Kamakhya Temple Assam
Kamakhya Temple Video
[av_video src=’https://youtu.be/4tybx1iHDiM’ format=’16-9′ width=’16’ height=’9′]
Assam, as we all know, is famous for its hills and natural splendor. But what makes it distinct is the presence of Kamakhya Temple. This Hindu temple is dedicated to goddess Kamakhya and is one of the oldest among the 51 Shakti Peeths. The Hindu Tantric Goddess of Desire is also identified as Kali and Maha Tripura Sundari. This holy temple is located at the top of the Nilachal Hill which is about 800 feet above sea level in the Western part of the Guwahati city. What makes it special from any other temple in India is that there is no image of Shakti. At a corner of the cave in the temple, there is a sculptured figure of the yoni of the Goddess, which is worshiped. The presence of the natural spring keeps the statue moist.
Kamakhya Temple is believed to be destroyed in the early 16th century and later rebuilt in the 17th century by the King Nara Narayana of Cooch Behar. It is a famous pilgrimage destination for all sects of Hindus and more specifically for Tantric worshipers. But, it is a major pilgrimage tourist spot for foreign tourists as well.
There are ten small sized temples situated around the premise of the main shrine. These are dedicated to the ten avatars of Maa Kali, namely, Goddesses Dhumavati, Bagola, Tara, Matangi, Bhairavi, Kamala, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari and Tripura Sundari.
Kamakhya Temple History
- Legend has it that Sati, the daughter of King Daksha married Lord Shiva against his will. The King had organized a great Yajna in his kingdom where he invited everyone except Sati and Shiva. Sati, hearing about the Yajna was upset but still wanted to attend it in spite of the disapproval from Lord Shiva. At this Yajna, she was greatly insulted by King Daksha. Sati became so angry that she jumped into the Yajna fire and killed herself. When Lord Shiva came to know about this incident, he took Sati’s body on his shoulders and roamed around the universe filled with rage. He started the Tandav dance or the dance which symbolizes the end of the world. It is then; Lord Vishnu calmed Shiva and saved the world by cutting the body of Sati into several parts by using the Sudarshan Chakra. Sati’s body parts fell at different places which came to be known as Shakti Peeths. In the famous Kamakhya Temple, the womb and the vagina of the Goddess are worshiped.
- There is also another belief associated with this temple. It so happened that once Vatsayana, a Vedic sage in Varanasi was asked by the King in the Himalayan region to find a solution for handling the tribal’s. He wanted to convert their ritual of human sacrifice to a more socially accepted form of worship. It is then the sage suggested the king let them worship the tantric goddess Tara that spread till the Garo Hills. The tribal’s worshiped a fertility goddess ‘Kameke’. Much later during the Brahaminical period, Kalika Purana that the goddess was related to ‘shakti’ and began to be a popular destination of worshiping the ‘Devi’ by the Hindus.
- It is said that the Goddess of Love, Kamadeva suffered a loss of virility, owing to a curse. Kamadeva sought out the Shakti’s womb and genitals which freed him from the curse. Love gained its potency here and the idol of ‘Kamakhya Devi’ was set up and worshiped.
- Kalika Purana also states that Kamakhya Temple is the place where Sati had romantic encounters with Lord Shiva. The Sanskrit word for lovemaking is ‘Kama’, and hence, the place was called as Kamakhya.
- There is an incomplete staircase built by the demon Naraka who eventually fell in love with the Goddess Kamakhya. The Goddess asked him to build a staircase from Nilachal hill to the temple within one night. And if he succeeds, then she would marry him. As Naraka was nearing its completion, the Goddess played a trick by strangling a cock to symbolize the end of the night. Naraka left the staircase halfway thinking he could not complete it which exists still today in the name of ‘Mekhelauja’ path.
- The devotees call the goddess as ‘Kameshwari’ who is also called as the ‘Great goddess of illusion’. The Goddess is supposed to take on various forms depending on her mood.
Significance of Kamakhya Temple
- The architecture of Kamakhya Temple consists of four sections called as the Garbhagriha. In addition, it has three mandapas namely, Calanta, Pancaratna and Natamandira. Calanta or the western chamber is large and rectangular in shape. This is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber or Pancaratna is square in shape and has a small idol of the Goddess. The last chamber or Natamandira consists of sculpted figures of Naranarayana along with related inscriptions and other gods.
- The Kamakhya Devi is also called as the Bleeding Goddess. The mythical womb and the genitals of Shakti are present in the ‘Garbhagriha’ of the temple. It is a small and dark which can be reached by narrow steps. Inside the cave, there is a stone that slopes in the downward direction forming a yoni-like depression. This is the goddess Kamakhya herself. The 10 inches hollow is filled with water on a regular basis from the underground spring. Pilgrims sit by the water’s edge and offer pooja. The symbolic organ is covered with a red cloth.
- In the month of June, it is said that the goddess bleeds. During this time, the Brahmaputra River near the temple turns red in color. Moreover, the temple also remains closed for 3 days and holy water is provided to the devotees of the Kamakhya Devi.
