India abounds in spirituality and mysticism and the Kamakhya temple on top of the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Assam is a major Shakti Peeth of the Hindu religion. Now what exactly is “Shakti Peeth”? Well, obviously it’s a place of worship but its allegiance is to the goddess of “Shakti”, or in other words, goddess of power. The Kamakhya temple, which is also a Shakti Peeth, is dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya and is a very prominent pilgrimage site, especially for the Hindu tantric worshipers.
Another view of the temple.
According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, Goddess Parvati who is also the wife of the prominent Hindu god of destruction Shiva immolated herself when her husband was insulted by her father. This enraged Shiva and he killed her father and started roaming the world with the dead body of Parvati on his shoulder. The world virtually came to a standstill!! Something had to be done and that is when the supreme Hindu god Vishnu used his divine disc to chop off the body of the goddess. Each place where a part dropped turned into a Shakti Peeth and it is said that the groin of the goddess fell in Kamakhya.
The sculptures on the temple wall.
The temple precincts swell with Hindu sadhus or holy men from all over the country during the “Ambubachi festival” and this year it is just 15 days away. I went there yesterday and it seems the gathering has not yet reached its crescendo. But none the less, it was a thrilling experience and I got so many shots.
A Sadhu or “Indian holy man”.
For the more adventurous, the temple on the Nilachal hill top can also be reached by a steep, slippery stone path and it is quite an effort to climb all the 800 feet!! There is another interesting legend associated with this path. It is said that there was a demon called Narakashur who got attracted to Goddess Kamakhya and wanted to marry her. To ward him off peacefully she threw a challenge to him asking him to make a path for her from the top of the hill to the plains below in one night. This was an impossible task but Narakashur took the challenge and it seemed he was going to make it. The Goddess panicked and forced a cock to roost although daylight had still not arrived. Narakashur, thought that it is already day and left the job midway, totally frustrated. Thus so, an alliance between the demon and the God was prevented from materializing. As for me, I did not take the pain of climbing that path as the weather is too hot and humid at this time of the year and took my own car instead. Taxis and buses play constantly from below the hill to the top and it is worth a visit if you ever come to this corner of the world.
The temple bells to let the Goddess know of your presence.
The temple lamps. Offerings from the devotees.
A proud temple goat.
Shops selling spiritual trinkets near the temple.
A sumptuous meal after the visit.
It was a nice daylong trip. Do let me know your thoughts and pour in your questions if you have any…