The Kamakhya Temple, also known as Kamrup-Kamakhya Temple, is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kamakhya.
It is one of the most important and revered pilgrimage sites in India and is on Nilachal Hill in the western part of Guwahati city in the northeastern state of Assam.
The temple is an integral part of Assamese culture and has a unique significance in the Hindu religious tradition.
Key features and information about the Kamakhya Temple
The temple is to the goddess Kamakhya, who is considered one of the Mahavidyas (a group of ten goddesses in Hinduism) and is often with the powerful and primordial aspects of the feminine divine.
Kamakhya is to be the goddess of desire, fertility, and menstruation.
Kamakhya Temple is for its unique and somewhat unusual worship practices.
The temple is for its sacred yoni-shaped stone, representing the goddess’s reproductive organ.
This yoni is by a red silk sari and is kept in a small, dark chamber.
The annual Ambubachi Mela, which celebrates the goddess’s menstruation, is one of the most significant events at the temple.
The temple’s architecture is a blend of Assamese and Bengali styles, with a distinctive shikhara (dome) atop the sanctum sanctorum. The temple complex includes several other smaller temples dedicated to various deities and a large water tank known as the “Kund.”
The Kamakhya Temple is an important pilgrimage destination for devotees of the goddess Kamakhya and is also visited by tourists and spiritual seekers from all over the world.
Besides the Ambubachi Mela, the temple witnesses a grand celebration during the Durga Puja festival, Navaratri, and other Hindu festivals. These festivals attract a large number of devotees and tourists.
The temple is situated on Nilachal Hill, offering panoramic views of the Brahmaputra River and the city of Guwahati. It is easily accessible from the city center.
The history of the Kamakhya Temple dates back centuries, with mentions in various ancient texts and inscriptions. The current temple structure was largely constructed in the 17th century, but the site’s religious importance predates this.
The temple is closely associated with the Shakti peethas, which are revered as places where body parts of the goddess Sati (an incarnation of Shakti) fell to the earth when Lord Shiva carried her burnt body after her self-immolation.
Kamakhya Temple is not only a religious site but also a symbol of the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Assam and the broader Indian subcontinent. It attracts devotees, scholars, and tourists alike, making it a significant destination in Northeast India.
Description of Temple
The Kamakhya Temple, located on Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Assam, is a fascinating religious site with unique architecture and spiritual significance. Here’s a detailed description of the temple:
The Kamakhya Temple is known for its distinctive architectural style, which is a blend of Assamese and Bengali architecture. The main temple structure has a shikhara (dome) on top, and the temple complex is surrounded by a series of smaller shrines and courtyards. The entire temple is constructed using locally available stone.
To reach the temple, visitors ascend a flight of stone stairs that wind their way up the Nilachal Hill. As you approach the temple, you’ll notice the intricate and colorful artwork adorning the exterior walls.
The main sanctum of the temple houses the yoni-shaped stone that symbolizes the goddess Kamakhya. The sanctum is a small, dark chamber where the yoni is covered with a red silk sari. Devotees come to offer prayers and seek blessings from the goddess.
The temple is famous for the Ambubachi Mela, an annual festival that celebrates the goddess’s menstruation. During this time, the temple remains closed for three days as it is believed that the goddess is going through her annual cycle. On the fourth day, the temple reopens with great festivities.
The temple complex includes a large water tank called the “Kund.” Devotees often take a ritual bath in this tank before entering the temple premises.
Within the temple complex, there are several smaller shrines dedicated to various deities and forms of the goddess. These shrines house statues and images of different gods and goddesses.
The temple is a hub of religious activities, and priests conduct various rituals and pujas throughout the day. Devotees offer prayers, light oil lamps, and make offerings to seek the blessings of the goddess.
The Kamakhya Temple celebrates various Hindu festivals with great fervor. The most prominent festival is Durga Puja, which is celebrated during Navaratri. During this time, the temple is beautifully decorated, and cultural performances take place.
