Kamakhya Temple

Down the centuries, Kamrup Kamakhya has been the seat of the powerful tantrik cult in India. Situated atop the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, it is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of the country. Rising to a modest height of 562 feet above the mighty river Brahmaputra, the hill on which the temple stands commands a magnificent view of the entire city. Several smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Kala Bhairava, Shiva and other Hindu deities are also located in its vicinity.

History

Kamakhya came into existence after the female genitalia of Sati, the Great Mother Goddess, fell when Vishnu started dismembering her body to force her inconsolable husband, Shiva, into performing his divine duties again.

Legend has it that King Daksha had organized a sacrificial rite, to which he invited all the deities except Shiva. In fact, Daksha had done it deliberately to insult Shiva. Sati, being the daughter of Daksha, came uninvited. During the ceremony, Daksha began to speak ill of Shiva. Unable to bear the insults heaped on her husband, Sati immolated herself. The meditation of Shiva, who is omnipresent, was disturbed. Furious, he descended on Daksha and his kinsmen and destroyed them. With the dead body of his beloved Sati on his shoulders, he started the dance of destruction (Tandava). In his attempt to calm down Shiva and save the world from ruin, Vishnu sent forth his chakra to cut Sati's dead body. The reproductive organ of Sati, the yoni, fell at the spot where the temple of Kamakhya stands today.

When the yoni of Sati fell on the hill, where the temple stands, the hill turned blue and came to be known as Nilachal (blue mountain). The name of the place Kamrup Kamakhya was given by Narakasur, the demon king. He made Kamakhya his patron deity. The original temple was built by Kamdev, the God of Love, with the help of the celestial architect Vishwakarma.

Tradition has it that once in every year, the spring waters at Kamakhya turn red and the temple remains closed. Kamakhya, the Mother Goddess, is supposed to enter her period of menstruation. Cloth offerings brought from near and afar by devotees are soaked in the waters and distributed as prasad (offering).

Tourists Attractions

The shrine consists of a flight of steps down to the bowels of the earth, to a dark mysterious chamber. Here, draped in a silk sari and covered with flowers is kept the matra yoni.

Places Around Kamakhya

From Kamakhya, one can go to Kachapukhuri. This is a natural pond full of turtles. However, what puzzles the zoologist and common man alike is the habitation of these amphibians at such a high altitude.

The Bhutanese Tara Temple and the shrine of the snake Goddess, Manasa, are two other temples situated in the vicinity of Kamakhya.

The Bhubaneswari Temple is situated at the highest point of the hill. It offers a spectacular view of the city and the Brahmaputra River.

How To Reach

By Road - Kamakhya is connected to the city center by a good motorable road. Guwahati is connected to other parts of the country, including Calcutta and Delhi, by road, airways and railways.

By Air - The nearest airport is Gopinath Bordoloi Airport at Borzhar, 14 km from the city center. Regular flights are available from Calcutta while five days a week flight service is available from Delhi.

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