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Ambubachi Mela Dates for 2021 :
22nd June - 26th June 2021

Venue :
Maa Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati

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Ambubachi Mela in Assam, Guwahati Overview

The Ambubachi Mela is a grand gathering in and around the Maa Kamakhya Devi temple situated at Nilachal Hill in the city of Guwahati in the northeast Indian state of Assam. Occurring in the month of Asaadh of the traditional Hindu calendar, the Ambubachi Mela is a four-day celebration, which often falls in June. Primarily, the festival is aimed at honouring the fertile richness of mother earth. The idea is celebrated as the annual menstrual cycle of Kamakhya Devi at the Kamakhya Temple during these four days, known as the Ambubachi Mela.

A prime festivity of the Shakti traditional, the Mela witnesses a torrent of Sanyasis during the festive days at the Kamakhya Devi temple, performing strict ascetic modes of devotion. This festival is one of the most important festivals of the Shakti tradition, and also that of the state of Assam. It is a lively affair, which is attended by devotees, Sanyasis, and travellers in large numbers.

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Where is the Ambubachi Mela Celebrated? Venue Details

A Sadhu at Ambubachi Mela

The Ambubachi Mela is celebrated in and around the Kamakhya Devi temple, situated on the Nilachal Hill, in Guwahati of Assam. The Nilachal Hill – literally, Blue Spread Hill – is located at an approximate distance of 7 kilometres from central Guwahati. The Nilachal is considered to be a historically significant location since it was once a sacrificial venue of the ‘Khasi’ tribe. Various significant temples, including that of Shiva and ten Mahavidyas, are located on the hill. The Kamakhya Devi temple is the most revered of the temples located on the Nilachal hill.

How to Reach Kamakhya Temple

Carvings on the Wall of Kamakhya Temple

The nearest railway station from the Kamakhya temple is the Kamakhya Junction railway station, located in the city of Guwahati, which is located at an approximate distance of 12 kilometres from the temple.

The nearest airport from the Kamakhya temple is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, which is located at an approximate distance of 20 kilometres from the temple.

About the Kamakhya Devi Temple – Myths and Legends

Maa Kamakhya Devi Temple, Guwahati

According to the Devipurana, Shiva’s wife Sati chose Shiva as her life partner without her father’s permission. This led to her father insulting Shiva in front of her. Infuriated by Shiva’s insult by her father, Sati sacrificed herself. Shiva took Sati’s corpse on his shoulder and began to perform tandav, his dance of destruction. Lord Vishnu realised that if Shiva’s dance were not stopped, it would lead to the damage of the whole world, and thus he took his Sudarshan Chakra and split Sati’s body into fifty-one parts. These fifty-one parts of Sati’s body fell on fifty-one different locations on earth, and each of these locations is where a Shakti peeth stands today. The reproductive part of Sati’s body landed on the earth precisely at the place where the 'Garbhagriha' of the Kamakhya Devi temple is situated.

There are various other legends associated with the Kamakhya deity. She is considered as an incarnation of goddess Kali as well, according to the Kalika Purana. Moreover, Kamakhya Devi is considered as belonging to the incarnation of ten Mahavidyas and is regarded as a unity of the first three of them.

Kamakhya Devi is the most important deity of the Tantric tradition of the region and is worshipped by the followers of the Tantric cults with much enthusiasm during the Ambubachi Mela.

How is the Ambubachi Mela Celebrated – Asceticism of the East

Pilgrims and Devotees at Maa Kamakhya Temple
  • Occurring in the month of Asaadh of the Hindu traditional calendar, Ambubachi Mela is celebrated for four days on the Nilachal Hill in the city of Guwahati in Assam. Being a festival devoted to goddess Kamakhya, it is attended by torrents of Sadhus, Sanyasis, both male and female, of the Shakti tradition.
  • On the first three days of the Ambubachi Mela, the goddess is believed to be undergoing her menstrual phase, and thus entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is prohibited. Moreover, agricultural works in the region are also given up during these days, and so are reading of sacred scriptures. No religious practice is carried out by the devotees on the first three days, as the Mela is held around the temple.
  • Sanyasis of the Shakti tradition gather in large number in and around the Kamakhya Devi Temple and perform their ascetic modes of devotion, which includes jugglery, tantra, and putting some parts of the body to extremity.
  • The sight at the Ambubachi Mela is similar to that of Kumbha Mela where Sadhus perform similar rigorous forms of extreme ascetic practices.
  • The Kamakhya Devi is worshipped in the temple, not in a human-shaped idol, but in the form of female genitalia, which is believed to be the reproductive portion of mother earth herself.
  • Much like the Kumbha Mela, Sadhus who remain unseen throughout the year join the Ambubachi Mela, and perform rigorous ascetic activities such as remaining dug in the earth, carrying heavy weights with feeble parts of the body, standing continuously for days and months etc.
  • On the fourth day of the festival, the goddess Kamakhya Devi is supposed to have completed her yearly menstrual course. Thus, ritual bathing of the Garbhagriha is carried out by the priests of the temple, and after this, the temple is opened for the devotees. People gather in vast number to seek blessings of Kamakhya Devi on the fourth day. An extremely long queue is formed of the devotees, belonging to all ages, castes, sects, and sexes.
  • An approximate number of more than one lakh people attend the Ambubachi Mela on each of the four days of its celebration, making it one of the most important festivals of the whole of the state of Assam.

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Ambubachi Mela, also known as 'Kamakhya Devi Puja', is held annually at the Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal hill in Guwahati. "Link Hidden"
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