Besides its religious significance, the temple offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Brahmaputra River and the city of Guwahati. Visitors often take a moment to admire the scenic beauty from the temple premises.
The Kamakhya Temple is not just a place of worship but also a symbol of Assamese culture and spirituality. It attracts people from all over India and the world who come to experience its unique traditions and rituals.
Overall, the Kamakhya Temple is a place of devotion, spirituality, and cultural richness. Its unique worship practices and stunning architecture make it a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring the diverse religious heritage of India.
History of Kamakhya Temple
The history of the Kamakhya Temple is shrouded in antiquity, and it has a rich and complex historical background. While precise dates for its construction and early history are not available, the temple’s significance and legends are deeply ingrained in Indian mythology and religious traditions. Here’s an overview of the history of the Kamakhya Temple:
The roots of the Kamakhya Temple are believed to trace back to ancient times, with mentions in various Hindu scriptures and texts. Some sources suggest that the temple may have existed as early as the 8th to 9th centuries AD. However, these references are often vague, and the exact founding date remains uncertain.
Legend of the Shakti Peetha
One of the most significant aspects of Kamakhya Temple’s history is its association with the Shakti Peethas. According to Hindu mythology, the Shakti Peethas are places where the body parts of the goddess Sati (an incarnation of Shakti) fell to the earth after she immolated herself in her father Daksha’s fire ritual. Kamakhya is believed to be one of these sacred sites, with the yoni (reproductive organ) of the goddess falling here.
Renovations and Rebuildings
The temple complex has undergone several renovations and rebuildings over the centuries. The current structure of the Kamakhya Temple is primarily attributed to the Ahom kings who ruled the region in the 17th century. King Naranarayana of the Ahom dynasty is credited with significant contributions to the temple’s reconstruction.
Koch Dynasty Influence
The Kamakhya Temple also received patronage from the Koch dynasty, which ruled parts of Assam. The Koch kings made contributions to the temple’s development and worship.
Over the centuries, the Kamakhya Temple has gained immense religious significance as a center of Shakti worship. It has attracted pilgrims and devotees from all over India and beyond. The temple plays a crucial role in the cultural and spiritual life of the Assamese people.
The Ambubachi Mela, an annual festival celebrating the goddess’s menstruation, has been observed at the temple for centuries. During this time, the temple remains closed for three days, and thousands of devotees gather to witness this unique event.
In the modern era, Kamakhya Temple has continued to thrive as a place of worship, pilgrimage, and cultural significance. It draws devotees, scholars, tourists, and spiritual seekers from around the world.
Conservation and Preservation
Efforts have been made to preserve and protect the temple complex and its historical heritage. Various authorities and organizations have worked to maintain the temple’s structural integrity and cultural significance.
In summary, the Kamakhya Temple’s history is deeply intertwined with Hindu mythology, regional rulers, and a tradition of worship that spans centuries. While the exact origins remain somewhat uncertain, its enduring significance as a Shakti Peetha and a center of devotion continues to make it a revered and iconic religious site in India.
Legends of Kamakhya Temple
The Kamakhya Temple is steeped in legends and mythology, making it a place of great spiritual significance in Hinduism. Here are some of the prominent legends associated with the Kamakhya Temple:
The Legend of Sati and Shiva
One of the most well-known legends surrounding Kamakhya Temple is associated with the Hindu deities Shiva and Sati. According to the legend, Sati, the daughter of the god Daksha, married Lord Shiva against her father’s wishes. In a fit of anger and frustration, Daksha organized a grand yagna (sacrificial ritual) and deliberately excluded Shiva from it. Sati, feeling humiliated, immolated herself in the yagna fire.
The Dispersal of Sati’s Body
In his grief and anger, Shiva carried Sati’s charred body and performed the cosmic dance known as the Tandava, which threatened to destroy the universe. To prevent this catastrophe, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra (discus) to cut Sati’s body into pieces. These pieces fell at various locations across the Indian subcontinent, becoming sacred sites known as Shakti Peethas.
