Kamakhya Devi – Sati Shakti Peeth
Kamakhya Temple, Assam is one among the 52 shakti peeths of India. Kamakhya Temple is situated at the top of Ninanchal Hill ( 800 feets above sea level) in the western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India.There is no image of Shakti here. Within a corner of a cave in the temple, there is a sculptored image of the Yoni of the Goddess, which is the object of reverence. A natural spring keeps the stone moist. Other temples on the Neelachala hill include those of Tara, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneswari and Ghantakarna. This temple was destroyed in early 16th century, and then rebuilt in the 17th century by King Nara Narayana, of Cooch Bihar.
This current temple has a beehive-like shikhara with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside. The temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock.
Sati married Lord Shiva against the wish of her father, King Daksha. Once King Daksha was having a yagna and he didn’t invited Sati and Lord Shiva. Sati was very sad on not getting an invitation but she still went to her father’s palace. When she reached there her father insulted her and Lord Shiva. Sati was unable to bear this disrespect for her husband, so she jumped in the fire and killed herself. When Lord Shiva came to know this he was very sad, and enraged Shiva started wondering holding the dead body of Sati. He started the dance of distruction of universe. Lord Vishnu in order to save the universe and break this attachment of Lord Shiva, cut the body of Sati into pieces with his sudarshan chakra. Body parts of Sati fell at different places and these places are known as shakti peeths. In kamakhya Temple, Assam yoni of mother goddess fell.
Story about the stair case of the temple. There was a demon Naraka he fell in love with Goddess Kamakhya and wanted to marry her. Goddess put a condition that if he would be able to build a staircase from the bottom of the Nilachal hill to the temple within one night, then she would surely marry him. Naraka took it as a challenge and tried all with his might to do this marathon task. He was almost about to accomplish the job when the Devi, panic-stricken as she was to see this, played a trick on him. She strangled a cock and made it crow untimely to give the impression of dawn to Naraka. Duped by the trick even Naraka thought that it was a futile job and left it half way through. Later he chased the cock and killed it in a place which is now known as Kukurakata, situated in the district of Darrang. The incomplete staircase is known as Mekhelauja path.
Apart from the daily puja offered to the Devi, a number of special pujas are also held round the year in the Kamakhya Temple. These pujas are Durga Puja, Pohan Biya, Durgadeul, Vasanti Puja, Madandeul, Ambuvaci and Manasa Puja.
Durga Puja: This is celebrated annually during Navratri, in the month of sep. oct.
Ambuwasi Puja : this is a fertility festival, it is beleived that mother goes under menstural period and the temple remain closed for 3 days and then opened with great festivity on fourth day.
Pohan Bia : A symbolic marriage between Lord Kamesvara and Kamesvari during the month of Pausa.
Durgadeul : During the month of Phalguna, Durgadeul is observed in the kamakhya temple.
Vasanti Puja : This puja is held at the Kamakhya temple durinh the month of Chaitra.
Madandeul : This deul is observed during the month of Caitra when Lord Kamadeva or Kamesvara is offered special pujas.
Manasa Puja : Manasa puja is observed from the Sankranti of Sravana and continues upto the second day of Bhadra.