Situated on a hilltop on the Nilachal hills in Guwahati, Kamakhya Temple is one of the most revered out of all 51 Shakti Peethas in India. This pilgrimage site built in the reign of the Mlechchha dynasty holds religious significance and architectural excellence. Kamakhya Temple is visited by Hindu devotees and inquisitive tourists from across the globe.
Every year in June, the temple remains closed for 3 days, and according to popular belief, it is said that the goddess undergoes the menstruation cycle in this period. Locals also believe that owing to this phenomenon, the water of the river Brahmaputra turns red!
Some believe that the river water turns red due to any unexplored scientific phenomenon, or due to iron-rich soil that gets eroded by the fast-flowing river, while others believe that it’s the vermilion that the priest offers in the river. Keep reading till the end for more interesting trivia about Kamakhya Temple.
History of Kamakhya Temple in Assam
The Kamakhya temple was built in the 8th century and was reconstructed multiple times until the 17th century by different kings belonging to the Ahom and Koch dynasties. Devotees at the temple do not worship an idol instead worship the Yoni (vulva) of Goddess Sati. As per the mythological belief, Goddess Sati once went to her father’s house to participate in an auspicious ceremony, but her father Daksha insulted and spoke ill of Lord Shiva. Unable to bear this insult the Goddess immolated herself. After this, Lord Shiva got so furious that he took the mortal remains of the goddess and started performing Tandav, during this time wherever the parts of the Goddess’s body fell came to be known as Shakti Peethas. Kamakhya Temple is one such Shaktipeeth where the genitals of the goddess fell.
Kamakhya temple is divided into 4 sections beginning from the main Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) and 3 Mandapas that are named Calanta, Pancharatna, and Natamandira. Kamakhya temple is home to 10 Mahavidyas, which are the forms of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Out of these 10 Mahavidyas, 3 reside in the main temple, whereas the remaining 7 reside in individual temples on the main premises. The names of these 10 Mahavidyas are Kamala, Matangi, Kali, Bahiravi, Bhuvaneshwari, Tara, Shodashi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, and Chhinnamasta.
Ambubachi Mela is one of the most important Hindu festivals organized at the Kamakhya Temple. Celebrated annually in June, the temple is visited by devotees from across the country. For 3 days the temple is closed to the public and when it is reopened it looks surreal with immaculate decoration. Another significance of this festival is that during this time, locals believe that their land is the most fertile and ready for the next bumper harvest.
2. Assam State Museum
If you wish to explore the ancient history and rich culture of the North-Eastern states, then a visit to Assam State Museum will take you to the lanes of history! You can witness handmade artifacts and sculptures belonging to the 5th century, world war 2, to the time when India was a British Colony.
3. Guwahati Zoo
Spread in an area of 432 acres, the Guwahati zoo is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. The zoo is home to many species of fauna, and the most popular amongst them are one-horned Rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephant, Sambar, Nilgai, and Himalayan Black Bear.
4. Umananda Island
Legends have it that this beautiful river island is the place where Lord Kamadeva was burnt into ashes by Lord Shiva. The island also has a popular temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Another intriguing fact about the island is its colonial name, which was Peacock Island, the name was given to this island owing to its peacock-like shape by the Britishers.
How to Reach Kamakhya Temple in Assam
Kamakhya Temple is nearly 1900km via NH 27, 2700km via NH 27, 1000km via NH 27, and 2900km via Srinagar-Kanyakumari Highway from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, respectively. Mentioned below are the best travel modes and routes that you may consider if planning a visit to Kamakhya Temple in Assam.
Guwahati International Airport is the nearest to Kamakhya temple. The temple is nearly 20km away from the airport, and the fastest route to cover this distance goes from NH17 and Assam Trunk Road. From the airport, you can get on a local bus or may hire a taxi to reach the temple.
Delhi- Board Vistara, SpiceJet, or GoAir flight. The airfare starts from INR 4,000
Mumbai- Board IndiGo or SpiceJet flight. The airfare starts from INR 5,000
Kolkata- Board AirIndia or SpiceJet flight. The airfare starts from INR 3,000
Bengaluru- Board AirAsia or AirIndia flight. The airfare starts from INR 5,000
National and state highways in the northeast region of the country are well maintained and run along with the farms, villages, and lush green landscapes that are worth capturing in the camera. You may drive to Guwahati in your car or may reserve a seat on a tourist bus if you are fond of road trips.
Guwahati railway station and Kamakhya railway station are the two nearest railheads to reach the temple. After deboarding the train, you can get to a local taxi or bus to reach your desired destination. Listed below are some regular trains that arrive at these two stations from the metro cities.
Delhi- Board NDLS DBRG SPL from New Delhi station and deboard at Guwahati station
Mumbai - Board LTT KYQ AC EXP from Lokmanyatilak Terminus and deboard at Kamakhya station
Kolkata - Board HWH GHY SPL from Howrah Junction and deboard at Kamakhya station
Bengaluru - Board BNC GHY EXP from Bengaluru Cant and deboard at Kamakhya station