History logo

Kamakhya Devi

The menstruating goddess!

By Varshita Gupta Published 2 months ago 3 min read
(The yoni-like stone worshipped at the Kamakhya temple)

Located in Guwahati, Assam, on top of Nilachal Hill, the Kamakhya Devi Temple is a monument to the spirituality and architecture of ancient Hinduism. Its past is intricately entwined with ancient history, dating back to the renowned account of Lord Shiva's wife, Sati. As per the scriptures, Sati was the daughter of Prajapati Daksha and also an incarnation of the goddess Adi-shakti. Daksha was the son of Brahma and the first Prajapati (emperor) of the world which made him egoistic. She fell in love with Bhagwan Shiva who was hated by her father Daksha. Despite her father's disagreement, Sati married Shiva which made Daksha abandon her daughter. Once, Prajapati Daksha escorted an enormous yajna in her palace. All the gods, demons, priests, and commoners from all around the world were invited except Shiva and Sati. Sati imbibed by the love of her parents decided to access the yajna uninvited. Noticing Sati in the palace, Daksha became furious and out of rage insulted Shiva. Sati could not bear the insults of her husband and self-immolated herself. Witnessing such devastating condition of his wife, Shiva became furious and called upon Virbhadra and Bhadrakali to annihilate Daksha. He then entered the palace and bearing the burnt body of her wife traveled across the cosmos in anguish and wrath. To emancipate the soul of Sati, so that she could be reborn, Bhagwan Vishnu, with the help of his sudarshan chakra, sliced her body into 51 pieces, each falling into different sites and creating a Shaktipeeth.
Kamakhya Devi temple is the place where Sati's vulva (external genitalia) fell, forming the holiest place for Hindu pilgrims. Interestingly, there's no idol of the deity in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple, rather a yoni-like stone (a stone in the shape of the female genitalia) over which a natural spring flows.
Every year, the Kamakhya Temple hosts the Hindu festival known as the Ambubachi Mela. It lasts for four days and is observed during the monsoon season, which is often in June. Thousands of followers from all across India attend the festival, which is based on the traditional tale that the goddess Kamakhya has a menstrual cycle. The goddess Kamakhya is thought to be going through her yearly menstrual cycle during this period, hence the temple is closed for three days. During this time, the Brahmaputra river also turns red for three days. A red cloth is used to cover the yoni during these three days. The temple is reopened on the fourth day, often referred to as "Naba Patrika Puja" or "Devi Snan," which marks the conclusion of the goddess' menstrual cycle. The red cloth covering the yoni turns red and is distributed among the Devotees in the form of Prasad (Angabastra). Devotees assemble to watch the idols being bathed in holy water while engaging in complex rituals and hymn chanting. The fair draws visitors from all across the nation with its array of cultural events, folk music and dance performances, traditional craft exhibits, and local food vendors. All things considered, the Ambubachi Mela is not just a religious celebration but also a cultural spectacle that highlights the rich history and customs of India and provides a forum for societal unity and spiritual renewal.
For those who worship the goddess Shakti, the Kamakhya Temple is extremely important as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, representing the holy feminine force and energy. The temple complex consists of several smaller shrines, each radiating a sense of spiritual reverence and devotion, devoted to different forms of the goddess. Its unique dome-shaped roofs and elaborate wall carvings are reflections of the Indian cultural and artistic influences on its architecture.
The temple has a long history of incorporating tantric rituals and practices, which draw researchers and practitioners of Tantra from all over the world. For both visitors and seekers, the Kamakhya Temple is more than just a physical structure—rather, it's a hallowed place where the goddess's heavenly presence is felt deeply. It inspires innumerable people on their spiritual journey through the realms of devotion and divine grace, acting as a light of hope, healing, and transformation.
Menstruation is a representation of a woman's inventiveness and ability to bear children. It's a symbol of rejuvenation and creation, something which should be revered and not forsaken. The goddess and the Kamakhya temple honor the Shakti that resides in every woman. But unfortunately, some people even today, consider menstruation and a bleeding woman to be impure. There's a need to recall the lost history and heritage of India to bring back the era when women were worshipped and respected and menstruation was considered a reverential and creative process rather than a taboo.


About the Creator

Varshita Gupta

Introducing before you the hidden gems of India in the form of tales and stories. 💗

अहं ब्रम्हास्मि। 🧘


Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.