Kamakhya Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.

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Kamakhya temple is the oldest Shakti Pithas located on Nilachal hill. This holy shrine of Maa Kamakhya is bestowed with its myths and mysteries. Moreover, it’s a major Shakti Peethas where Sati’s Yoni-Mudra ( the female Genitalia or the Vulva) fell when Shiva carried it away after her self-immolation. This temple is called known as Kubjika Pitha. One cannot be ascertained only by factual history the aesthetic significance of this temple.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Kamakhya Devi temple

After a good night’s sleep, it was early morning rise. I had a quick bath as I had to visit Kamkhya Maa temple. When I asked people, the rush was unusually high; they said it’s a holy day this month. Fair enough, all have the right to meet the Goddess. We bought our offerings, flowers & sweets from one of the shops in the lane before heading towards the temple. There were a few steps before I entered the temple. Since my granny could not walk much, she sat at the shop on the side of the stairs.

Way to the temple

Upon entering the Kamakhya temple, I saw a five-storey beehive-shaped structure built of granite in the Nilgiri style of architecture. However, the shrine is a natural cleft in the rock in the shape of a yoni. And it is worshipped as the Goddess Kamakhya. The queue was long, & luckily I got hold of a Panda, who made all prayer offerings for us & even helped us to visit the main shrine. While we waited for our turn, our Panda explained about a sacred text, “Shakta” sect called “Kalika Puran”, written around the 9th century. It provides a mythical story about the temple’s origin.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Scared Places in the temple

It mentioned Nilachala in ancient Kamrup, where Lord Siva and Shakti met their physical desire, i.e. Kama. He further told us another legend where Kamadeva, the God of love, worshipped Devi to get rid of a curse bestowed by Lord Brahma. After worshipping in this Peetha, Kamadev regained his rupa (beauty). After that, the deity known as Kamakhya was honoured by the Kama, and the place is called Kamarupa (Kamrup). Later the grateful Kamdeva built this magnificent temple over the Yoni Mudra with the help of Vishwakarma. 

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Entrance to Shrine

I was too fascinated with the stories, but it was our turn to offer the prayers. The Yoni was a rock, & one needed to touch it to get the feel of the vulva. The Bramhaputra sacred water is continuously following over the Yoni. It was dark, and you could sense the power in the main shrine. After offering my prayers, I walked out of the temple & took a walk around. A buffalo was tied behind the Kamakhya temple as a sacrificial offering to the Goddess; it’s a seat of Tantric worshipers too. 

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Yoni of Devi

While wandering around the Kamakya temple, I met a few Aghori happily smoking up. I just walked up to them out of curiosity and did great. I wanted to dwell upon the oral recorded history & legend. From them, I came to know about the “Yogini Tantra”. Never heard of this other ancient literature believed to be written around the 16th century. Kamakhya, as a symbol of procreation, is mentioned in the “Yogini Tantra”. There is a legend relating to the emergence. I was astounded.


I could not hold back my curiosity as I requested the Aghori to continue with the story. He continues by stating after creating the universe; Lord Bharma became arrogant in his power of supreme creativity. Goddess Sanatani Kali made a demon called Kesi out of Lord Brahma’s body. Upon this birth, the monster rushed towards Brahma to swallow him up. And to save himself, Lord Brahma fled in the company of Lord Vishnu.

The main entrance to the temple

Lord Brahma realized his mistake and approached the Goddess for help along with Vishnu. Then the Goddess rescued him by killing the demon. After that, Goddess ordered Lord Brahma and Vishnu to create a mountain over the dead body of the demon Kesi, with green grass for cattle. And named the place Kamarupa the most sacred place on earth. Furthermore, she asked Lord Brahma and Vishnu to offer prayer and meditate in front of the Yonimandala (female genital), which appeared subsequently. Hence the mountain came to be known as Nilakuta Parvat or Nilachala.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
The shrine

I was overwhelmed with so many legends and facts about the temple. But this was not just the end; my mom had to add her bit too. Therefore the historical facts, the Kamakhya temple was built by the legendary king of Assam, Bhagadatta, in the 2nd century CE. The Kalapahar, a Muslim invader, destroyed the temple in the 16th century. The temple was rebuilt in the 17th century by the Ahom king, Pramatta Singha. And further renovated in the 18th century by the Ahom queen, Phuleswari. However, the 1897 earthquake damaged the temple again. It was repaired and renovated in the early 20th century. In 1950 the temple was declared a National Monument. Phew! Too much information. 

