Maa Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya temple is an ode to Mother Nature’s power to create, nurture and sustain life
Situated in Guwahati(Assam) in the heart of the Neelachal hills, Kamakhya Devi Mandir is dedicated to Maa Kamakhya and is one of the Shakti Peethas.
The temple consists of four chambers: — garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called calanta, pancharatna and natamandira.
The garbhagriha is small, dark and reached by narrow steep stone steps. Inside the cave there is a sheet of stone that slopes downwards from both sides meeting in a yoni-like depression some 10 inches deep. This hollow is constantly filled with water from an underground perennial spring. It is the vulva-shaped depression that is worshiped as the goddess Kamakhya herself.
Legend has it that it is here the ‘Yoni’ of the mother fell after Shiva danced with her dead body. Shiva was not invited to the Yajna ceremony at Sati’s paternal house by her father Daksha, and this had angered her. Also Daksha had insulted Shiva and Sati felt insulted and jumped into the pyre. When Shiva saw the dead body of Sati, he could not stay still any longer and started dancing with her corpse in his hands. Vishnu jee fearing destruction ran his Sudarshan Chakra and cut Sati’s body into pieces, and each of these 108 pieces fell in what is today known as ‘Peethas’. There are 51 such Shakti Peethas.
Every year the water in the garba griha turns red and it is believed that the Goddess menstruates during this period. The temples are closed at this time of the year for three days. It is also considered inauspicious to dig Mother Earth during the period or perform any religious functions.
Thorough cleaning of the temple happens on the fourth day after which the doors of the temple are opened to the devotees. This period is known as ‘Ambubachi’ and being the centre for Tantra worship this temple attracts thousands of tantra devotees from different parts of the country.
The other times of the year when the pilgrims flock to the temple to seek blessings are during both the autumn and the spring Navratras. The autumn Navratra when Durga Puja is celebrated sees scores of devotees rushing in to offer their prayers. On the Ashtami day, ‘kumaris’ or little girls are worshiped. They are believed to be the embodiment of the Mother. Girls are beautifully dressed and taken around the temple before and after the Puja.
The ‘Pandas’ or priests have been the official caretakers of all the ceremonies and takes care of all the rituals.
Kamakhya temple is an ode to Mother Nature’s power to create, nurture and sustain life.
There are other temples of various goddess in the Kamakhya temple complex and five temples of Lord Shiva in the temple complex. There are also several ‘kundas’ or ponds scattered across the Nilachal Hills. Read more at – http://kamakhya.org/articles/about-kamakhya/temples/temples-ponds-and-other-sacred-places-of-the-kamakhya-temple-complex/
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.