Sitting atop the Nilachal Hill, by the banks of the Brahmaputra river, the majestic Kamakhya Temple is an iconic landmark in Guwahati. One of the oldest temples in the city, it is said to be dating back to the 8th century. Dedicated to mother goddess Kamakhya, the temple has four chambers: a garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum), which is a cave under the ground level that houses a rock fissure instead of an idol, and three mandapas (outdoor halls) known as calanta, pancharatna and natamandira. The current temple structure has been built by the Ahom kings. One of the classic features is the shikhara (spire) that looks like a beehive of sculpted panels and images of Hindu gods and goddesses.


Counted among the most sacred shaktipeethas (devotional shrines where the severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell), the temple is believed to be the place where the womb of the goddess fell. Thus, it is also synonymous with supreme female power and fertility. Thousands of devotees visit the temple every year, especially during the Ambubachi Mela in June.

Legend has it that Goddess Sati immolated herself when her husband, Lord Shiva, was disrespected in her paternal home. Grief-stricken Lord Shiva traversed the universe with her body on His shoulders, wrecking havoc. To calm the enraged God, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s body with his divine weapon, the Sudarshana chakra, and pieces of the body fell across India, leading to the creation of shaktipeethas.

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