This mela is a mega gathering which is organized in and around the Kamakhya Devi Temple located at Nilachal Hill in Guwahati in the state of Assam. The mela is a four-day celebration that occurs in the month of Asaadh according to the Hindu calendar or in the month of June.
The festival is celebrated to honor the fertile richness of mother Earth. During these four days of Ambubachi Mela, the annual menstrual cycle of Kamakhya Devi is celebrated at the Kamakhya Temple.
Ambubachi Mela is a prime festivity of the Shakti tradition, this grand gathering witness a torrent of sanyasis during these four days of celebration at the Kamakhya Devi Temple, performing strict modes of devotion. It is the most important festival of the Shakti tradition, and also the state of Assam. Attended by sanyasis, devotees, and travelers in huge numbers, Ambubachi Mela is a lively affair.
As per the Devi Purana, Sati chose Shiva as her life partner without her father’s consent. Later, Sati’s father insulted Shiva in her presence. Infuriated by this incident, Sati sacrificed herself. Then, Shiva lifted Sati’s corpse on his shoulder and began performing his dance of destruction known as Tandav.
If Shiva’s tandava were not stopped, it would lead to the destruction of the whole universe. Lord Vishnu realized this and used his Sudarshan Chakra to split Sati’s corpse into fifty-one parts and to stop Shiva’s tandava.
These parts of Sati’s corpse fell on fifty-one different locations on Earth, and all of these locations are now known as Shakti Peeth. The lower abdomen of Sati’s corpse fell on the Earth precisely at the place where the ‘Garbhagriha’ of Kamakhya Devi Temple is located.
There are many other tales associated with Kamakhya Goddess. As per the Kalika Purana, Kamakhya Devi is considered as an incarnation of Maa Kali. Kamakhya Devi is also known as the incarnation of ten Mahavidyas and is considered as a unity of the first three of them.
During the first three days of the Ambubachi Mela, agricultural activities in the region, reading of sacred texts, and entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are prohibited as it is believed that the goddess undergoes her menstrual phase during these days. Also, no religious practice is done by the devotees gathered around the temple.
The sight of the Ambubachi Mela is very much similar to that of Kumbha Mela as Sanyasis of the Shakti tradition gather in huge numbers in and around the Kamakhya Devi temple and perform similar rigorous rituals.
The Kamakhya Devi is worshipped in the form of female genitalia and not in a human-shaped idol, which is believed to be the reproductive part of Mother Earth. Numerous sadhus who remain unseen throughout the year attend the mela to perform rigorous rituals such as carrying heavy weights, remaining dug in the Earth, and standing for days and months.
On the last day of the Ambubachi Mela, it is believed that the goddess Kamakhya Devi has completed her yearly menstrual course. Thus, the priests of the temple bathe the Garbhagriha, and after this ritual, the temple is opened for the devotees. People flock to this temple in huge numbers to seek the blessings of Kamakhya Devi on the fourth day.
Ambubachi Mela is celebrated during the Asaadh month of the Hindu calendar or during the month of June.
The Ambubachi Mela is organized each year in the month of June in and around the temple of Kamakhya Devi which is located in Guwahati, Assam. Guwahati is well-connected with the major cities of India like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
The nearest railhead from the Kamakhya Temple is the Kamakhya Junction Railway Station which is in Guwahati, Assam. The remaining distance can be covered with taxis available from the railway station.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is the nearest airbase from the Kamakhya temple, which is located in Guwahati. Taxis are available from the airport to cover the remaining distance.
The city of Guwahati in Assam is well-connected through a network of roads and bus services. Regular state-run and private buses are easily available from other cities and towns in Assam and adjoining cities.