According to legends, there are 51 places where the pieces of Goddess Sati fell across the Indian Subcontinent. These places are known as Shakti Peethas and are dedicated to the idea of Shakti. Kamarupa (a form of desire) is the region where the Yoni (womb) of the Goddess is said to have fallen on earth. Kamakhya Temple Guwahati is where the Kamakhya Devi Temple is said to have been built. It is counted amongst the greatest of Assam Temples. The legend and story of the Kamakhya temple are, I am sure, known to most of the readers. Indeed Assam is also known as the Kamrup Kamakhya mandir region.
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Kamakhya Temple Guhawati
The Kamakhya temple Guwahati was renovated between the 8th-17th centuries on numerous occasions. This constant renovation resulted in the present-day structure. Kamakhya temple history states that the initial temple was destroyed in the 12th century, thus making this temple over 1200 years old. Kamakhya temple is mentioned in the Kalika Purana. The temple is also called Mahamaya, “the great goddess of illusion “.
Legend of Kamakhya Devi
Sometimes Kamakhya Devi is also referred to as Maha Tripura Sundari and Maa Kali. The temple is primary among the 51 Shakti Peetha and is considered the oldest. It remains one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus worldwide. Kamakhya Devi mandir is also associated with the Dasa Mahavidyas, as these ten temples can be found within the temple complex at Kamakhya Temple Guhawati.
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Kamakhya Temple on Nilanchal Mountain
Situated atop Nilanchal Mountain at an altitude of 562 feet, and one can get imposing views of the city of Guwahati spread out all around from the Kamakhya Devi temple . India has a vibrant heritage with temples acting as links with the past for the common public who are not constantly in touch with ancient scriptures. The Kamakhya temple Assam is one such important temple. Devotees flock to this ancient temple to submit themselves to the glory of Maa Kamakhya Devi.
As I travelled up the winding road of Nilanchal mountain towards the Kamakhya Temple Guwahati , my conversation within died down slowly. I became aware of a significant milestone approaching, for I was fulfilling a long-pending desire to come in the presence of one of the most revered Shakti Peethas in my list of places I wished to visit. Maybe other than Kedarnath, I wished that the call came for me to come to meet Maa at Kamakhya. And now, while it was happening, there was a conflict of emotions flowing through me.
What is my blog all about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on the ancient history, the art of India, among other places of travel that I keep doing. The history posts come up because there is in ancient Indian History, so many monumental architectures created. Read through the posts on the Mundgod the mini Tibet of India, or the reclusive Karwar town in the Western Ghats or my journey to the 5 prayags ( confluences of historic rivers) in the Himalayas. I am sure a visit to them would be fascinating to just about anyone purely from a visitor’s inquisitive prism of view. In case interested, read about Ganjifa, the slowly dying art of Maharashtra. The previous blog post on famous historic temples in the city of Kolkata can be read here
Effect of Kamakhya Maa
While I was calm and a part of the living world around me; deep down inside, I was yearning to feel the presence of Goddess, that few moments when the Inner consciousness of us mortals are conscious of something special all around, it a fleeting moment and lasts for a few seconds. However, I can still feel it when I came across it for the first time at Kedarnath in the presence of the syayambhu of Lord Rudra. Word cannot describe it, and in my heart of heart, I knew I would maybe feel for a few moments the same presence here. For what is Ardhnareshwara other than Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati as one.
Narrative of the Kamakhaya Temple Complex
The inner sanctum of Kamakhya Mata Mandir does not have any Devi image of Kamakhya. It is known as the garbha griha and is below ground level. It consists of the rock shaped Yoni of Kamkhaya Temple. The vibe inside this garbha griha lit with earthen lamps is mystical. The narrow steps leading to it are filled with devotees who clamour to be in the presence of the mysterious shakti power that emanates from Kamakhya temple Yoni.
The yoni-shaped depression I mentioned is constantly filled with water from an underground spring. The water is said to be most auspicious, and devotees carry a bit of it when they leave the inner sanctum. Kamakhya Devi image is portrayed as a young girl of 16 years of age with ten arms holding various weapons of war.
The outer construction of the Maa Kamakhya temple Guhawati has got various panels that have images of Lord Ganesh and other gods. The shikhara of the main temple is built like a polygonal beehive structure made of brick which is synonymous with the temple stye in this Kamarupa region. The main temple consists of four chambers. These include the inner sanctum that I spoke about and three other mandapas.
Kamakhya, the Goddess principle, manifests as creation herself. The stone, which represents the Yoni, has a natural spring that flows through it. This water is sacred, and during the AMBUBACHI, which is the time of Menstruation of the goddess, the spring waters turn red. I cannot understand how this happens or its rationale, but I believe in this occurrence and take it at its face value. During this time, the temple remains closed, and after that, the Ambubachi Mela takes place in full swing. The actual stone, which represents the part of Goddess Sati, is well below the ground; what is seen on top means the original stone, as per me.
Kamakhya Devi temple Guwahati is visited by many mighty sages, ascetics, tantric and sadhaks. Kamakhya Devi Assam is the seat of tantra Siddha. I feel energy can be tapped into if one is tuned to the arts of tantra Siddha. Tantra Siddha is not to be confused with the shallow realm of black magic. Kamakhya temple story is the stuff of legends indeed.
After the darshan, I sat on the long steps which ran along one end of the periphery. The entire temple complex was spread in front of me. While I knew that I had to leave, a part of me spoke from within that I would be back. I will once again come to Maa at Kamakhya Devi Shakti peeth. Every step taken towards this temple is worthy of doing something worthwhile in this life that I am leading.
How to reach Kamakhya Devi Temple Guhawati. What are the timings of the Kamakhya temple?
The Kamakhya Devi temple Assam timings for all days of the week are between 0800 AM to 0100 PM and then from 0230 PM to 0530 PM. There is a heavy rush, and one needs to take the entry token post showing the COVID vaccination certificate. One can also avail of the VIP darshan. however, in my view, time taken for VIP or non VIP is almost the same considering the quantum of devotees who throng the Kamarup Kamakhya Devi.
The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport, 20 km away is the closest airport. The Guwahati Railway station is 7 km away. One can always hire local Cabs like OLA to reach the temple.
Tips for Visiting Kamakhya Devi Temple Guhawati
- Opt for the VIP darshan
- Photography is allowed but not inside the inner shrine though I would say avoid taking bulky DLSRs.
- Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited
- Dress conservatively
- Maintain decorum inside the temple premises.
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