The Ambubachi Mela, celebrated in Assam, is a vibrant festival at the Kamakhya Devi Temple in Guwahati. It's a significant event, attracting sanyasis (holy men) and many devotees. The festival, held in the month of Ahaar (usually mid-June), lasts for four days. It celebrates the fertility of Mother Earth and the menstrual cycle of Devi Kamakhya, highlighting the rich cultural and religious diversity of the region. This festival is a key part of the Shakti tradition, with deep spiritual significance.
During Ambubachi Mela, visitors can witness a variety of religious practices and rituals. Sanyasis engage in strict devotion, and the atmosphere is filled with fervour and reverence. It's a perfect time to experience the local culture, with traditional performances, music, and food. The festival's history is rooted in ancient traditions, celebrating the Earth's fertility and the divine feminine power. It's a unique opportunity for travellers to immerse themselves in the spiritual and cultural vibrancy of Assam. Let’s check this guide!
Ambubachi Mela Dates & Venue
Ambubachi Mela is a four-day affair that happens in the month of Ahaar, i.e. in the month of June. It is celebrated at Kamakhya Devi Temple which is located in Nilachal Hill, Guwahati in Assam.
History & Significance of Ambubachi Mela
One of the most sacred festivals celebrated in Assam, Ambubachi Mela has been an integral part of Kamakhya Devi Temple for centuries now. The temple is one of the 52 Shakti Peethas where the yoni (vagina & womb) of Goddess Sati fell when Lord Shiva was carrying her corpse in grief and rage.
According to legends, the mela is organised every year to observe the menstrual cycle of the presiding goddess. The temple remains closed for initial three days and is opened only on the fourth day when a large number of devotees, sadhus and tantrics mark their presence in front of the goddess.
Receiving Rakta Bastra, a piece of cloth soaked in goddess’s menstrual fluid is a privilege for devotees as it is considered as her blessing. Ambubachi Mela is also known as Ameti or Tantric Fertility Festival as these four auspicious days of mela are the personification of women’s fertility and childbearing capabilities.
Highlights of Ambubachi Mela
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.
1. Mass Gathering. The sight of the is very much similar to that of Kumbh Mela as devotees and sanyasis of Shakti tradition gather in huge numbers at Kamakhya Devi temple and perform rigorous rituals. People flock to this temple in huge numbers to seek the blessings of Kamakhya Devi on the fourth day.
2. Display of Tantric Shakti Cult. Numerous sadhus who remain unseen throughout the year attend the mela and are seen performing rigorous rituals such as carrying weights, holding their head in a pit, standing upright on one leg for hours etc.
3. Unique Rituals like Garbhagriha & worshipping stone shaped yoni. The Kamakhya Devi is worshiped in the form of female genitalia which is believed to be the reproductive part of Mother Earth. The priests of the temple bathe the Garbhagriha and after this ritual, the temple is opened for the devotees.
4. Prasad in the form of Angodak and Angabastra. Angodak is water from the spring while Angabastra is a piece of the red cloth that is used to cover the stone yoni during the days of menstruation. Both these form a special prasadam which devotees consider as the blessing of prosperity by the goddess.
How To Reach Ambubachi Mela
The Ambubachi Mela is organized at 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.
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.
Distance from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. 20 km
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.
Distance from Kamakhya Junction Railway Station. 12 km
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.
Distance from Shillong. 104 km
Ambubachi Mela is more than just a festival; it's a celebration of life, fertility, and devotion. Held in the historic Kamakhya Devi Temple of Guwahati, this event encapsulates the essence of Assam's rich cultural and spiritual heritage. It's a time when devotees, sanyasis, and travellers come together to pay homage to the divine feminine power, making it a truly unique and enriching experience.
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FAQs Related to Ambubachi Mela
Q 1. In which month is Ambubachi Mela celebrated? A. Ambubachi Mela is celebrated in the monsoon season during mid-June.
Q 2. Where is the Ambubachi Mela held annually? A. Every year Ambunachi Mela is held at Kamakhya Devi Temple, Guwahati, Assam.
Q 3. What is the significance of Ambubachi Mela?
A. Ambubachi Mela is one of the most important festivals of Assam which is celebrated with Shakti rites in the famous Kamakhya Devi Temple. The festival signifies the fertility of mother Earth.
Q 4. What can visitors expect to see and do at Ambubachi Mela?
A. Visitors to Ambubachi Mela can witness a range of spiritual practices and ceremonies. The festival is filled with religious rituals, sanyasis in deep meditation, cultural performances, and traditional music. It's a great opportunity to experience the unique culture of Assam and participate in the communal festivities.
Q 5. Are there any specific traditions or rituals unique to Ambubachi Mela?
A. Yes, Ambubachi Mela is known for its unique traditions. The temple remains closed for three days, symbolising the menstrual period of Devi Kamakhya. After this period, the temple doors reopen, and it is believed that the goddess bestows blessings and fertility. Devotees also take holy dips in the nearby Brahmaputra River, considered auspicious during the festival.