A tour in Guwahati cannot be completed without a visit to the much revered Maa Kamakhya Temple. One of the most popular sites of pilgrimage, the Kamakhya Temple Assam is well recognized in the whole country. If you are a devotee who wishes to visit the Kamakhya Temple then this article is going to be really helpful for you. I have mentioned all the necessary details regarding the Kamakhya Temple that you need to know. The significance and ideas behind the temple is something that makes it one of the most visited shrines in India. You simply cannot miss out on this. You would also get to know a lot about Assam and Assamese culture by observing the rituals here. So keep on reading.
Kamakhya Temple location:
Maa Kamakhya Devalaya, Guwahati, Assam
Kamakhya Temple Timings:
Regular timings is 8 am to 1 pm and 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Kamakhya Temple Special occasion and festival timings:
5:30 am Snana of Pithasthan
6 am Nitya Puja
8 am Temple opens for devotees
1 pm Temple closes for the offering of food to the Goddess.
2:30 pm Temple again reopens
7:30 pm Arati of Goddess
Kamakhya Temple Entry fee:
Free Darshan is available for the general public. For VIP Darshan or direct entry to the temple the fee is Rs. 501 per person. The defense personnel need to pay Rs. 50 per person.
Best time to visit Kamakhya Temple: October to March
Read More: TEMPLES OF ASSAM | ASSAM FAMOUS TEMPLES
How to reach Kamakhya Temple:
How to reach Kamakhya Temple by train:
Guwahati Railway Station is the closest railway station that is only 7 km away from the temple. You will get trains from most of the nearby cities to Guwahati.
How to reach Kamakhya Temple by road:
You will get buses from other cities as well as inside the city. Regular buses operate in various parts of the city. You can take the ASTC or Assam Tourism Department bus services to reach the temple. The buses are available every hour from 8 am to 6 pm.
How to reach Kamakhya Temple by flight:
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati is the nearest airport which is almost connected to major cities. It is about 20 km away from the temple. You can reach there and then take a cab to reach the temple from there.
About Kamakhya Temple:
On top of the Nilachal Hill at an elevation of 562 feet, Kamakhya Temple Guwahati is one of the temples in India that celebrates and honours the power of Women or Shakti. It is one of the oldest Shakti Peethas out of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Also this temple is one of the 4 most powerful Shakti Peethas that is highest in terms of divinity and divine power. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya who is believed to be one of the many incarnations of Devi Shakti.
Kamakhya Temple complex also has different individual temples that denote the Dasa Mahavidyas or Ten Mahavidyas or The Great Wisdoms of Shaktism. Mahavidyas are nothing but different personalities of Goddess Shakti. These are Kali, Tara, Bhubaneshwari, Bhairavi, Tripura Sundari, Dhumavati, Chinnamasta, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala. It is believed by the Shaktas or believers of Shakti that the Divine Mother Goddess has different personalities and facets attached to her. The main temple is surrounded by individual temples of the Mahavidyas which is a rare sight to notice in one single temple complex. Devi Matangi, Tripura Sundari and Kamala are found inside the main temple and the other 7 have their own individual temples. Moreover, this temple is also one of the greatest spots for the Tantra Sadhana or Tantrika cult.
Read More: FESTIVALS OF ASSAM | ASSAM FESTIVALS
Kamakhya Temple Worship:
According to the Hindu Puranas or Scriptures it is believed that the womb of Goddess Sati fell here. This is a temple that celebrates the power of women and her ability to conceive. This temple celebrating the feminine powers worships Maa Kamakhya or the bleeding Goddess. You would not find any idol inside the main sanctum of the temple. Instead what is worshiped is a Yoni or Vagina of the Goddess. This is a structure that lies below the main Sikhara on the ground. It is a crack in the rock that resembles the shape of the female genitalia. Furthermore, it is also believed that the hollow continuously remains filled with water.
Kamakhya Temple Story:
There is an intriguing story attached to Kamakhya Temple. It is believed according to Puranas that Lord Shiva and Devi Sati first met at this temple. Later they got married to each other. Devi Sati’s father was never happy with her daughter getting married to Lord Shiva. However, once Devi Sati wanted to attend a Yajna organized by her father. Lord Shiva was against this and asked her to not go. But Devi Sati went there anyway against the wishes of Lord Shiva. However when she reached there, she was badly humiliated and even Lord Shiva was insulted by her father. Unable to bear the shame and insult she decided to end her life by sacrificing herself.
