The Kamakhya Temple (Assamese: kāmākhyā mandir); also Kamrup-Kamakhya is a Hindu temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. Situated on the Nilachal Hill in the western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India, it is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas.
The shrine is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country and is a part of the four most important Shakti Peethas along with the Vimala Temple and Sthana Khanda in Odisha and Dakhina Kalika in Kolkata, West Bengal. Kamakhya temple is the Goddess of Desire, and celebratory for the Tantrik sect of Hinduism. Followers of the Tantra Sect place their belief in Kamakshi or Kamakhya and hence this shrine holds tremendous religious, historic and archaeological significance.
Although Kamakhya is the presiding deity of this temple, the 10 Mahavidyas also make an appearance in the temple. Among these, Tripurasundari, Matangi, and Kamal reside in the main sanctum of the temple while Kali, Tara, Sodashi, Bhuvaneshwari, Chhinnamasta, Dhumvati, and Bagalamukhi have individual temples dedicated to them. The main entrance of the Kamakhya temple is beautifully designed with simple yet elegant carvings which are lightly decorated with colourful flowers. The temple has a massive dome which overlooks the quaint Nilanchal Hills in the background. Visit this temple for a long due acquaintance with the Divine.
Legend says that once upon a time, a very powerful king named Daksha ruled in the country. He had a beautiful daughter named Sati, and when she came of age, King Daksh began looking for a suitable groom for her. As luck would have it, Sati got attracted to Lord Shiva whom King Daksh despised thoroughly. Despite wanting otherwise, Sati and Shiva got married and started living together. This was not acceptable to King Daksh, and he decided to organize a ‘yajna’ or fire sacrifice ritual where Shiva and Sati were not invited. However, Sati decided to attend her father’s prayer service in spite of not being invited to the same. Upon reaching the venue, she and her husband were thoroughly disrespected by Daksh and unable to tolerate the humiliation, Sati jumped into the ritualistic fire.
Upon learning of Sati’s death, Shiva was livid and he started performing the ‘Tandava’ or celestial dance of destruction. This gave way to apocalyptic destruction on the Earth, and the Gods feared that the world was nearing its end. When repeated pleas to Shiva by the other Gods went in vain, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra upon Sati’s dead body which cut it into 52 different parts. Each of the remains fell on a different portion of the country and a temple emerged there. The Kamakhya Devi Temple was the site where Sati’s ‘yoni’ or vulva had fallen. This temple is a center for the worship of Shakti, who is believed to be the Goddess of Desire.
- Kamakhya is one of the oldest shakti temples
- This temple was destroyed in early 16th century and then rebuilt in the 17th century by king Nara Narayana of Cooch Bihar
- Kamakhya is clustered with many other temples
- Kamakhya symbolizes procreation
- The modern temple was built by a king
- There are geological formations within the temple
- A number of special pujas are also held round the year in Kamakhya Temple.
Things to keep in mind before traveling
- You dont need an Inner Line Permit to visit Assam.
- The weather in the north-east is pretty unpredictable, so be prepared to have delays due to the bad weather.
- Locals are friendly and helpful. Be patient as not everyone will know fluent Hindi or English.
- Most cell phone networks don’t work well, so inform your family or friends about your whereabouts whenever possible.
- Don’t forget to carry some ready to cook food packets or instant noodles if you’re strictly a vegetarian.
- Carry extra batteries, power banks and most importantly warm clothing.
- Keep at least a couple of extra days in hand in case of any problems like landslides and bad weather on your way.