Kamakhya Temple is one amongst the holiest shrines throughout India. Perched on Nilanchal Hill in Kamrup district of Assam, Kamakhya Mandir is easily accessible at a stretch of 8 kms from Guwahati. The temple commemorates Hindu Goddess Sati in her aspect of Kamakhya Devi. Goddess Kamakhya is also known as Sodashi in the local region.
Kamakhya Temple is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. As per the
legends, during the time of self-sacrifice, the genital organ (yoni) of
Sati fell at this spot. Kamakhya Mandir is a natural cave with a spring.
In order to reach the temple, one has to take a flight of steps that
goes down into a dark and strange shrine. There is no concrete form of
goddess inside the temple.
In the shrine, Kamakhya Devi, in the form of genital organ (yoni),
presides as a big crevice in the bedrock. The Goddess is covered
naturally by a rivulet of water gushing upward from an underground
spring. The crevice is usually covered with sari, flowers and vermilion
powder (Sindoor). The temple had been an ancient sacrificial site and
till date, sacrifices are offered here. Every morning, group of devotees
come to sacrifice goats.
The temple is very much ancient in its origin, yet it was restructured
in 1665, when it was attacked by the Muslim invaders. The effort of this
reconstruction was made by King Nar Narayan of Cooch, Bihar. The spire
of this temple is shaped like a beehive. Besides Kamakhya Devi, there
are images of Ganesha, Chamundeswari and various dancing sculptures. In
the temple, an image of the King and related inscriptions are visible.
Essentially, the Goddess 'Kamakhya' is believed to be the granter of
desires. In traditional terms, Assam is known as 'Kamarupa Desa', a
place that is associated with Tantric practices and worship of Shakti.
In Kalika Purana (an ancient scripture), Kamakhya is referred as the
goddess who fulfills all desires, the bride of Lord Shiva and the
benefactor of salvation.
During the occasion of Navratri (Sep-Oct), a three day festival attracts
thousands of pilgrims. This festival is known as Ambuvaci (Ameti), which
is unique with its own significance. For the duration of this fertility
festival, the Goddess is said to undergo her menstrual period. At this
point of time, the temple is closed for three days and before closing,
white sheets are draped inside the temple.
When the temple is opened after three days, the sheets are found red in
color. On the fourth day, great festivity is observed. Devotees from far
and near, come to visit this temple at this juncture of the festival.
The red sheets are torn into pieces and distributed amongst the
devotees. Kamakhya Temple is a prominent pilgrimage site that attracts
thousands of visitors throughout the year.