Kamakshya Temple

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Gateway to Kamakhya Temple. It is one amongst the holiest shrines throughout India. Perched on Nilanchal Hill in Kamrup district of Assam. The temple commemorates Hindu Goddess Sati in her aspect of Kamakhya Devi. Goddess Kamakhya is also known as Sodashi in the local region.

Entrance to the temple. Kamakhya Temple is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. As per tradition, during the time of self-sacrifice, the genital organ (yoni) of Sati fell at this spot. Kamakhya Mandir is a natural cave with a spring. In order to reach the temple, one has to take a flight of steps that goes down into a dark and strange shrine.

You see the temple. In the shrine, Kamakhya Devi, in the form of genital organ (yoni), presides as a big crevice in the bedrock. The Goddess is covered naturally by a rivulet of water gushing upward from an underground spring. The crevice is usually covered with sari, flowers and vermilion powder (Sindoor).

Another view of the temple. The temple is very much ancient in its origin, yet it was restructured in 1665, when it was attacked by the Muslim invaders. The effort of this reconstruction was made by King Nar Narayan of Cooch, Bihar. The spire of this temple is shaped like a beehive.

Another view of the temple. Besides Kamakhya Devi, there are images of Ganesha, Chamundeswari and various dancing sculptures. In the temple, an image of the King and related inscriptions are visible.

A Sadhu overlooking one of the images in the temple complex.

Inside the temple. Essentially, the Goddess ''Kamakhya'' is believed to be the granter of desires. In traditional terms, Assam is known as ''Kamarupa Desa'', a place that is associated with Tantric practices and worship of Shakti.

Inside the temple. In Kalika Purana (an ancient scripture), Kamakhya is referred as the goddess who fulfills all desires, the bride of Lord Shiva and the benefactor of salvation.

Inside the temple complex. During the occasion of Navratri (Sep-Oct), a three day festival attracts thousands of pilgrims. This festival is known as Ambuvaci (Ameti), which is unique with its own significance.

Inside the temple complex. It is said to be the greatest shrine of tantric Shaktism find mention in the inscription of the Allahabad pillar of Samudragupta. Devotees from all over India converge on this holy place during Ambubashi and Manasha Puja.

Inside the temple complex. Pandit Rajmani Tugnait wrote in his book ‘Introduction to Tantra’ and quote ‘The apparent contradiction between the left & right paths can be resolved by visiting Kamakhya shrine in Assam & doing practices there. This is a shrine where animal sacrifice is still practiced – but the atmosphere is permeated by an overwhelming air of compassion. The protector all living beings, the Divine Mother consumed flesh, Bhairava – the giver of mental clarity & spiritual illumination is pleased by the offering of clarity.

Inside the temple complex. Contd ‘Tantrics here talk as if they invariably include sex as the fifth & last step in their sadhana, but in reality they observe celibacy. Anyone who is not familiar with the basic metaphysics of tantra will find the experience here disorienting. Conversely if they come prepared they will experience the dance of the destructive & creative aspects of divinity’.

Inside the temple complex. Contd ‘The habit of getting distracted is the greatest obstacle of an extended stay here. The next obstacle is an attraction to miracles. The tantrics who deliberately perform miracles, however, are shielding the true adepts from aspirants who are merely seeking power & pleasure. If you are not distracted by miracles you are a master. This is one of the rare sites where you can find tantric adepts of all ten of the esoteric paths known as the Maha Vidyas’.

Tara temple

Inside the temple complex. Editor. I have not visited the temple. Narrations are from Assam Tourism site. Any errors and omissions are deeply regretted.