The Kamakhya temple, located at a distance of 7 km from Guwahati, is one of the biggest Shakti shrines in the country. Situated on the Nilachal hills, this temple is an important pilgrimage centre for tantric worshippers and Hindus. It is also considered important as it is the temple where the beliefs and practices of the Aryan communities coincide with non-Aryan communities.
The former temple was destroyed by Kala Pahar, which was later reconstructed in 1565 by Chilarai, who was the reigning king of the Koch dynasty. This temple is dedicated to different forms of Mother Shakti, namely Sundari, Tripura, Tara, Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi and Chinnamasta. Comprising three major chambers, the present structure is considered as a sacred complex.
The western chamber is rectangular in shape, while the middle chamber is square in shape. The middle chamber consists of inscriptions and images of Naranarayana. The most sacred shrine is located within the temple, which is also the third chamber.
The third chamber with a yoni-like cleft in the bedrock is in the form of a cave. The temple also has a natural spring, which flows through the cleft. This spring helps in keeping the chamber moist.
Dedicated to different forms of Lord Shiva, there are five temples within the complex of Kamakhya temple. In addition, the temple complex also houses three temples of Lord Vishnu, present in the form of Kedara, Gadadhara and Pandunath.
There are several legends and myths associated with this temple. According to one of the popular legends, it is believed that the reproductive organ of Sati settled on the earth at this place, which was followed by her death. On the other hand, another popular belief states that this temple is associated with Goddess Kali.
Ambubachi Mela is one of the major festivals of this temple. The festival is held every year to commemorate the yearly menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya. It is also said that during the month of mid-June, which is also an Ahar, there is a natural spring which flows through the yoni.
Several other pujas are organised in this temple including Durga Puja, Durgadeul and Madandeul. Some of the other pujas performed in this temple include Manasa Puja, Pohan Biya and Vasanti Puja.