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Kamakhya Devi: The bleeding goddess

The “bleeding goddess” is what the goddess of this temple, situated on the Nilachal hill in Guwahati, Assam, is known for. Goddess kamakhya is known to be the goddess of creative power, desire, and fertility. The striking feature of this temple is that is has no idol. What people worship in this temple is the “yoni” or the vulva of goddess Sati. This does not only make the temple unique but is also seen as a celebration of womanhood and its capabilities to give birth to new life. It is said that the goddess bleeds during the month of June (Ashaad) which is marked by the red flow of Brahmaputra river near the temple for three days, after which the temple remains closed for the same number of days. Goddess Kamakhya is known to be one of the great many incarnations of goddess Sati who was the daughter of Daksha and the beloved wife of Lord Shiva.

History has it that goddess Sati took her life at a ‘yajna’ organised by her father in which not only were she and her husband uninvited, but also Daksha hurled insults directed towards Shiva. Lord Shiva flew into rage on hearkening the news of his wife’s death. Out of grief and outrage, Shiva took the corpse of Sati and started performing ‘taandav’, the dance of destruction. Shiva’s anger was overwhelming and almost impossible to pacify. In an attempt to do so, Lord Vishnu’s sudarshan chakra cut Sati’s corpse into 51 pieces in which her female genitalia called the ‘yoni’ fell onto the spot now called the Kamakhya temple. This is said to be one of the Shakti Peethas. The story behind the temple has attracted people to the spot and its mystifying grandeur and picturesque locale has only added in propagating the beauty of this temple in the whole of India.

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