What will you do if you have to spend one day in the land of Assam?
Take the spiritual path the next time you are in Assam.
Start from none another than the most famous temple of Kamakhya.
The temple of Kamakhya is of utmost importance in Guwahati. People from all over the world come here to seek blessings of Goddess Kamakhya.
About Goddess Kamakhya:
There are many stories associated to Devi. But one of the most significant one goes like this. Once upon a time, emperor Daksha, father of Goddess Parvati held a large ceremony or ‘Yagya’ inviting the prominent Gods and Goddesses. He didn’t invite the Mahadeva or Lord Shiva. Now Parvati became extremely unhappy with this insult of Shiva. She decided to leave this world.
Following this event, the Mahadeva became very upset and maniac. He held Parvati’s dead body in his shoulders and started walking across the world. Lord Vishnu, in order to liberate Shiva out of his misery, took out his Chakra and swung across cutting Parvati’s dead body in 51 parts. These 51 parts got spread across 51 different places in and around BharathVarsh, leading it’s name as 51 Shakti-Peethas.
Significance of Kamakhya:
Kamakhya is the place where goddess’ genital organ or the ‘Yoni’ fell. Thus this place is worshipped as the land of infinity creativity. It is believed that when the Goddess Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle, the nearby Brahmaputra river goes red (signifying Goddess’ blood). This period is celebrated as Ambuvachi festival. An annual Hindu mela is also held at the temple. The devotees are not allowed to enter inside the temple at this time of the year.
How to reach:
Kamakhya has a dedicated railway station which is connected to most of the major rail lines across the country. The temple is situated around 8 kms from the railway station. It can be reached by taking a local bus from the main road, just near to the station. This bus takes you all the way to the top. But here’s a personal recommendation : Stop near the stairs below. And start walking. There’s a nice trek of 2 kilometers which takes you all the way, to the temple top.
I woke up after a good night sleep. The sleep being good more so because of the fact that I had earned it after over 30 hours of travel time. It was 8 AM when I woke up. All set to take on the streets of Kamakhya, I left from the station. And here was the first mistake which I made. Took the first auto which came to me.
” Sir 200 for the temple.“
It’s just 8 kms. Not more than 100 bucks!!
And that’s how I started. Mentally celebrating my victory of saving 100 bucks, I was very happy clueless that I am still being looted :p
“Just drop me at the stairs of the temple, Bhaiyya” is what I said to him.
“As you wish Sir.”
Soon I reached my destination. The temple was still 2 kms on the hill top. After seeing something to trek on, after a long time, my eyes lit up. Let’s walk!
As the taxis and cars made their way on the highway which led to the top, here I was walking and feeling each and every step of mine, letting the cool winds caress my face. Soon I came across a flight of stairs on the left. With a mere guess that the stairs will lead to the temple, I was game for it. Surrounded by the lovely hills of Nilachal and lovely little cold breeze, the path to the temple was a sight to behold. I quickly took out the camera to capture some moments to rejoice for later. There was not a living soul to witness so far.
Amidst the Nilachal Hills. Soothing. Isn’t it…?
And then I came across a Baba. With a chillum on his right hand, the Baba stopped to catch some breathe. But I was not in a mood to stop. I wanted to just go with the flow. The lyrics of Altaf Raja’s hit stuck my mind :
“Awara Hawa Ka Jhonka Hun. Nikla Hun Pal Do Pal Klie.”
I was enjoying this feeling. Just me and Mother Nature. After walking for a kilometer and a half, I came across some temples.
There were shop selling flowers and incense sticks to be offered to the Gods just outside the temple.
” You can stop here and keep your shoes. “
This line was nothing but a hint saying “Why don’t you stop here and buy something from my shop”
I decided to stop there and buy something. Not because of the fact that I am scared or nothing. But just as a token of love. “Bagala Temple” was written on one of the temples which was near to the Lord Shiva and Hanuman’s temple. I stopped and met each of the Gods present over there.
A priest came and offered to perform a small worship to the Gods. I said ok , Why not.
After offering prayers, I was still searching for the famous Kamakhya temple.
I met a guy on the temple who tells me that this is not the Kamakhya temple. You have to walk further up to meet the goddess. I bade farewell to the remaining Gods and left for the temple of Kamakhya which was half a kilometer further up. On reaching the top I could see a nicely constructed road meaning all the vehicles could come up till this point. But nothing beats walking all the way up :)
Where there is a temple, there are some bells. And I love to swing them.
I could see plenty of restaurants to eat. I decided to perform “Pet-Pooja” first before worshipping the Goddess.
What do we have for breakfast ?
“Sir, we have Poori, Chhole, Masala Dosas, Aloo Paranthas”
Masala Dosa in North East India. Isn’t that a South Indian dish, I pondered!
“One plate of Poori-Chhole and a cup of tea for me, please”
Must Have : Priced at Rs. 30, the Poori Chhole was delicious.
Now it was time to make way for the temple.
As you walk on towards the temple. You will again find shopkeepers selling Prasadam and flowers. I decided to give all those things a miss this time and purchased a small book depicting the story of Goddess Kamakhya. The temple of Kamakhya is historically rich. You will find lots of animals being sacrificed to the Goddess inside the temple. There were different gates to see the deity. I went inside one of the gates and came out. There was a big queue in one of the gates which lead to the main deity or Yoni.
As they were busy waiting, I was busy clicking :p
I decided to give this one a miss and chose to read more about the Goddess sitting on one of the rocks. There are numerous stories associated to Kamakhya. Each one has it’s own plot. That’s what I got to know from the book.
Must try : Reading about the temple while you are sitting inside the temple.
Must drink : Black tea inside the temple.
As I was flipping over the pages of this small book, a man selling black tea came across. Bring it on! To my surprise, the black tea was a mixture of black tea and masala chai. There was a distinct flavor of masalas which was unique to taste.
While returning, I tried Aloo Parathas on the same restaurant and it was equally delicious. I realized that there is a city bus which goes all the way near to the Kamakhya Station. And this was just priced at Rs. 5
(Curses the auto guy in his mind for paying 100 bucks initially !! )