In a country like India where even talking about periods is a huge taboo here’s a temple that stands for the pretentiousness of the cocoon we are all being enclosed in since centuries.
Where is it located?
Kamakhya temple is a famous pilgrimage situated in Guwahati, Assam India. The temple is located on the Nilachal hill in Guwahati at about 8 kms from the railway station of the town.
This is a picture of another Kamakhya yoni in Devipuram, Andhra Pradesh.
What makes it special?
Kamakhya temple is one of the many places of pilgrimage in India and what makes it different from other pilgrimage spots here is that it has no sculpture to worship but only Kamakhya’s yoni or vagina and it’s highly unique feature is that a natural spring near the temple keeps the stone moist all the time.
However it is highly ironic that menstruating women are not allowed to enter the temple but the temple’s yoni is said to be one of a bleeding vagina!
What’s the legend behind it?
Legend has it that Sati once fought with her husband Lord Shiva in order to attend her father’s great yagna. Despite his disapproval, she went on to attend the function and it is mimed that her father, Daksha insulted her because she came uninvited to the ceremony.
Not being able to bear the insult, Sati is said to have committed suicide!
When her husband Lord Shiva got to know about it, he became highly furious and placing Sati’s dead body on his shoulders, he is said to have done the tandava – the dance of destruction. In an attempt to calm him down, Lord Vishnu is said to have cut Sati’s body with his chakra, parts of which then fell at 108 different places – all of which later came to be known as shakti peeths.
Sati’s womb is said to have fallen at Kamakhya temple, Assam thereby gaining it’s unique significance!
What’s the history behind the Name ‘Kamakhya’?
The God of love, Kamadeva is said to have lost his virility due to a curse and when he sought out the Shakti’s womb and genitals it was said that he was freed from the curse almost immedietly. This is where the king of ‘love’ gained his potency and love again and thus, the deity ‘Kamakhya‘ devi was installed and worshiped here.
Some people even believe that the Kamakhya temple is the place where Shiva and Sati had most of their romantic encounters.
As the Sanskrit word for lovemaking is ‘kama’, the place was named Kamakhya.
Kamakhya devi is well-renowned to be the bleeding goddess and the mythical womb and vagina of Sati are supposedly installed in the Garbagriha or the main sanctum of the temple.
What’s special about the Annual Fertility festival?
The temple has an annual fertility festival called Ambuwasi Puja in which the goddess Sati is said to be going through her yearly menstrual cycle. This is when the temple remains closed for three days and opens up with great festivities on Day 4. It is also said that the river Brahmaputra turns red during this time. Whether it really is blood, or vermilion put by pandits is a question that is left unanswered. Also the holy water is later distributed among the devotees.
Also, symbolically, menstruation is said to be the symbol of a woman’s creativity and her prowess to give birth to new lives. So, the deity and temple of Kamakhya celebrates this ‘shakti’ or power within every woman. Kudos to women power!
What leaves me baffled is that when you can celebrate a deity’s period why do you not allow women in period celebrate the same ?
First, if a woman menstruates you seclude her for days and secondly, if she doesn’t you call her barren and seclude her though? What exactly is the reason behind this is a question that still remains unanswered!