When Lord Shiva got to know what exactly happened he was devastated as well as aggrieved. He reached there immediately and took the corpse of his wife and started his Dance of Destruction or Tandav. In the process he was causing a lot of destruction which could have ended the whole world. It was then that Lord Vishnu left his Chakra that started cutting the body of Devi Sati into pieces. And later Devi Sati’s womb fell in this location.
Kamakhya Temple History:
Kamakhya Temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples in the country. There is a rich history attached to this temple as well. It is said that this temple was built during the Mleccha Dynasty during 8th to 9th Century. From that time itself this temple became a site for Tantrikism. The Kamrupa kings starting from Indra Pala to Dharma Pala were believers of the tantric way of worship. However later in the days the Kamakhya Temple was destroyed during invasions of the Kamata kingdom during the rule of Hussain Sha.
The temple was in ruins until it was recovered by the founder of Koch Dynasty Vishwasingha. In 1565 the temple was again reconstructed and it still remains as one of the most popular and powerful temples in the country. Till today the temple draws a huge number of devotees annually who believe in the divine power of the Goddess.
Kamakhya Temple Architecture:
The Kamakhya Temple is built in the Nilachal style of architecture. This style of architecture has hemispherical dome structures and the base is in a crucified form. The temple has 4 main chambers from the east to the west. These are:
The garbhagriha or the inner sanctum rests on a base of sunken panels. There are sculptures of deities like Ganesha here. The lower part of the sanctum is made of stone in octagon shape. To reach the garbhagriha you will have to reach the ground level through a series of rock cut steps. There you will find a vulva shaped rock which is worshipped here. It is believed that this space always remains filled from underground springs.
Just beside the garbhagriha towards the west there is Calanta. It is a square chamber of the atchala model. You will find movable Gods and Goddesses here. The walls of this chamber are adorned with images and inscriptions.
In the west of the Calanta there is Pancharatna. This is a rectangle chamber with a flat roof on top of it. Also there are five small spires going up to the roof.
On the west of Pancharatna you will find the Nata mandir. This is the last structure in the temple. The roof of the Nata mandir is made in Ahom style. There are inscriptions carved on the walls of the Nata mandir.
Kamakhya Temple Tour Plan
Festivals in Kamakhya Temple:
The main festival celebrated in this temple is the Ambubachi Festival. This is a celebration of the fertility of the Goddess. It is believed that during the month of June in Ashadh month the Goddess goes through her menstruation. The temple remains closed during those 3 days. After 3 days the Goddess is bathed and rituals are followed again. This festival is celebrated during the monsoon and it is also believed that Mother Earth also is at her fertile best during this time.
According to popular myths it is also believed that the River Brahmaputra flowing beside the temple turns red during this time. This phenomenon is related to the menstruation of the Goddess. However there are other versions of this as well. It is not scientifically proven why the water turns red in colour. Some believe it is because of the vermilion being put into the water that turns the water red. While some believed that this happens due the water being high is iron content.
During the Ambubachi Festival the Ambubachi Mela is held here. A number of devotees visit the temple during this time. Furthermore, the Ambubachi Festival is one of the most popular religious festivals in Assam. Other than that Manasha Puja, Durga Puja are celebrated here as well. Durga Puja is celebrated in the temple for 5 consecutive days and this draws a number of devotees to the temple during this time.
Hotels near Kamakhya Temple:
Guwahati has some good options for hotels and resorts. Some of the hotels near Kamakhya Temple are Mahalaxmi Home Stay, Hotel Sremoyee Inn, Nilachal Stay and Tour, Om Regency, Nilachal Homes, Radisson Blu Hotel Guwahati, Mayur Residency Guwahati etc.
Things to remember visiting the Kamakhya Temple:
It is advisable that you reach the temple a little early to avoid a huge crowd.
The temple premise is a certified No Tobacco Zone. So refrain from smoking inside the complex.
Liquor or alcohol is completely prohibited in and around the temple premise.
Dress a little modestly. There is no strict dress code but it is advisable that you wear an outfit that covers your knees and shoulders.
Photography is prohibited inside the temple’s inner sanctum. You can take photographs of the temple premise though.
It depends on a person on what to believe and what not to believe. The legends and stories attached to this temple fall under that category. You might believe it or may not. But the rich history, the mythological stories attached and the concept of celebrating the feminine energies makes this one of the revered shrines. This temple is considered as one of the most powerful temples worshipping the Female Power or Mother Goddess. You can surely visit the Kamakhya Temple once to learn about the history and origin of this ancient temple. I have added everything in this article that would help you to plan a visit to the Kamakhya Temple Assam. Do let me know if this article was helpful for you.