Fast Facts :
Situated : Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam, India
Devoted To : Goddess Kamakhya
Time of the Festival : Rainy season
Duration : (4-7days)
Rituals and Legends :
Ambubachi Mela or Fair is held annually celebrated during the rainy season at the temple of Kamakhya, Guwahati.Various beliefs and legends are associated with this fair.This is a major festival celebrated in Assam and is of immense importance, especially for the locals. This fair clings many devotees across India as well as the world. This fair is intimately interrelated to the rituals of Tantrik knowledge that are carried out during the fair of Ambabasi.
Major Attractions :
This fair is held annually during the rainy season in the Kamakhya Temple located at Guwahati.This fair is related with the prodigy of catamenial cycle of Goddess Kamakhya.At the time of this fair, the temple of Kamakhya Devi remains bunged for 3 days throughout which all the devotees mounts up in the premise of the temple and anxiously wait for the 4th day to come, as they are allowed to take the Darshan of the Devi after this day.
The accretion of Pandas and Sadhus from across the country and locals the local crafts and arts items kept for trade on the side of the road, make it a striking place as a stopover and observe the festivities. The pundits hymning mantras on behalf of the disciples, and they offering puja.All these makes it an attractive affair.
Traditions and Rituals :
A very important feature of the Ambubachi Mela is the adoration linked to the cult of tantrik.Generally this time is set for heavy rainfall for an entire week and this natural phenomenon is known as ‘xaat’.It is said that the rains cleanses the earth, keeping it ready for the harvest. According to the old beliefs, it is said that one is supposed to have summer fruits only after the Ambubachi Fair and this one-week’s rain.
The great legend behind this is related to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. According to the mythology, Goddess Parvati had decided to marry Lord Shiva since her childhood. She underwent meticulous fasts and rumination to please Lord Shiva who at last agreed and accepted Goddess Parvati as his better half. Nevertheless, Parvati’s father and mother were not pleased with this match. Once father of Goddess Parvati, King Daksh had prearranged a yagna in which he did not ask his son in law and daughter to come. Goddess Parvati got angry at this gesture and went to her parents to ask for an explanation. King Daksha affronted Parvati by calling Lord Shiva poor and wild. Being an ideal wife, she could not take all the insult and she skipped in to the yagna out of anger and shame and had killed herself.
When the angry Shiva came to know this fact, he was out of his temper and came running to his father- in- law. On ascertaining the dead body of his beloved wife, he was fully devastated and angry. He carried the dead body on top of his shoulder and started doing the destruction dance also called as ‘Tandav’.He continued dancing for many days and as a result the earth was on a verge of destruction.
All the Gods and Goddess were tensed with this situation and requested to Lord Vishnu to remove the sacred body of Goddess Parvati from the shoulder of Lord Shiva, since this would compose him and he would stop dancing. On hearing the plea of all the Gods, Lord Vishnu decided to cut the body parts of Goddess Parvati with the aid of his chakra. It is believed that the body parts of Goddess Parvati floored at diverse parts of the country that are known to be (Shakti Peeth or Centers of power). The private part of Goddess Parvati is believed to have fallen on the top of Neelachal Hill, located in Guwahati and it is the same place, where the temple of Kamakhya stands today. For three consecutive days prior to the Mela, the temple of Kamakhya remains closed for the devotees, as it is said that during this time Goddess Parvati goes through the cycle of menstruation and henceforth she needs solitude and rest.
Another legend follows that Demon Narakasura fell in love with Goddess Kamakhya and wanted to tie the knot with her. However, as it is said that a Goddess and a God can never get married to an asura or a demon, Goddess Kamakhya thought for a ploy to save her. Goddess Kamakhya kept a condition that she would only marry him if he constructs a shrine for her over a night.Narakasura happily agreed to this and had almost completed the temple, a cock called loudly to announce the onset of morning which was preplanned and it was dawn. Demon Narakasura got very angry and killed that cock.But as it was been ruled out before as per as the promise it was too late and thus Goddess Kamakhya was saved. It is believed that this is the same temple, which Demon Narakasura had constructed for Goddess Kamakhya.