In the Hindu religion, Yoginis are females credited with magical powers. The history surrounding the yoginis is scarce and can vary from source to source. The consensus is that the cult first appeared around the sixth to the seventh century. The cult did not begin to thrive however, until the ninth century and stayed fairly popular through to the twelfth century. According to the scholar Vidya Dehejia, the roots of Yogini worship are outside the normal orthodox Brahmanical traditions.
The Yogini traditions are tantric in nature and therefore have strong connections to rural and tribal traditions. The origin of the Yoginis appears to be in small, rural villages. They are local village goddesses, grama devatas, who look over the welfare of an individual village. Village goddesses progressively transformed and merged into powerful numerical groupings.
64 Yogini – Artistic Representation
These conceptual paintings are inspired by the Hirapur Temple in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.