Kamakhya as a Shakti Peetha
Kamakhya Temple is believed to be one of the Shakti Peethas, specifically the place where the yoni (reproductive organ) of the goddess Sati is said to have fallen. This is why the temple is considered a powerful center of Shakti worship and is associated with the divine feminine aspect of the goddess.
The Annual Menstruation of the Goddess
Another unique legend associated with Kamakhya Temple is the belief that the goddess Kamakhya undergoes an annual menstrual cycle. The temple remains closed for three days during this time, known as the Ambubachi Mela.
Kamakhya and Kamadeva
Another legend connects the name “Kamakhya” to the story of Kamadeva, the god of love and desire. It is said that when Kamadeva was reduced to ashes by Lord Shiva’s third eye, his ashes fell at Kamakhya, and the goddess revived him. Hence, Kamakhya is sometimes associated with love and desire.
Kamakhya and the River Brahmaputra
It is believed that the Kamakhya Temple’s location on the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati is closely linked to the river Brahmaputra. According to legends, the hill was originally inhabited by the demon Naraka, who was defeated by Lord Krishna. The hill later became the abode of the goddess Kamakhya.
These legends not only contribute to the temple’s religious significance but also shape the unique rituals and practices associated with the worship of the goddess Kamakhya at this sacred site. The Kamakhya Temple continues to attract devotees and pilgrims who come to pay homage to the goddess and seek her blessings in accordance with these age-old legends.
Festivals in Kamakhya Temple
The Kamakhya Temple in Assam, India, is known for its vibrant and spiritually charged festivals. These festivals attract devotees and tourists from all over India and beyond. Some of the most prominent festivals celebrated at the Kamakhya Temple include:
The Ambubachi Mela is one of the most significant festivals at the Kamakhya Temple. It celebrates the annual menstruation of the goddess Kamakhya and takes place during the monsoon season, usually in June or July. During this three-day festival, the temple remains closed as it is believed that the goddess is going through a purification process. On the fourth day, the temple reopens, and devotees rush to receive blessings from the goddess. The Ambubachi Mela is a unique and spiritually charged event, drawing thousands of pilgrims.
Durga Puja is another major festival celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Kamakhya Temple. It occurs during the Navaratri period, which usually falls in September or October. The festival lasts for nine days and celebrates the divine feminine energy. The temple is beautifully decorated, and various cultural performances, including traditional dances and music, take place during this time. On the ninth day, the idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in the Brahmaputra River.
Manasa Puja is dedicated to Goddess Manasa, the serpent goddess and a daughter of Lord Shiva. It is celebrated with devotion and fervor, especially in Assam and Bengal. Devotees worship snakes and seek protection from snakebites. At Kamakhya Temple, a special puja dedicated to Goddess Manasa is conducted during this festival.
Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year
Pohela Boishakh marks the Bengali New Year and is celebrated with enthusiasm by the Bengali community in Assam. People dress in traditional attire, participate in processions, and enjoy cultural performances. It is a time for new beginnings and festivities.
Navaratri, a nine-night festival of the goddess Durga, is at Kamakhya Temple.
Each day of Navaratri is of a different form of the goddess, and special pujas and prayers are conducted. Devotees fast, dance and sing devotional songs during this auspicious period.
Other Hindu Festivals
Kamakhya Temple also celebrates other Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and Saraswati Puja. These festivals are marked by special prayers, rituals, and cultural events within the temple complex.
Local and Regional Festivals
In addition to these major festivals, the Kamakhya Temple is part of the vibrant cultural tapestry of Assam. It participates in various local and regional festivals, fairs, and events that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Visiting the Kamakhya Temple during these festivals allows one to experience the spiritual fervor, cultural diversity, and traditions of Assam and Hinduism. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the devotion of the temple’s devotees and the vibrant celebrations that take place throughout the year.
