Maa Kamakhya Temple is a holy Temple Shrine located in the city of Guwahati in Assam. Kamakhya Temple is one among the 51 Shakti Peethas in India and is dedicated to Mother Goddess Kamakhya. The Kamakhya Temple is considered most sacred and is the oldest among the 51 Shakti Peethas in the World.
The Kamakhya Temple is located atop the Nilachal Hills in the western part of the city of Guwahati along the banks of the River Brahmaputra. The Kamakhya Temple is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Sodashi, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. Among these, the Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples. The Kamakhya Temple is an important pilgrimage destination for the general Hinduism practicing community and especially for Tantric worshipers.
Kamakhya Temple is surrounded by many other temples dedicated to several other deities like Bhuvaneshwari, Kali, Tara, Chinnamasta, Bagala, Bhairavi, Dhoomavati, Matangi and Kamala. All of them together with the Kamakhya Temple are collectively known as the Dasamahavidya. Apart from the Shakti temples, the Nilachal Hill also has five Shiva Temples – Kameshwar, Siddheshwar, Amratokeshwar, Aghor and Kautilinga on it.
Architecture of the Kamakhya Temple ~
The Kamakhya Temple consists of four (4) main chambers ~ The Garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called Calanta, Pancaratna and Natamandira. The Garbhagriha has a Pancharathaplan and rests on plinth moldings, above which are dados from a later period of the Khajuraho or the Central Indian type, consisting of sunken panels alternating with pilasters. The Sikhara in the shape of a Bee-hive. The inner sanctum, the Garbhagriha, is a cave below ground level and consists of no images of the Goddess but only a rock fissure:
The Garbhagriha is small, dark and reached by narrow steep stone steps. Inside the cave there is a sheet of stone that slopes downwards from both sides meeting in a yoni-like depression some 10 inches deep. This hallow is constantly filled with water from an underground perennial spring. It is the vulva-shaped depression that is worshiped as the goddess Kamakhya herself and considered as most important pitha (abode) of the Devi.
The current structure of the Kamakhya Temple was built during the reign of the Ahom kingdom, with remnants of the earlier Koch temple carefully preserved. The Kamakhya Temple was destroyed during the middle of second millennium and the revised temple structure was built in 1565 by Chilarai of the Koch dynasty in the style of medieval temples. The current structure has a beehive-like Shikhara characteristic of lower Assam with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside. The temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock.
Kamakhya Temple Timings ~
5:30 AM ~
Snana of the Pithasthana.
6:00 AM ~
8:00 AM ~
Temple door open for devotees.
1:00 PM –
Temple door closed for cooked offerings to the goddess followed by distribution among the devotees.
2:30 PM ~
Temple door reopens for the devotees.
5:30 PM ~
Aarati of Goddess followed by closing of the temple door for the night.
There is no defined Visiting Hours for the Pilgrims and Tourists. They can visit whenever the Temple Remains open, which is from 5:30 in the morning to 10:00 PM in the night. On Special Occasions, these timings get extended.
Prominent Festivals celebrated at the Maa Kamakhya Temple ~
Being the center for Tantra worship this temple attracts thousands of tantra devotees in an annual festival known as the Ambubachi Mela. Another annual celebration is the Manasha Puja. Durga Puja is also celebrated annually at Kamakhya during Navaratri in the autumn. This five-day festival attracts several thousand visitors.
History of the Temple Shrine of Kamakhya Temple ~
The Kamakhya Temple in addition to being a revered Shrine among its devotees has an interesting history.
As per the historical belief, Goddess Uma (Sati), unable to bear the ridicules hurled at her husband, Lord Shiva, by her father, King Daksha, when she went uninvited to attend the auspicious Daksha Yagna solemnized by her father in his abode, gave up her body. On hearing the news of his beloveds death, an enraged Shiva, lifted Goddess Uma’s corpse on his shoulder and resorted to Tandava. The three worlds shook in its reverberation. The Gods assembled but no one could amass the courage to go near Lord Shiva and calm him down. Lord Vishnu launched his celestial weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra, which cut Goddess Uma’s corpse into fifty one (51) pieces. These pieces fell down to earth and wherever they fell gave rise to ‘Peethas’ or places of pilgrimage. The creative part i.e. the Holy Mother’s Yoni fell in the blue stone i.e. the Nilachal Hill. Lord Kama, engaging the services of the celestial architect Viswakarma, sculpted Sixty Four (64) Jogini and Eighteen (18) Bhairava idols on the walls of the Temple and named the Temple as Anandakhya Mandir.
After that for various reasons elaborated in the Holy books, the Kamakhya Temple started getting ruined and gradually the Holy Temple of Maa Kamakhya got engulfed by a dense forest. Once, the King of Cooch Behar, Maharaja Shivasingha came to Assam to fight the Ahoms. During their journey, one night they fell thirsty and in search of water they lost their way from the midst of their soldiers and wandered in the Neelachal Hills. Here they saw a beacon of light and followed it and found an old woman worshipping a waterfall within the ruins of a temple. Following the advice of the old woman, the King quenched his thirst with the water from the waterfall. They also came to know from the old woman, the Magnificence of the Temple whose ruins were situated there. They prayed to the Holy Mother to bless them to reunite with their soldiers and fulfill their wishes an proclaimed to the Mother that if their wishes got fulfilled, they will rebuild the Kamakhya Temple on the ruins with Gold.
