kamaikaKamakhya Temple

Kamakhya (English) [ IPA: kamakhya ASM: কামাক্ষা]
Contributed by: Bikram M Baruah on 2008-04-27
1. (Proper Noun-Feminine) Kamakhya in Guwahati is an aspect of the Hindu Goddess Sati. A temple in her honour exists in the Kamrup district of Assam state, India. The temple is one of the 51 holy Shakti Peethas related to Sati. According to legend the Goddess Sati burned herself during the sacrificial fire at her father Daksha Prajapati's abode, because her father was scornful of her husband the ascetic God Shiva. (This incident gave rise to the custom of sati in India). In a rage, Shiva began his Dance of Death (tandava) to bring about the destruction of the Universe. The other Gods, afraid of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He dared not come close to the terrible Shiva, so he sent his discus Sudarshana to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of her body fell until Shiva was left without a body to carry. Seeing this, Shiva sat down to do Mahatapasya (great penance). There are supposedly 51 pieces of Sati scattered across the Indian subcontinent. Her yoni (genital organ) is said to have fallen on the spot where the Kamakhya Temple stands today, and hence the spot has a preeminent status among the Mother Goddess' temples. Kamakhya, the Goddess/yoni, exists in the main shrine as a large cleft in the bedrock, covered by water flowing upward from an underground spring, generally covered by a red cloth, flowers, and red sindur powder. Kamakhya is an important Shakta pilgrimage site, attracting many visitors.