What is special about the Kamakhya temple?
The Kamakhya Temple in Assam, India, is considered special and unique for several reasons:
Kamakhya Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in Hindu mythology. These sacred sites are believed to be the places where body parts of the goddess Sati fell when Lord Shiva carried her burnt body after her self-immolation.
Kamakhya is particularly the place where the yoni (reproductive organ) of the goddess is said to have fallen, making it a powerful center of Shakti worship.
The temple is of Goddess Kamakhya, a powerful and primordial form of the goddess Shakti. She is often associated with desire, fertility, and the creative force of the universe. The unique aspect of the temple is its focus on the yoni, representing the divine feminine energy.
Annual Menstruation Ritual
Kamakhya Temple is for its annual Ambubachi Mela, which celebrates the menstruation of the goddess.
During this time, the temple remains for three days, and on the fourth day, it reopens with great festivities.
This ritual is seen as a symbol of the goddess’s fertility and life-giving energy.
Blend of Architecture
The temple’s architecture is a blend of Assamese and Bengali styles, which is distinct from many other Hindu temples in India. The shikhara (dome) atop the sanctum sanctorum is a notable feature, and the intricate artwork on the temple’s exterior walls is also impressive.
Kamakhya Temple holds immense spiritual significance, not only as a center of Shakti worship but also as a place where devotees come to seek blessings, perform rituals, and connect with the divine. The temple’s spiritual aura attracts pilgrims and seekers from across the country.
The temple is an integral part of Assamese culture and heritage. It plays a vital role in the cultural and religious life of the region and contributes to the preservation of ancient traditions and practices.
Perched on Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Kamakhya Temple offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Brahmaputra River and the surrounding landscapes. Its location adds to the overall appeal of the temple.
The temple hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including the Ambubachi Mela, Durga Puja, and other Hindu festivals. These celebrations showcase the rich cultural diversity of Assam.
Legend and Mythology
The temple’s association with legends related to Sati, Shiva, and the goddess Kamakhya adds depth to its historical and religious significance. These legends are an integral part of Indian mythology and are an essential aspect of the temple’s identity.
In summary, the Kamakhya Temple’s uniqueness lies in its status as a Shakti Peetha, its worship of the divine feminine, its annual menstruation ritual, its distinctive architecture, its spiritual significance, and its contribution to Assamese culture and heritage. It is a place where mythology, spirituality, and tradition come together in a captivating manner.
Temple where the goddess gets periods
The temple where it is that the goddess undergoes menstruation is the Kamakhya Temple, in Guwahati, Assam, India.
The annual event is the Ambubachi Mela.
During this period, which typically occurs in June or July, the temple is closed for three days as it is that the goddess Kamakhya undergoes her annual menstrual cycle.
It is a sacred and significant event in the temple’s calendar, symbolizing the fertility and life-giving aspect of the goddess.
On the fourth day, the temple reopens, and thousands of devotees gather to seek blessings and witness the festivities with this unique event.
How much time is required for Kamakhya Darshan?
The time required for Kamakhya Darshan, or visiting the Kamakhya Temple and experiencing its various rituals and darshan (viewing of the deity), can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the time of day, the day of the week, the season, and the size of the crowd. Here are some general guidelines:
On a regular day without any special festivals or events, it usually takes around 1 to 2 hours to have darshan at Kamakhya Temple. The temple typically opens in the early morning and closes in the evening.
Festivals and Special Occasions
During major festivals like Durga Puja, Navaratri, or the Ambubachi Mela, the temple can get crowd. It may take much longer to have darshan during such events, sometimes several hours or even longer due to the heavy influx of devotees.
If you plan to visit during the Ambubachi Mela, keep in mind that the temple closes for three days during the menstruation period of the goddess Kamakhya.
Many devotees prefer to visit the temple in the early morning to avoid the crowds and to experience a peaceful darshan. Arriving early can help you minimize the waiting time.
