KAMAKHYA TEMPLE (ANCIENT TEMPLE IN INDIA)Hinduism is regarded as the oldest religion in the world. Its devotees believe that Hinduism is not just a religion, they believe it is a way of living. There are many temples which tell us about Hinduism. One of those is The Kamakhya Temple, one of the Ancient temple in Assam, India. So if you want to learn about this Ancient Temple, then I have good news for you.why? Because you just landed in the right place!
ANCIENTOnce an Asura named Naraka got fascinated by the charming beauty of Kamakhya and proposed her to be his wife. The goddess agreed to accept the proposal on a condition that he should construct a temple, a tank and a masonry road from the foot of the hill to the hill-top in the course of a night, else he will have to lose his life. Naraka took up the challenge enthusiastically and had almost completed the constructions asked for when a cock crew, before the dawn under some secret influence of the goddess. Poor Naraka was thus prevented from accomplishing the assigned task(s) and later killed in a fight with Vishnu in which the goddess Kamakhya assisted Vishnu.
|Entrance to the Kamakhya Temple|
MEDIEVALNo trace of the original temple is found today which was almost completely destructed in the process of Muslim invasions in the early 16th century. (In)famous Mughal lieutenant Kala Pahar is said to have destroyed the temple in ca. CE 1553 (Sarma 1960: 15-16). The present structure was(re)built by the Coch king (of Cooch Bihar) Naranarayana in ca. CE 1665
The present Kamakhya temple bears a medieval architectural style; however, various additions made from time to time and also the repairing together have rendered it a miscellaneous design. The temple is divided apparently into four inter-connected parts: the Vimana, the Calantha, the Pancharatna, and the Natamandira, Of these, the first three parts’ ground-plan is original and of the same time (Sarma 1981-82), whereas the last one was added at some later time. The temple as we see it now witnesses a number of renovations during the past. The first three chambers are known as Garbhagriha, Chalanta, and Pancharatna were reconstructed in 1565 during the reign of Naranarayan, but according to the archaeological studies, the reconstruction of this may have done over the ground plan of an older temple. However, some decorative designs in the wall below the main dome are assigned to the 11th-12th century.
FESTIVALSFestivals and (their) celebrations are inseparable from the (cultural) life of all ethnic communities around the world. In the case of countries like India where religion forms the backbone of all activities, most of the festivals and related celebrations have got sacred underlining. In the Kamakhya temple complex, the festivals-celebrations are observed at two levels: in the Kamakhya temple, and among common people residing in the temple complex. The salient features of the festivals observed at the temple are presented as below
1. Ambubachi: It is held during a three day period starting from the end of Mrigashira star up to the end of Adra star in the early Ashadha (June-July). On the first day, the pithasthana is ceremoniously covered by red cloth and the temple is closed. During the closure period, three lampsare lit in the chalanta section and daily worship of Kameshvari is done.
|Ambubachi Mela at Kamakhya Temple|
On the day of reopening, the (red) covering is removed and the goddess is bathed ceremoniously. After that, she is dressed in a new sari and purified topara. A simple puja by her attendant is followed by daily worship by the priest marks the resumption of routine rituals, etc. Some kinds of purification rites, etc. are performed in other temples here. This period of impurity and rites of purification, of household deities, are observed at the complex.
2. Durga Puja: This puja lasts for five days, 6th-10th day of the light half of Ashvina (September-October), only. A clay image of goddess Durga, in Mahishasura-Mardini form, and other companion divinities (Ganesha, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, and Karttikeya) are also placed in the temple and worshipped specifically on Mahasaptami, Mahashtami, and Mahanavami.
Kameshvara and Kameshvari.
One day prior to the scheduled marriage, the idol of Kameshvara is taken out from chalanta section to Lord Kameshvara temple. The next day, Kameshvara (the bridegroom) is brought, with the marriage party in traditional pomp and gaiety, etc. to the Kamakhya temple and the marriage takes place in a typical traditional Assamese way. The bridegroom Lord Shiva in the form of Kameshvara has presented sandalwood made special pipe for smoking ganja (Canabis sattiva) and kamandala (‘a vessel carried by ascetics’). Different functionaries of the temple play the role of Kameshvari’s family members during the function.
4. Durgadeul: Observed from the second to the fifth day of the light half of Phalguna (Feb.-March), special puja of Kameshvari, put on a dola near the Calantha section, is done in this festival. Adhivasa and meshdah puja on the second day and dolon puja during the third to fifth day are conducted. On the sixth day, the goddess Kameshvari is taken for a Brahmana around the temple complex. People play colours with the idol during the whole period of this festival.
5. Vasanti Puja (the spring festival): It is observed during Chaitra (March-April) Navaratri at the pithasthana of the Kamakhya temple, especially from the 7th to the 9th day. The goddess Mahasnana (‘greatbathing’) is done but no other elaborate ritual as performed in Ashvina Navaratri. However, on the navami (9th day), special puja is held in all goddess temples.
6. Madan deul: It is also called ‘Madan Caturali’ or ‘Kamadeul’ (this festival may be compared with ‘Madanotsava’). It is observed since the13th day upto the Full Moon in Chaitra (March-April). Lord Kameshvara/Kamadeva is offered special pujas. Goddess Kameshvari is out on bhramana and people play colour with the idol as well as amongst themselves.
CONCLUSIONKamakhya Devi temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in India. It has a very special status as the seat of goddess worship. Kamakhya is considered significant also as the center of culture and the capital of puranic period Pragjyotishpur or Kamarupa Desh. The identity of Kamarupa owes much to Kamakhya to the extent of becoming incomplete in the absence of the latter. Despite a very long and rich active tradition of visitation, worship and celebration of festivals here; the basic nature and character of this sacred complex have hardly changed over centuries.
Kamakhya Devi also has the non-amorous and the benevolent image. Her primary association with yoni (genital) symbolically makes her cult a very powerful one in which motherhood and fertility – the creative force of reproduction are revered and celebrated as well. Ambuvachi festival perhaps is the best example of it.