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Kamakhya Temple History and Mystery

The Kamakhya temple, located on the summit of Kamakhya hill in Guwahati town, Assam, is steeped in mystery. Equally interesting is the history of the temple. The history of the temple begins at the infamous Daksha Yajna in Satya Yuga mentioned in almost all Hindu scriptures.

Kamakhya Temple History

Unable to bear the insults hurled at her husband, Lord Shiva, Mata Sati committed self-immolation at the Daksha Yajna. After destroying the yajna and creating havoc in the universe, Lord Shiva roamed around the universe carrying the dead body of Mata Sati.

There seemed to be no end to Shiva’s anger and grief. This led to an imbalance in the universe. Finally, Lord Vishnu decided to decimate the body of Sati with his Sudhrashana Chakra. He cut the body of Sati into 51 pieces. It is believed that ‘Yoni’ of Sati fell at the spot where the present  Kamakhya Temple stands.

History of the structure of the temple

The origin of the structure of temple can be traced back to thousands of years ago.

The original stone building was renovated by the Koch ruler Nara Narayana in 1565 AD. The molded basement of the temple is ancient, but the upper parts of the brick structure, including the tower, are recent.

The place was a center of Shakti worship from time immemorial. The various forms of Shaktism prevalent during the various periods of history can be found in the sculptures on the walls of the temple.

Kamakhya Temple Mystery

What is worshipped in the temple is a natural crevice in a rock that symbolizes the ‘Yoni’ (female genitalia or vagina). The rock cut in the shape of a yoni is surrounded by a pool created by an underground spring or stream.

During the Ambubasi Festival (June – July), the water in the underground stream turns red and this is believed to be the menstrual blood.

Goddess Kamakhya is the goddess of ghosts and spirits. She is widely worshipped in smashana (cemetery).

There is a terrible form of Bhairava Shiva in Kamakhya Temple. The murti has a pot-belly, garland of skulls and serpents as ornaments. Flames issue out of his head. This form of Shiva is worshipped by the aghora panthis.

The figure of a four-armed Ganesha dancing on his mount, rat, is another mysterious figure.

Another ferocious figure is that of Goddess Chamunda. She is in a fearful posture, with projecting teeth and an emaciated body. She holds a trident in one hand, a skull cup in the other and is seated on a corpse. In this form, She was worshipped by a particular tantric sect.