Weekdays vs. Weekends
Weekdays generally have fewer visitors compared to weekends, so you might have a shorter waiting time if you visit on a weekday.
The tourist and pilgrimage seasons can also impact the crowd and waiting times.
The winter months (November to February) tend to be less crowd to the monsoon and festive seasons.
VIP and Special Entry
Some temples offer VIP or special entry tickets that allow you to skip the regular lines and have quicker access to the deity. Check if such options are available and whether they are worth considering.
It’s essential to plan your visit to the Kamakhya Temple accordingly, taking into account the factors mentioned above. Arriving early, being patient, and respecting the temple’s rules and customs can enhance your experience of darshan at this sacred and culturally rich site.
What is the price of the red cloth of Kamakhya Devi?
The price of the red cloth may vary based on its quality. Finer silk or specially designed cloth may be more expensive than simpler or lower-quality options.
The size of the cloth can also influence its price. Larger pieces of fabric may cost more than smaller ones.
Prices can vary from one shop or vendor to another, both within the temple complex and in the nearby markets of Guwahati. It’s a good idea to compare prices from different vendors before making a purchase.
During major festivals like Durga Puja and Navaratri, when there is a higher demand for offerings, the prices of red cloth and other items may increase.
Some devotees may choose to have specially embroidered or customized red cloth for their offerings, which can be more expensive than plain red silk.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, I do not have specific information about the current prices of red cloth offerings at Kamakhya Temple. Prices can change over time due to various factors. I recommend checking with local vendors or the temple authorities for the most up-to-date information on the cost of red cloth offerings if you plan to visit the temple.
Can men enter Kamakhya Temple?
Yes, men are allowed to enter the Kamakhya Temple. Unlike some other temples in India that have restrictions on the entry of men into certain inner sanctums, the Kamakhya Temple does not have gender-based entry restrictions. Both men and women can visit and worship at the temple.
However, it’s essential to follow the temple’s rules and guidelines, which include being respectful, dressing modestly, and adhering to any specific instructions provided by the temple authorities.
It reopens on the fourth day for everyone to seek darshan.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, these were the general guidelines regarding entry into the Kamakhya Temple. Please check with the temple authorities or local sources for any updates or specific rules if you plan to visit the temple in the future, as practices and policies can change over time.
The Ambubachi festival at Kamakhya temple
The Ambubachi Mela is an annual festival at the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam, India. It is one of the most significant and unique festivals associated with the temple. The festival revolves around the belief that the goddess Kamakhya, the presiding deity of the temple, undergoes her annual menstrual cycle during this time. Here are some key aspects of the Ambubachi Mela:
The Ambubachi Mela typically takes place during the monsoon season, usually in the month of June or July, though the dates can vary. It spans a four-day period.
The Goddess’s Menstruation
According to local belief and mythology, the temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses a yoni-shaped stone, symbolizing the goddess’s reproductive organ. It is that during the Ambubachi Mela, the goddess menstruates, and as a result, the temple remains closed for three days. This period of menstruation is a time of ritual impurity and regeneration.
Closure of the Temple
The temple gates are closes on the first day of the Ambubachi Mela and remain shut for three days. Devotees are not allowed to enter the temple during this time.
Reopening and Celebrations
On the fourth day, the temple reopens with great pomp and enthusiasm. Devotees and pilgrims from various parts of India and neighboring countries gather to witness the reopening of the temple and seek the goddess’s blessings. It is a time of joy, celebration, and spiritual fervor.
Offerings and Rituals
During the Ambubachi Mela, devotees offer various rituals and prayers to the goddess. Some people also offer special puja and prayers in their homes during this time.
The festival is not only a religious event but also holds spiritual significance.
It is that during the goddess’s menstruation, she undergoes a process of purification and regeneration, signifying the cyclical nature of life and creation.
The Ambubachi Mela is a unique cultural event in Assam and draws tourists and scholars interested in the region’s traditions and rituals.
