Kamakhya Temple is a Hindu temple in dedication to Goddess Kamakhya, in the state of Assam. It is one of the oldest among the 51 Shakti Peeths. This holy temple is present at the top of the Nilachal Hill which is about 800 feet above sea level in the Western part of the city of Guwahati. At a corner of the cave in the temple, there is a sculptured figure of the yoni of the Goddess, which is worshipped. The presence of the natural spring keeps the statue moist.
There are ten small temples present around the premise of the main shrine. These are for the ten avatars of Maa Kali, namely, Goddesses Dhumavati, Bagola, Tara, Matangi, Bhairavi, Kamala, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari as well as Tripura Sundari.
Kamakhya Temple – Facts
|Deity||Goddess Kamakhya (Goddess Shakti)|
|Location||Nilachal Hill, Assam|
|Timings||5:30 AM to 10:00 PM|
|Best Time to Visit||May – October|
|Festivals Celebrated||Durga Puja, Manasha Puja|
History and Legend of the Kamakhya Temple
According to the history of Kamakhya Temple, Sati, the daughter of King Daksha married Lord Shiva against his will. The King had organized a Yajna in his kingdom where he invited everyone except Sati and Shiva. Sati was upset but wanted to attend it in spite of Shiva’s disapproval.
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. 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 became popular as Shakti Peeths. In the famous Kamakhya Temple, devotees worship the womb and the vagina of the Goddess.
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 worshipped.
Significance of the Kamakhya Temple
The significance of the Kamakhya Temple is that 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. The architecture of Kamakhya Temple consists of four sections called the Garbhagriha.
In addition, it has three mandapas namely, Calantha, Pancaratna, and Natamandira. Calantha 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.
In the month of June, it is said that the goddess bleeds. During this time, the Brahmaputra River near the temple turns red in colour. 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.
Timings of the Kamakhya Temple
Here are the timings of Kamakhya Temple:
|Darshan||5:30 AM||10:00 PM|
|Morning Darshan||8:00 AM||–|
|Afternoon Break||1:00 PM||2:30 PM|
|Prasad Distribution||2:30 PM||–|
Festivals celebrated at Kamakhya Temple
Some of the festivals celebrated at Kamakhya Temple are:
- Ambubachi Mela: This festival occurs during the month of June for five days. Also popular 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 can enter the temple and holy water is sprinkled.
- Durga Puja: It is another festival whose celebrations take place with much pomp. The months of September – October sees a rise in the number of visitors during this five-day celebration. this festival is popular as Navratri in certain parts of India.
- Manasha Puja: It is also an annual festival which the devotees of the Kamakhya Temple celebrate.
Routes to the Kamakhya Temple
Here’s how to reach Kamakhya Temple:
- Air: Guwahati Airport is the nearest airport which is about 20kms away.
- Train: The nearest railway station is Kamakhya Railway Station. However, one can also access the temple from Guwahati Railway Station.
- Road: Assam Tourism Development has many buses connecting it with major national highways and other places of Guwahati.
Accommodation near the Kamakhya Temple
The Assam Development Corporation has its own tourist home called as Lalita Kanta Yatri Niwas. It offers excellent lodging as well as a food facility. While the cost of the rooms is moderate, 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 travellers at the Nilachal Hills. From lodges to guest homes and a temple run guest house, visitors have lots of 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.
Places to visit near the Kamakhya Temple
Some of the temples near Kamakhya Temple are:
- Bhuvaneshwari Temple: This magnificent temple is located at the topmost point of the Nilachal Hills. Being in dedication 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: In the 17th-century Ahom king Gadapani built the temple. Being in dedication to Lord Shiva, the place is also popular 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 famous for endangered inhabitants of Golden Langurs that one can view from a close distance. One can also visit a Ganesh temple present on this island by exploring it on foot.
- Ugro Tara Temple Lotaxil: The temple is for the Goddess Tara. The deity is not present as an idol but a pit of water.
- Navagraha Temple: The Navagraha Temple is in dedication to the nine celestial bodies. It is present at the Chitrasal Hill which is the second-highest hill in Guwahati.
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