India is a place with many pilgrimage spots, where some of these are very unique and equally strange to believe. One such temple can be found in Guwahati, which is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya.
It is one of the many temples dedicated to a goddess, but what makes it unique is the fact that there is no idol for worship here, but the yoni (or vagina) of the goddess, which is worshiped here.
The Kamakhya temple is one of the major religious attractions in Guwahati and is located in the hills of Nilachal. The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, and it is believed that when Shiva was carrying the corpse of Sati on his shoulder and began doing his tandav, Lord Vishnu chopped the corpse into many pieces with his Sudarshan Chakara; and Sati's womb is said to have fallen at the site of this temple
Best Time To Visit The Kamakhya Temple
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The temple can be visited throughout the year; however, the shrine remains closed for a few days in a year and no rituals are conducted, as a contrast many devotees come here during this time.
The Origin Of The Temple
The current temple was built sometime during the period between the 8th and 17th century. The temple is said to have undergone many renovations to the present structure. The structure is constructed in the Nilachal style of architecture, which has a hemispherical dome that is built on a cruciform base.
According to certain records and evidence found, the main temple is said to have been rebuilt by a local ruler by using the ruins that were left over here. The current structure was rebuilt during the 17th century. Though the temple is said to have been built earlier by the Koch Dynasty rulers, it was preserved during the renovations.
According to a legend, the family members of the Koch Dynasty were banned by the Goddess herself from worshiping her at the temple. In fear of the deity, till this day, no descendants of the Koch family would even dare to look up towards the Kamakhya hill while passing by.
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It is said that the temple was an ancient sacrificial site of the Khasi tribe; and even today, the worship here includes sacrifices with devotees making a beeline every morning with scapegoats as an offering to the Mother Goddess.
According to the Vedic scriptures, the temple debarks the place where Sati Devi used to come to satisfy her sexual desires with Shiva, and is also said to have been the place where her womb fell after Shiva's Tandav was done with her corpse.
The scriptures also mention that Kamakhya was one of the four main Shakti Peethas along with the others being at the Vimala temple in Puri, Tara Tarini near Brahmapura and Dakhina Kalika in Kolkata.
As mentioned earlier, the temple has no idol worship; but the rituals and worship are conducted on the yoni of the goddess and an interesting factor here is that there is a natural spring that keeps the yoni moist at all times.
The Unique Ambubachi Festival
The temple has a unique festival called Ambubachi. The celebration here hinges over the belief that the Goddess undergoes her menstruation cycle at this point of time. The temple remains closed for three days, and is reopened on the fourth day in a grand manner.
It is said that the natural spring in the temple turns red during this period, which indicates to the priests that the goddess has started to bleed and hence the temple remains shut during the time.