The history of kamrup kamakhya Mandir in Assam

Pack your bag for the next destination to Kamrup. Pay a visit at the sacred Hindu temple of goddess kamakhya during the ambubachi mela. Thousands of devotees come across the world to become a part of the festival of celebrating Devi Kamakhaya’s annual menstrual cycle. Definitely, you are going to have an amazing experience here.

The kamrup-Kamakhya Mandir, often known as The Kamakhya Mandir, is a renowned and sacred Hindu temple specially dedicated to the goddess mother Kamakhya. This is one of the ancient places of the 51 sacred “sati Pithas”. 

Located on the Nilachal Hill in the Western part of Guwahati in Assam, India, the temple is an important part of a sacred “ten mahavidyas” temple complex.
Among these ten mahavidyas, Kamala, Matangi and Tripurasundari live inside the main Kamakhya Devi temple whereas the rest seven saktis have individual temples. This Hindu pilgrimage is a very important place for Tantric worshipers.

Overall description of kamakhya Mandir:
The temple structure was built and renovated several times during the 8th-17th century. So, the temple architecture inherited a hybrid indigenous style which is often called “Ninachal type” architecture. From its hemispherical dome in the cruciform base, architects claim that the main kamrup kamakhya temple was followed “Nagara Architecture”.

The temple has four main chambers: gabbhagriha and three other mandapas named calanta, pancharatna and natmandira arrayed from east to western direction.

The garbhagriha of kamakhya devi temple was made by pancharatna architectural plan. The Surya Temple architecture at Tezpur was followed to build the other three mandapas. These mandapas have delightful sculptured panels of Hindu gods and goddesses similar to the Khajuraho temple or other medieval temples. 

The lower part of the main temple is made of stone whereas the shikhara is made of brick in the beehive-like polygonal shaped dome. This is known as the special architectural characteristic in Kamrup. Multiple minarets have circled the shikhara which was inspired by the Bengal type architecture – “charchala”. The shikhara and angasikharas and the rest of the chambers were built during the 16th century and after.

The garbhagriha actually is an underground level cave and has no sculpture or image of devi but a yoni (female genital part) shaped rock. The yoni-shaped rock features a 10-inch deep hole by slopping downwards from both sides. The hollow always gets filled with water from an underground recurrent spring. This yoni-shaped rock is known as kamrup kamakhya devi herself and is worshiped by pilgrims. The vulva-shaped stone depression in the cave is known as one of the most important pithas of Devi Sati. The garbhagriha is quite small and dark. You need to pass through a narrow, sharp slopping steep of stone to reach to the garbhagriha. 

All the other garbhagrihas in the Kamakhaya Mandir complex follows the same yoni-shaped stone structure just like the main temple. These stone depressions also get filled with underground recurring spring water.

Other three chambers:

The Guwahati kamakhya mandir is consists of three additional chambers.
Calanta: the first mandapa to the western direction. This is a square-shaped chamber created in following the Bengal architectural pattern – “Atchala”. You can spot out the architecture at the Radha-Vinod Temple which was built in 1659, in Bishnupur, West Bengal. 
The northern door of the temple is an “Ahom Type” Dochala which is the main entrance to the temple.

King Chilroy of Coach Dynasty has rebuilt the kamuk kamakhya mandir in 1565 following the medieval temple architectural pattern. 
This middle mandapa houses a small idol of Goddess Kamakhaya – a later addition. The walls are full of sculpted panels with god naranarayan and others. You will find some related spiritual stone-inscriptions here. A descending step will lead you towards the garbhagriha from here.

kamakhya mela:

The festival is celebrated during the monsoon season in the Assamese month of Ahaar – around the middle of June when sun transits to the Zodiac sign Mithuna. Starting from the day of Ambubachi, when goddess gets her menstrual cycle according to the spiritual belief, the kamrup kamakhya mandir remains closed for 3 days. From the fourth day, the temple gets opened.

How to reach:

By air: Guwahati International Airport is the nearest (20 km) from kamakhya mandir.

By Rail: kamakhya has its own railways station but we advise to de-board at Guwahati railway station which is very well connected to all the Indian major cities. Book an auto or a metered taxi to check into your hotel or you can go straight to the mandir (8 km). Lots of hotels are available there. Buses from Assam Tourist Department are also available there. Depending on the traffic it will take around 20-25 minutes to reach mandir.

We will discuss later the Ambubachi Mela in details.

1 comment:

  1. It felt like I have just visited the temple while reading this article.. eager to know about Ambubachi mela..