Kamakhya Temple In Guwahati: Still A Top Favourite For TouristBy
The Kamakhya temple situated in Assam is a devout place of worship for Hindus all over the world. It is one of the 52 Shakti Peethas of India. Established hundreds of years ago, this temple has been renovated several times over the ages and is one of the oldest places of worship in the country. Nevertheless, the Kamakhya Devi temple has continued to be a revered monument over the centuries. It is located atop the Nilachal hill in the western part of Guwahati city, Assam.
The Kamakhya temple scores visits from lakhs of visitors across the globe. According to a survey report by the Market Research Division of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, around 80% of domestic visitors to the state are to the Kamakhya temple.
Kamakhya temple – touristy
It is the biggest tourist retreat in Assam and a key attraction for the devotees of the Goddess. Stationed on the top of the Nilachal hill or the Neel-Parvat, there are several roads leading to the shrine. The main highway that is primarily used is beautiful and well maintained. It is lined with trees and perennial wildflower shrubs and the ride itself sets your mind in a positive spirit. There are several “Watch Points” on the road that display a panoramic view of the Guwahati city.
Another famous but less used road to the temple is the famous ‘Mekhelauja Path’. The road is said to have been built by the demon Naraka fulfilling a challenge from the Devi. It is a stone stairway that can only be traversed on foot. Now it is mostly used by the locals and the occasional traveler.
Kamakhya Devi – tales of antiquity
The establishment of the Kamakhya Devi temple is narrated in stories that date back to the ages of the Gods.
Devi Sati fell in love with Lord Shiva and married him against the wishes of her father King Daksha. So the king organized a sacrificial Yajna where he invited all the deities of heaven except Shiva. Outraged at this insult of her husband, Sati stormed into the Yajna premises and jumped into the fire. On receiving this news, Shiva went wild with anger. He picked up the dead body of Sati and began the destructive Tandava dance to annihilate the entire Universe. Seeing such danger, Lord Vishnu swung his Sudarshan Chakra and cut Sati’s body into several pieces. A Shakti Peeth was established wherever each body part fell. The Kamakhya temple was set up where the Yoni or the reproductive part of the Devi fell. Since then the temple has been a sacred place for Hindus, especially for the Tantric worshippers.
Ceremonies and merrymaking at Kamakhya temple
One of the biggest festivities celebrated in the temple is the Ambubachi Mela. This holy event takes place in the month of Ashadh (June) of the Indian calendar. It is a huge attraction for devotees as well as tourists. Kamakhya is believed to be menstruating during the four ceremonial days. The Brahmaputra river flowing at the foot of the hill turns red. The priests sprinkle holy water, rice and vermillion on the devotees. The pilgrims sing devotional songs in praise of the Goddess. Actors wearing colorful costumes depicting different gods can be spotted at random. Vendors sell a variety of religious mementos. The Mela itself is a bright and colorful attraction of this holy festival. At the end of the four days, temple doors are opened to the devotees and Pujas are held in all the sacred places around the premises.
According to reports in the Government of Assam records, around 10 lakh devotees visit the temple each year for the mela.
Another major attraction of the kamakhya temple is the Deodhani dance. It is done by female worshippers of the Devi who are said to be possessed by godly spirits at a particular time of the year. The female strength and vigor is acknowledged.
The other pujas taking place in the Kamakhya temple are
- Durga puja
- Vasanti puja
- Durga Deol
- Pohan biya
- Madan deul
- Manasa puja etc.
Area layout of Kamakhya temple in Guwahati
There are several other festivities going on in the temple throughout the year. The temple complex is spread out over the entire Nilachal hill. Along with Kamakhya, there are worship sites for several other goddesses. Some of them are
- Matangi, etc.
All of these deities are considered to be incarnations of Kamakhya Devi.
The sacred site at Kamakhya temple
The main temple of Kamakhya does not have any idol or picture of the Devi. At the center of the main building, there is a rock shaped like a Yoni depicting the godship. This is worshipped as a source of shakti and wisdom. The Kamakhya temple idolizes and celebrates the power of creation and love that comes with the history of the temple. The life giving capacity of the yoni is considered as the source of several other creative powers.
The temple is a major center for tantric pujas all year round. There are many tantric priests in and around the different temples of the hill practicing the ancient art. It is very popular saying that no tantric is complete without visiting the Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati. Since this is the most powerful tantric peeth, animal sacrifices are must for getting tantric siddhis. Animals includes male small goats, buffalo etc The temple attracts lacs & lacs of tantric devotees in an annual festivals known as Ambubachi Mela, Manasha Puja etc. But this place is only for the serious tantric worshippers. People visit these tantrics during the mela to help them with magical power to help them with any sufferings or do miracles in life.
A trip to Guwahati is unconsummated without a visit to the historic Kamakhya Devi temple. Along with a great view, you will have her blessings for a flourishing life.