This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank is “Worship”.
Kamakhya Temple, Nilachal Hills, Guwahati, Assam, India. Photo taken by author in April, 2009.
Legend goes that when Sati, wife of Bhagawan Shiva died, Shiva carried her body on his shoulders and roamed the universe in grief. All gods (Devatas) became worried because Shiva’s son was supposed to help win the heavens for the Devatas from the demons. As Shiva and Sati did not have any issue, Devatas prayed to Bhagawan Vishnu for help. Vishnu, with his Sudarshan chakra cut Sati’s body to pieces. Everywhere Sati’s body part fell became an important place of worship of Shakti (power) and became known as Shakti Peetha. Kamakhya is one of the most important of fifty one Shakti Peethas as per legend, as Sati’s vagina ( yoni) fell here.
Millions visit the temple each year. During middle to third week of June every year in the monsoon season when the river Brahmaputra that flows by Nilachal Hills is in full spate, the temple is closed for three days. It is believed that the deity ( Devi or Ma Kamakhya) goes through her annual menstrual cycle during those three days. The door of the temple is opened to the public on the fourth day. The festival is called Ambubachi and hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the temple every year during those four days.