Kamakhya Temple

Situated in the Nilachal Hill, Assam, Kamakhya or shakti temple is dedicated to various forms of mother goddess. Hindu and tantric pilgrims often consider this place an important destination. Chilarai from the Koch dynasty constructed this temple in 1565. The original old structure was believed to be destroyed by Kala Pahar but the current structure consists of three chambers with idols and images of lord Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside and a beehive like shikhara.

The Kamakhya Temple is a shakti temple situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya, including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric worshipers.The general pilgrims use the western chamber which is large and rectangular. Middle chamber, added later, is a square and has an idol of goddess and images of Naranarayana and other related gods on the walls. It leads to the sanctum sandtorum through a cave which is a natural underground spring and flows in the bedrock through a yoni shaped cleft. The mensuration of goddess Kamakhya or Shakti is celebrated every summer during the Ambuvaci festival.

The legend of this famous temple says that after the Koch Bihar royal family was banned from offering puja here by Devi, the temple faced a lot of hardship without their support. By this time, Ahoms’ interest grew in this temple and the later Ahom kings supported the temple by renovating it. Later, Krishnaram Bhattacharyya, a famous mahant of Shakta became the spiritual guru for many Brahmins. Siba Singh, the king gave the management and land of Kamakhya temple to Krishnaram Bhattacharyya. The guru and his successors resided on the top of Nilachal hill and were called Parbatiya Gosains.

Worshipers consider this place a sacred sacrificial site and devotees often go there with goats and other animals as offerings to Shakti. According to Kalika Purana, Kamakhya is described as yielder of all desired, Shiva’s young bride and salvation giver. Kamakhya is also known as Shakti. On the other hand, the Yogi Tantra relates Kamakhya with goddess kali. Banikanta Kakati says about the existence of a tradition which was famous among the priests. The tradition was established by Naranarayana and it tells that the Garos, a matrilineal people, worshiped Kamakhya by sacrificing pigs as an offering to the goddess.

The two modes of worship, Vamachara and Dakshinachara, are both used to worship the goddess. Often flowers are offered to the goddess but many also believed in male animal offering to please the goddess.

The Kamakhya temple is considered a major center for Tantra worship and due to this reason, thousands of devotes of Tantra are attracted here in Ambuvaci, an annual festival celebrated here. Manasha Puja is another sacred celebration that takes place here every year. Kamakhya people also take part in Durga Puja celebration during Navratri, in the autumn. This celebration often runs for five days and it attracts several thousand people from around the country.

More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamakhya_Temple