- It might be strange but till this date, there has been no scientific reason as to why the water of the spring turns red. Menstruation is the symbol of a woman’s creative ability. And the Kamakhya temple celebrates this ‘shakti’ present in every woman.
- The temple consists of a beehive-like Shikhara with incredibly sculptured images of Ganesha and other idols of Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside.
- The Supreme Court of India on July 2015 transferred the power of administration of the temple from the Kamakhya Debutter Board to the Bordewri Samaj.
- Photography is prohibited inside the main temple.
Kamakhya Temple Timings
- Kamakhya Temple opens at 5:30 AM and closes at 10 PM. However, devotees are allowed to visit the temple only from 8 AM onward. The timings of this auspicious shrine are modified on special occasions or festivals that are organized on an annual basis.
- The doors of the kamakhya temple remains closed from 1 PM to 2:30 PM when the cooked offerings are presented to the deity which is later distributed to the pilgrims.
Kamakhya Temple Food Timings
- A visitor can receive the Prasad after 2:30 PM from the kamakhya temple premises that are provided without an exchange of money.
- Prasad can also be bought from the local shops that are present close to the shrine. Sweets in the form of peda and burfi are mainly made from sugar and powdered milk.
Festivals celebrated at Kamakhya Temple
- There are several festivals that are celebrated in Kamakhya Temple. The most popular among them being the annual Ambubachi Mela. This festival is held during the month of June for five days. Also known as the fertility festival, the temple remains closed for three days when the Goddess menstruates. Thousands of devotees gather in the temple from the first day of the festival. On the fourth day, pilgrims are allowed to visit and holy water is sprinkled.
- Durga Puja is another festival which is observed with much pomp. The months of September-October sees a rise in the number of visitors during this five-day celebration.
- The Manasha Puja is also an annual festival which is celebrated by the devotees of the Kamakhya Temple.
Poojas and Rituals at Kamakhya Temple
- This renowned temple of Guwahati observes varied rituals which might get modified during festivals and special Pujas.
- The first ritual or Snana of the Pithasthana starts at 5:30 AM. This is succeeded by a daily worship.
- The temple door for the pilgrims opens at 8 AM and closes at 1 PM when the deity is offered food.
- At 2:30 PM, the door reopens and the food is distributed among the devotees.
- Arati takes place at 5:30 PM and the door is closed for the night.
How to Reach Kamakhya Temple
Road, Rail and Air:
- By Air- Guwahati Airport is the nearest airport which connects pilgrims from India and abroad. The temple is located at a distance of about 20kms from the airport.
- By Train- The Kamakhya Mandir is just 6kms from Guwahati Railway Station. Being the largest North-Eastern Station in India, it is well connected to all major cities of India. There is also a Kamakhya Railway Station which is located closer to the temple but is comparatively smaller.
- By Road- This temple is located in the heart of Guwahati town in the Kamrup district of Assam. The Assam Tourism Development has many buses connecting it with major national highways and other places of Guwahati.
Hotels near Kamakhya Temple
There is an array of options available for devotees visiting the Kamakhya Temple in Assam. The Assam Development Corporation has its own tourist home called as Lalita Kanta Yatri Niwas. It offers excellent lodging and food facility. The cost of the rooms is moderate and all kinds of modern amenities are present for the visitors to use as well.
Moreover, the presence of many luxuries and budget hotels is also present for travelers at the Nilachal Hills. From lodges to guest homes and a temple run guest house, visitors are spoilt for choices. One can also decide to put up at Guwahati and travel to the temple by availing public transportation like buses, auto rickshaws and taxis.
Where to eat
Devotees can taste the Prasad offered at the kamakhya temple post 2:30 PM. In addition, a traveler can find many small and medium sized eateries located in the close neighborhood of the temple. Most of these offer local Indian food like rice, chapatti, dal etc. Although the food is cheap, it is made out of good quality. The hygiene is also maintained while preparing the dishes.
For people looking out for fine dining, the Guwahati town offers a variety of cuisines to suit your taste buds. From Indian to Thai and Italian, visitors are spoilt for choices when it comes to satisfying one’s appetite.
- Bhuvaneshwari Temple– This magnificent temple is located at the topmost point of the Nilachal Hills. Being dedicated to the Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, this auspicious shrine is famous among the tourists visiting the Kamakhya Temple. Moreover, the scenic view of the Brahmaputra River from this place leaves tourists stunned.
- Uma Nanda Temple– This temple was built during the 17th century on a river island by the Ahom king Gadapani. Being dedicated to Lord Shiva, the place is also called as the Peacock Island. A visitor can hire or rent a boat which departs from the Kachari Ghat between the Deputy Commissioner’s office and the lower courts. Additionally, this island is well known for endangered inhabitants of Golden Langurs that can be viewed from a close distance. One can also visit a Ganesh temple located on this island by exploring it on foot.
- Ugro Tara Temple Lotaxil– The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Tara. The deity is not present as an idol but a pit of water.
- Navagraha Temple– Being built during the 18th century, the Navagraha Temple is dedicated to the nine celestial bodies. It is located at the Chitrasal Hill which is the second highest hill in Guwahati.