Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Kamakhya Temple

 

Place

:

Guwahati, Assam

Significance

:

One of the oldest and most sacred centre for Shakti worship and Tantric activity and sacrifice

Timings

:

Timings 6 am-1 pm, 3-9 pm

Best Time to Visit

:

November - February

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The sacred Neelachala Parvat or Kamagiri located at a distance of 8 km west of Guwahati in Assam State, is believed to be an ancient 'Khasi' sacrificial site. This hill has a group of ancient temples, the most famous of which is the Kamakhya temple. Situated on the banks of Brahmaputra river, is dedicated to the fertility goddess, Shakti also known as Kamakhya, consort of Shiva.

The temple is one of the oldest and most sacred centre for Shakti worship and Tantric activity and sacrifice.The original 10th century Kamakhya temple was destroyed by Muslim converts and was rebuilt in 1665 by King Naranarayana of Koch Bihar (Then part of Assam).

A masterpiece of Assamese temple architecture, the temple is built with stone. It's temple complex is a nicely carved out house, made predominantly of stones. The temple consists of three major chambers. The middle chamber in the form of a cave leads to an air conditioned Sanctum Sanctorum that consists a natural underground spring which emanates from a fissure in a large rock. It is here the sculptured image of the Yoni of the Mother Goddess is kept. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the sanctum. It's distinctive seven sikhara or spire in the temple is in the shape of a beehive and it has the nymph motifs and the long turtle back hall. The stone images and other relics found around the temple have been dated by archaeologists to the eighth century onwards. Kamkhya temple is famous for the ritual of animal sacrifice (specially goat) to appease the Goddess and there is a Shaktipeeth inside the temple. One can enjoy a panoramic view of the Brahmaputra from the hilltop.

The Soubhagya Kund believed to have been built by Indra and the Bhairab Kund famous for its giant turtles are nearby. Several smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Kala Bhairava, Shiva and other Hindu deities are also located in the vicinity of Kamakhya temple. From the top of Nilachal Hill, one can get a spectacular view of the city and the Brahmaputra River.

The temple attracts pilgrims from all over India, especially during the Ambubachi Festival. Ambubachi Mela, the unique and popular four - day festival at Kamakhya Temple held in the month of June, attracts lakhs of devotees from all over India. During the festival, the temple doors remain closed for three days. It is believed that during these days the mother Goddess undergoes her annual cycle of menstruation and the pool containing her yoni (uterus) turns red. Daily worship, other religious performances and farming works are suspended at that time. The temple is closed during these days and the doors are reopened on the fourth day and the deity is believed to attain fertility and bless the land with good crops. Red cloth is distributed among the devotees as an offering by the God. People observe fast and refrain from eating non- vegetarian food during the festival. After the fourth day when they break their fast, the holy men as well as devotees freely mix with each other and celebrate by smearing colours on each other. They mostly dress up in red, which is considered sacred. Durga Puja and Manasa Festival are also celebrated here.

Entrance Fee: Special entry tickets for Devi Darshan cost Rs 101 (for Defence Services entryy fee is Rs 25) for the shorter queue and entry to the direct entry of Rs.500/- per person.

 







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