Located at a distance of 177 kms from Delhi in the state of Haryana, Kurukshetra is a town where history blends with legends.
Every place on Earth has its own importance. But few places are considered sacred because of the spiritual energy that is concentrated there; the reason for the concentrated energy is either years of sadhana by rishis or saints or the result of worshipping of the Gods in these places.
WHAT ARE SHAKTI PEETHAS ?
The Shakti Peethas (sacred places of energy) are places of worship consecrated to the goddess ‘Adi Shakti’, the main deity of the Shakti sect. Shaktipeeth are situated throughout the Indian subcontinent.
Most Shakti Peethas are temples dedicated to Kali (the transformer), Durga (the protector) or Gowri (Shakti in a loving demeanour).
LEGEND OF THE SHAKTI PEETHA
According to legend Daksha (who was the son of Lord Brahma) performed a yagya in a place called Kankan (near Haridwar). This yagya was named Vrihaspati Yagya. His daughter Sati (also known as Dakshayani) had done intense penance to attain lord Shiv as her husband. Daksha was angry because his daughter Sati had married the ‘yogi’ Lord Shiv against his wishes. All the deities were invited to the yagya except for Shiv and Sati. However, the fact that she was not invited did not deter Sati from attending the yagya. Sati insisted on attending the yagya reassuring herself and others that it was her father’s place where she needed no invitation. Sati decided to attend the yagya despite the disapproval of Lord Shiv.
Sati, being an uninvited guest, was coldly welcomed and disrespected by her father during the yagya. Furthermore, Daksha insulted Lord Shiv. He went on becoming more disrespectful towards Lord Shiv. Sati was unable to bear insults towards her husband. Her intense anger made her reveal herself as the supreme form of Adishakti whereby she tormented all who were present there and her anger resulted in havoc upon the Earth, she finally jumped into the yagya fire (sacrificial fire).
When Lord Shiva heard about Sati’s demise he was shattered and became furious.
Lord Shiv’s ansh Manbhadra along with his ganas went to the place where Daksha was performing the yagya. The oblation site was completely destroyed by Shiv and his ganas (mainly by the great Veerbhadra). Daksh prajapatis’ head was chopped off but later was replaced by a goats head. Daksha spent his remaining years as Shiv bhakt.
Lord Shiv carried the corpse of Sati and started the dance of destruction of the universe to give rise to pralaya or ‘great destruction’, the others Gods remained unsuccessful to calm down lord Shiv.
To bring down his anger, Lord Vishnu severed the dead body of Sati with his Sudarshan chakra. Sati’s body was cut into 52 parts that fell at different places and these were known as ‘Shakti Peethas’.
There are four famous temples out of 52 that are called the Adi Shakti peethas.
One of the body parts of Sati fell in each of the temples
– The Kamakhya temple in Assam (yoni)
– Dashineshwar temple in Kolkata (face)
– Tara Tarini temple in Behrampur (chest)
– Bimala temple in Puri (feet)
THE KAMAKHYA TEMPLE IN ASSAM
It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Peethas.
The Kamakhya temple is dedicated to the tantric goddesses. Apart from the deity Kamakhya Devi, compound of the temple houses 10 other avatars of Kali namely Dhumavati, Matangi, Bagola, Tara, Kamala, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari and Tripuara Sundari.
The Kamakhya temple’s origins are pre-Aryan. The vedic texts mentions that the temple of Kamakhya was built with stones by Kamadev. Kamadev is the God of human longing or desire , the name is used in the Rig Veda . Due to some upheaval against religion or natural disaster, the upper part of the temple was ravaged and the lower part was gradually buried.
Kamakhya (or Kamroop) Devi’s yoni fell here and the idols are Devi as Kamakhya (personification of love) and Shiva as Umananda. This is near Guwahati in the state of Assam on the banks of the Brahmaputra (the son of Brahma) river.
There is no image of Shakti in the Kamakhya temple. However, in a corner of a cave inside the temple, there is a sculpted image of the yoni of the goddess, which the devotees pay reverence to as of the Devi. A natural spring keeps the stone moist.
Apart from the daily puja offered to the Devi, a number of special pujas are also held round the year in Kamakhya temple. These pujas are Durga Puja, Pohan Biya, Durgadeul, Vasanti Puja, Madandeul, Ambuvaci and Manasa Puja.
In the month of Ashaad (June), the goddess bleeds or menstruates. At this time the temple remains closed for three days and opens on the fourth day with great festivities.
HOW TO REACH?
The Kamakhya temple is situated on lofty Nilachal Hills and in the very center of Guwahati town in Kamrup district of Assam, India.
Visitors can hire an auto-rickshaw/trekker/taxi from Guwahati Railway Station or any other part of the city. Regular Buses of Assam Tourism Department also ply to and fro Kamakhya Temple connecting it to parts of Guwahati.
The Temple is about 20 km from Guwahati Airport, which is linked to all major Airports across India. It is about 6 km from Guwahati railway station. There is also a separate Kamakhya Railway Station, which is closer to the temple, but is comparatively smaller.
If you have the spirit of mountaineering and desire to reach the temple top by climbing, you can do so using two rock-cut stairs from connecting the bottom of Nilachal hill to the Kamakhya temple.