Very soon the King’s wishes got fulfilled and after consultation with the Learned Pundits, the King started rebuilding the Kamakhya Temple. But since they could not make the Kamakhya Temple with Gold, going by their earlier assent, the Kamakhya Temple started crumbling down. The Holy Mother then appeared in their dreams and instructed the Kings to rebuild the Kamakhya Temple with one ‘Rati’ of Gold between every stone, going by their earlier submission. Abiding by the instructions of the Holy Mother, Maharaja started reconstructing the Temple in the year 1555 A.D. The construction was completed by his son Maharaja Narayanan in the year 1565 A.D. Going by another scripture, Narakasura had constructed the four pathways from the foot of the Neelachal Hills leading to the Kamakhya temple on the four corners of the Hill within one night, which exists even today!
Ambubachi Mela ~ the Eastern Mahakumbh
‘Kamakhya Devi’ is famous as the ‘Bleeding Goddess’. The mythical womb and vagina of Shakti are supposedly installed in the ‘Garvagriha’ or Sanctum of the Temple. In the month of Ashaad (June), the Goddess bleeds or menstruates. At this time, the Brahmaputra River near Kamakhya turns red. The Temple then remains closed for 3 days and holy water is distributed among the devotees of Kamakhya devi. There is no scientific proof that the blood actually turns the river red. Some people say that the priests pour vermilion into the waters. But symbolically, menstruation is the symbol of a woman’s creativity and power to give birth. So, the deity and temple of ‘Kamakhya’ celebrates this ‘Shakti’ or power within every woman.
It is during these three days that the festival of ‘Ambubachi Mela’ is celebrated with great pomp and show. The ‘Ambubachi Mela’ is one of the prominent festivals of Assam and it is held in Guwahati. Kamakhya temple of Guwahati acts as the host of this event and this festival has also been fondly called the ‘Eastern Mahakumbh’. The Gates of the temple remain closed though devotees populate the temple in high numbers to seek the blessings of the Goddess. The ‘Ambubachi Mela’ will hold special interest for you if you are interested in the occult or the ‘tantric’ sciences. The Kamakhya Temple is also an important center for practice and study of Tantra and Shaktism.
The weeklong Ambubachi Mela is the most popular festival held every June in the Kamakhya Temple complex. The temple celebrates the harmony between the feminine reproductive energy and fertility and the power of nature. The holy temple and all other temples across Assam remain closed for three days. The Temple doors open after three days and amid great festivity.
The devout from far and near come to the Shakti Peetha to worship the Mother Goddess for fertility during this period. While sadhus and saints chant outside the temple, the devotees sing kirtan through the whole night in order to allow the Divine Mother to relax in her privacy and solitude. It marks the Divine Mother’s retreat from the demand of her devotees.
The Ambubachi Mela is organized in the Assamese month of Aahar during the monsoon season when the sun transits to the zodiac of Mithuna. This generally falls around the middle of June as per the English Calendar.
The prasad distributed at the Ambubachi Mela after the temple doors are thrown open are Angodak and Angabastra. Angodak means the red fluid of the body – which refers to the water from the spring and Angabastra means the cloth covering the body – a piece of red cloth used to cover the stone (yoni) during the days of divine menstruation which is distributed in tiny bits to every devotee.
Being celebrated every year with great pomp and festivities, the Ambubachi Mela at the Kamakhya Temple annually draws over 25 lakh pilgrims. Ambubachi Mela is a major attraction for the pilgrims and the State Government launches massive campaigns every year to ensure a hassle free and comfortable ritual duration of the pilgrims.
Sample Itinerary for your visit to the Maa Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati ~
Day 1 ~ Guwahati – Kaziranga National Park
Arrive at Guwahati Airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative at the airport offering a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. From the Airport drive to the Kaziranga National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park is home to the highest population of the Endangered One Horned Rhinoceros species anywhere in the world. On arrival check into a Comfortable hotel/Guest House. Visit the nearby tea gardens in the late afternoon. Evening Bon fire and cultural performances (Bihu Dance of Assam) on request.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at the Kaziranga National Park
Meals Included: NA
Day 2 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kaziranga Orchid Park – Guwahati
Early morning go for a Jeep Safari into the Kaziranga National Park from the Bagodi/Kohora Safari Range at the National Park. Later in the day visit the Kaziranga Orchid and Bio-Diversity Park at Kaziranga National Park. The Kaziranga Orchid and Bio-Diveristy Park is the Largest Orchid Park in India. Depart to Guwahati.
Night Stay: Comfortable Hotel at Guwahati
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3 ~ Kamakhya Temple – Depart
Early morning visit the holy Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati. After breakfast you will depart to Guwahati Airport for your onward destination. Trip Ends. Bid Adieu!
Meals Included: Breakfast
To plan your Visit to Kamkahya Temple from Kaziranga National Park please fill the form