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In Delhi, there are many ancient temples for different deities. Each of them has extensive historical and mythological significance. Among them, Yogmaya Temple is famous for the deity Devi Yogmaya, the sister of Sri Krishna. It lies in Mehrauli district, near the Qutub Complex, New Delhi. Jogmaya temple is another name for it. This temple is one of the five surviving temples from the epic period of the Mahabharata. It is the only existing temple since before the Sultanate. This temple enshrines Maya, the Goddess of illusions. Yogmaya Temple is one of the five temples dedicated to the deity, and the other four are in Jodhpur, Multan, Barmer, and Vrindavan.
The deity Yogmaya is the mother of all beings. Sri Krishna was born as the eighth child to Vasudeva and Devaki in King Kansa's prison on Ashtami at midnight. He was replaced by a baby girl who was born to Nanda and Yashoda in Gokulam. As the babies were exchanged at midnight, the prison's guards went and informed King Kansa about the birth of the eighth child the next day morning. Kansa arrived at the prison cell to kill the newborn baby. But the girl child slipped from his hands and rose into the sky. During that time, Kansa heard a divine voice say that his slayer was safe in Gokulam. The baby girl was the deity Yogmaya (divine illusion), according to Shvetashvatar Upanishad. She has many divine powers, such as action, knowledge, and mightiness, and her important personal power is Yogamaya. As Shiva is nothing without Shakti, so is Sri Krishna nothing without Yogmaya.
Another folk legend describes the Mughal Emperor Akbar II's association with the Yogmaya Temple.
The Mughal emperor Akbar Shah II wanted to appoint his younger son Mirza Jahangir as his heir, for he was not happy with his eldest son Siraj Uddin Zafar. Sir Archibald Seton, the British resident, opposed Akbar II's decision. Mirza Jehangir fired at the British resident from the Red Fort window. But his bodyguard died. Sir Archibald Seton immediately ordered him into exile. The incident made Akbar's wife distressed. Devi Yogmaya appeared in her dream. After her vision, the secular-minded woman prayed to Yogamaya for her son's safe return. She vowed to place a chadar of flowers in the nearby Muslim dargah of Qutbuddin Bhaktiar Khaki. She also prayed to offer Pankhas (Fans) made of flowers at the Yogmaya Temple upon his return. Since then, this practice is still in the name of Phool Walon Ki Sair. It's a festival celebration for three days during October every year.
In 1827, the Pandavas built the Yogmaya Temple. It was first renovated during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar II (1806–37) by Lala Sethmal. The Brahmin king, Vikramaditya Hemu, reconstructed the temple, which was in ruins.
It has a simple yet elegant modern structure with an entrance hall. The main idol of Yogmaya is in the sanctum sanctorum. The idol is made of black stone. Pilgrims can worship the deity in a 2 ft wide and 1 ft deep marble well. There is a tower above the sanctum. Rama, Shiva, Ganesha, and other deities have separate temples.
Red cloth and fresh flowers cover the Yogmaya idol. There are two small fans (Pankhas) above the idol. Sood Mal, a builder, built twenty-two towers to enclose the temple. The original temple was built with red stone, but now the temple shines in white marble. The Yogmaya Temple's main tower is 42 ft high and designed with a copper-plated tip so people can see it from the outside.
Mahashivaratri, Navaratri, Phoolwalon-Ki-Sair Festival, and Indra Dhwaj Festival are the famous festivals here. Phoolwalon-ki-sair is a flower festival. People around Yogmaya Temple and Qutub Sahib's dargah celebrate it enthusiastically. Kite flying, wrestling matches, Qawwalis, and Kathak performances are the other major activities on this special day.
Devi Yogmaya blesses her devotees with good health, success, longevity, and prosperity. Devotees offer prayers by establishing Yogmaya or Durga images on Tuesday at home. Worshipping the deity in her temple is the best way to get her blessings.
All state and local buses ply to the temple.
The nearest railway station is Delhi railway station which is 10 Km away from the temple.
Indira Gandhi International airport is the nearest airport which is 24 Km away from the temple.
The temple remains open from 6.00 am till 8.00 pm. It remains open on all days.
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