The long Queue in the temple

Well, a last homage to the temple, we moved out of the temple. However, considering what I learnt, the Kalika Purna gives an enormous interpretation of the Yoni Goddess. In contrast, the Yogini Tantra gives a different account stressing the creative symbolism of Yoni. And the various historical legends indicate that worship of Kamakhya is undatable. Be it anything, goddess Kamkhya has been the converging point of all the communities, be it of the hills, forest, villages or cities. 

Sacrifice Area

From Kamakhya temple, we drove towards Bashistha temple, located in Beltola, on the outskirts of Guwahati city. Ahom king Rajeshwar Singha constructed this temple in 1751-1769. And the land of 835 bighas on which the Ashram is built was a gift from the king. However, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva; the Ashram was the abode of saint Basistha.

Way to Bashitha temple

It is situated near the Garbhanga Reserve Forest, known for its high elephant population and as a butterfly reserve. And the temple stands on the bank of mountain streams. These streams, in turn, becomes river Bharalu and Basistha that flows through the city.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Mom & Aunt

The Basistha Temple has its description in Kalika Puran as one of the seven Shaktipeeths. Since the Ashram’s history dates back to the Vedic age, there are legends associated with the saint Vasistha. It is said the saint went to Kamarupa to worship Goddess Kamakhya, but king Naraka stopped him from doing so. Out of rage, sage Vasistha cursed him. 

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Shiva Temple

And in return, Sandhyachal built a hermitage and meditated on Shiva rest of his life. Moreover, Vasistha muni is credited with writing the Vasistha Ramayana and is believed to have created the Ashram. He lived his life here, meditating throughout as the grave of Saint Vasistha is seen here.

Vashistha Ashram

It was almost lunchtime, and my hunger pangs were top-notch. Hence we drove to have authentic Assamese food at Gam’s delicacy restaurant. Later we went to a beautiful lake.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Assamese Food

Dipor Bil lies southwest of the town- a permanent freshwater lake with no significant inflows. The monsoon run-off from the hills that lie south of the lake. The lake drains into the Brahmaputra and acts as a natural stormwater reservoir for the city. Well, we finally reached the pristine beauty and biodiversity- of Dipor Bil. The area offers a spectacular view of the fascinating wetland and rich forest ecosystem. It was almost sunset, and the site provided a spectacular view of the fascinating wetland and rich forest ecosystem. Dipor Bil, also spelt Deepor Beel, means “lake” in the local Assamese language, that sprawling over a vast area of 40 sq. km. In 1989 the lake was declared Bird Sanctuary- owing to 19000 species of rare and endangered birds. The sanctuary house abundant aquatic vegetation too.

Kamakhya Devi Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Dipor Bil

Sanding in front of the vast lake, I was looking at the setting sun- a symphony of colours that sings humans and other living things to sleep. A perfect conclusion of the day when it appears as silky, smooth collusions of sky burst red and yellow in the night’s calm. I stood Awestruck! 

Kamakhya Temple: A history more than 1200 years old.
Sunset at Lake

Upon reaching my hotel, I had a light dinner, then freshened up & hit the bed. I had an early start the next day, as our next destination was Cherrapunjee.

How to reach

By Air: 

The nearest airport to Guwahati is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi, about 20km. You can book a cab or auto or board a bus outside the airport to reach the city. 

By Rail: 

Guwahati Junction railway station is well connected with most of the cities of India. Upon reaching, one can book a cab or take the state buses to contact the respective destination.

 By Road:

State buses, as well as private buses of Guwahati, regularly ply from various cities. One can also hire a cab or taxi and reach the city. You cannot drive from a private vehicle is not allowed.


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