaya and offered pankhas or fans made of flower every year at her temple. The queen prayed at this temple for safe return of her son. She also offered flower fans to the nearby Qutubuddin shrine. Thus, every year it is celebrated as a festival known as the Phoool Walo Ki Sair.
The temple is surrounded by numerous locals who believe that they were descended from a single ancestral origin and are assigned to the task of taking care of the temple. The tradition of cleaning the temple, distributing Prasad, performing daily rituals and others chores of the temple have become a part of their lives.
Built way back in 1827, construction of Yogmaya Temple has a modern outlook to it. This may be due to repeated constructional variances by different builders. There is an entrance hall and a small chamber where the main idol of Yogmaya has been kept. The idol is made of black stone and positioned in a marble well of around 2 ft. A tower is built on the chamber just above the main idol.
The Yogmaya idol is covered with a red cloth and fresh flowers all over. Two small fans are also placed above the idol. Sood mal was a builder who ordered a whooping twenty two towers to be built to enclose the temple. The original temple was built with red stone but has been replaced with white marble. The main tower of the temple which can be seen from outside is 42 ft high and adorns a copper plated tip.
Yogmaya Temple can be accessed by the taking a flight or train till Delhi. There are various metro rails connected to Mehrauli which run on convenient timings. You can also hire a taxi or a bus up to the temple.