Kamakhya Temple

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Kamakhya temple is a famous pilgrimage situated at Guwahati, Assam. The temple is located on the Nilachal hill in Guwahati at about 8 kms from the railway station. The Kamakhya temple is dedicated to the tantric goddesses. Apart from the deity Kamakhya Devi, compound of the temple houses 10 other avatars of Kali namely Dhumavati, Matangi, Bagola, Tara, Kamala, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari and Tripuara Sundari. During Shiva’s catastrophic cosmic dance after Sati killed herself, 51 Shakti peethas were born in different parts of India, Kamakhya being one of them. Kamakhya is the Goddess of Desire, and celebratory for the Tantrik sect of Hinduism. Followers of the Tantra Sect place their belief in Kamakshi or Kamakhya. The current structural temple, built and renovated many times in the period 8th-17th century, gave rise to a hybrid indigenous style that is sometimes called the Nilachal type: a temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base. The temple consists of four chambers: garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called calanta, pancharatna and natamandira aligned from east to west.

The God of love, Kamadeva had lost his virility due to a curse. He sought out the Shakti’s womb and genitals and was freed from the curse. This is where ‘love’ gained his potency and thus, the deity ‘Kamakhya’ devi was installed and worshipped here. Some people also believe that the Kamakhya temple is a place where Shiva and devi Sati had their romantic encounters. As the Sanskrit word for lovemaking is ‘kama’, the place was named Kamakhya. Although little is known about the early history of the temple, the first reference to the place has been traced back to the Allahabad inscriptions of Emperor Samudragupta. The present temple was built in 1665 by King Naranarayan of Cooch Behar. The main temple has seven oval spires, each topped by three golden pitchers.

Pilgrims have to queue up at the entrance porch from where they move slowly into the semi – dark sanctum sanctorum. Images of gods and goddesses of Hindu pantheon are carved on the walls. The image of the Goddess alongwith other deities is kept on a throne. Pilgrims follow the narrow alley behind the throne to enter the sanctum sanctorum. Inside, a short flight of stairs will take you to a small subterranean pool. Pilgrims squat by the water’s edge and offer their ‘puja’ (worship). From here they can see the symbolic organ that remains covered with a red cloth. On an ordinary day, the temple remains open from 8 am till sunset, with a couple of hours break after 1.30 pm.

Kamakhya devi is famous as the bleeding goddess. The mythical womb and vagina of Shakti are supposedly installed in the ‘Garvagriha’ or sanctum of the temple. In the month of Ashaad (June), the goddess bleeds or menstruates. At this time, the Brahmaputra river near Kamakhya turns red. The temple then remains closed for 3 days and holy water is distributed among the devotees of Kamakhya devi. There is no scientific proof that the blood actually turns the river red. Some people say that the priests pour vermilion into the waters. But symbolically, menstruation is the symbol of a woman’s creativity and power to give birth. So, the deity and temple of Kamakhya celebrates this ‘shakti’ or power within every woman.

Festivals: Durga Puja is celebrated annually during Navaratri in the month of September- October. It is a three day festival attracting several visitors. A unique festival observed here is the Ambuvaci (Ameti) fertility festival wherein it is believed that the Goddess (mother Earth) undergoes her menstrual period (also see Changannur Bhagawati in Kerala). During this period the temple is closed for three days and opened with great festivity on the fourth day. It is believed to be inauspicious to till the ground or to plant seeds, during this three day period.

Worship :

It is likely that this is an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, and worshiping here still includes sacrifices. Devotees come every morning with goats to offer to Shakti. Apartment for Rent in Al Arta 3, Greens

The Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation.Shakti is known as Kamakhya.

The worship of all female deity in Assam symbolizes the “fusion of faiths and practices” of Aryan and non-Aryan elements in Assam. The different names associated with the goddess are names of local Aryan and non-Aryan goddesses. The Yogini Tantra mentions that the religion of the Yogini Pitha is of Kirata origin. According to Banikanta Kakati, there existed a tradition among the priests established by Naranarayana that the Garos, a matrilineal people, offered worship at the earlier Kamakhya site by sacrificing pigs.

The goddess is worshiped according to both the Vamachara (Left-Hand Path) as well as the Dakshinachara (Right-Hand Path) modes of worship. Offerings to the goddess are usually flowers, but might include animal sacrifices. In general female animals are exempt from sacrifice, a rule that is relaxed during mass sacrifices.

Appropriate time to travel: – The best weather to visit Kamakhya Temple is considered from October to March.

How To Reach :- This temple is situated at a hill called Nilachal, 8 kms from Guwahati Railway Station. The entrance to the foothills of the hill. A climb of one kilometer has to be ascertained in this entrance. Apart from this, the paved path is made up to the summit. The motor-taxis that are available in front of the entrance door leads to the Goddess. Guwahati is well-connected to the cities of the country by air, train and road. Airport in Guwahati is connected to major cities of the country.

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