The festival attracts a large number of devotees, sadhus (holy men), and spiritual seekers.
Marketplace and Fair
A marketplace and fair also spring up around the temple during the Ambubachi Mela, where vendors sell a variety of items, including religious artifacts, handicrafts, and local cuisine.
The Ambubachi Mela is a fascinating and spiritually charged event that highlights the deep connection between mythology, tradition, and spirituality in the context of the Kamakhya Temple. It is a unique cultural and religious experience for those who visit during this time.
The best time to visit
The best time to visit the Kamakhya Temple in Assam, India, can vary depending on your preferences and priorities. Here are some considerations for different times of the year:
Ambubachi Mela (June/July)
If you want to witness the unique Ambubachi Mela, which celebrates the annual menstruation of the goddess Kamakhya, you should plan your visit in June or July. However, be prepared for large crowds, as this is one of the most significant events at the temple.
Durga Puja and Navaratri (September/October)
These Hindu festivals, which typically fall in September or October, are with great fervor at Kamakhya Temple. If you enjoy colorful processions, cultural performances, and a festive atmosphere, this is an excellent time to visit. Durga Puja is particularly popular in Assam.
Winter (November to February)
The winter months offer milder and more comfortable weather for exploring the temple and the surrounding area. This is a good time to visit if you prefer to avoid the monsoon rains and extreme heat.
If you want to avoid large crowds and have a quieter experience, consider visiting the temple on weekdays rather than weekends. Weekdays generally have fewer visitors.
To enjoy the beauty of the temple and its surroundings, you might consider visiting during sunrise or sunset. The temple’s location on Nilachal Hill provides stunning views of the Brahmaputra River and the city of Guwahati.
Check Local Events
Be sure to check the local event calendar and any special ceremonies or pujas that may be taking place at the temple during your visit. Some visitors prefer to participate in specific rituals or ceremonies.
Avoid Major Festivals
While major festivals like Durga Puja and Navaratri can be exciting time to visit, they can also result in crowded conditions. If you prefer a more peaceful visit, you may want to avoid these peak festival periods.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Kamakhya Temple depends on your personal preferences, interests, and tolerance for crowds and weather conditions.
How to reach
- Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (Guwahati Airport): This is the nearest airport to Kamakhya Temple. It is well to major cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take public transportation to reach the temple, which is approximately 25 kilometers away.
- Guwahati Railway Station: Guwahati has a major railway station with good connectivity to various parts of the country. Many long-distance trains from major Indian cities stop at Guwahati Railway Station. Once you reach the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to reach Kamakhya Temple, which is around 7 kilometers away.
- Bus: Guwahati is well-connected by road to other cities in the northeastern region and the rest of India. You can take a long-distance bus to the city and then proceed to Kamakhya Temple via taxi or local bus.
- Taxi or Rental Car: You can also hire a taxi or rent a car to reach Guwahati from nearby cities or states. The temple is easily accessible by road, and you can follow directions using GPS or ask locals for guidance.
Once you reach Guwahati, you can easily find transportation options to Kamakhya Temple. The temple is on Nilachal Hill, which offers panoramic views of the Brahmaputra River and the city of Guwahati. The temple is a short distance from the city center and is a popular pilgrimage and tourist destination in Assam.
Tips For Visiting Kamakhya Temple
1. Cameras are allowed, but photography is not allowed inside the inner shrine
2. Alcohol and tobacco products are prohibited
3. Please maintain decorum inside the temple and follow the dress code.
Kamakhya Temple Timings
On regular days, the temple remains open from 08:00 AM – 01:00 PM and 02:30 PM- 05:30 PM.
However, on special days, like Durga Puja, the timing changes are as follows:-
5:30 AM – Snana of the Pithasthana
6:00 AM – Nitya puja
8:00 AM – Temple door open for devotees
1:00 PM – Temple door closed for food offerings to the goddess.
For defense, police, and paramilitary forces