Ambubachi Mela: Mahakumbh of the EastYou all might have heard about famous Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati, which is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhaya Devi. Here in the temple a festival called the Ambubachi Mela is observed every year during the time of the monsoons normally in the month of June. This Mela is celebrated with grand fervor in Guwahati. Ambubachi mela is considered as the biggest religious congregation in eastern India. Thousands of devotees from around the globe visit the Kamakhaya temple during the Ambubachi mela. The Ambubachi mela is celebrated for four days and during the festival the temple doors remain closed as this festival is celebrated for the annual menstrual cycle of the Goddess Kamakhya Devi. On the fourth day of the festival, the devotees of the Maa kamakhya are allowed to enter the temple for worshipping the goddess.
Every year I visit the Kamakhya temple along with my family during the Ambubachi Mela. It is very difficult to make your way through the bustling crowds during the Ambubachi Mela at the normally serene Kamakhya temple. The Kamakhya temple is located atop the Nilachal hills about 8km from the Guwahati railway station. You can also hire auto rickshaw or can also avail the bus service to reach the temple. The Assam government operates free bus services to the devotees during the Ambubachi mela. During this festival you get to see “shivirs” ore resting places for the devotees in Sonaram field in Bharalu, near Kamakhya railway station in Maligaon and in Bhootnath temple.
You will get a dejavu of Jagannath temple in Puri, once you are in the temple premises. The temples have almost similar architecture and religious rituals like the Jaganath temple. You must be very cautious while approaching the pandas (assistant priests) as they insist for the pujas. Be ready to pour out money for their services. However, you can also offer your prayers in the temple without their services.
The major attraction during the festival is the sadhus and sanyasis who exhibit their psychic powers by performing some different unbelievable stunts. Some were simply standing in one leg for hours while some buried their head in a pit and still stood upright. Mystics who come to the temple during the mela claim they can perform wonders - find a distressed loner a spouse, make a childless couple conceive, or even cast an evil spell on others.
The Ambubachi mela is one thing you would not like to miss if you are in Guwahati at that time. The Kamakhya temple during this time becomes a different world altogether, where most of the sadhus and sanyasis are capable of doing miracles. Whatever may be the beliefs and rituals performed during the festival, it is an opportunity for everyone to see and feel tantricism and mysticism which we, the common people, call magic.
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