Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati where ''Yoni'' is worshiped in the sanctum!!

The Kamakhya Temple Guwahati , base made of hard stone. Alamy
The Kamakhya Temple GuwahatiGuwahati
Since Hinduism is a way of life and does not have a controlling central body of religions heads, as other religions have,  countless contradictions and superstitions have crept into it to our bewilderment. There is no control over such religious beliefs that vary from state to state. Nor is there any religious body to put a stop to it. This is done in the name of religious freedom. Such strange religious beliefs do exist in other countries and in other religions as well,   As far as Hinduism is concerned, Such superstitions and beliefs have become fodder for atheists and non-religious people. The intrusion of  odd beliefs in the realm of  divinity under some pretext is a deplorable one we feel compelled to  stand aghast in silence and watch this madness taking over the psyche of the people. In the case of Tantric worship there are so many strange things that religious persons with common sense won't accept them. Here, I am referring to  the animal sacrifices and the worship of Yoni (female genital) - an object of veneration in the sanctum!!  The case in point is The Kamakhya Temple, in Guwahati, Assam. 

The Kamakhya Temple also Kamrup-Kamakhya temple dedicated to the  goddess Kamakhya is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. It is strongly believed to be
an important pilgrimage center  for those who have strong faith in Tantric worship, quite different from Vedic worship. Hinduism being a Vedic religion the Tantra aspects  are not considered part of the orthodox Hindu/Vedic scriptures. This temple is  on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city.

The temple itself is a complex en composing   individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Sodashi, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika.  Among these  the idols of, Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala  are housed in the main shrine and the remaining goddesses are in their respective shrines outside the main one.
Kamakhya Temple.shikhara made of bricksn.wikipedia.org/
Above image:  Kamakhya Temple. The shikhara made of bricks ringed by a cluster of angashikhara of Bengal charchala was an innovation. The artisans in the 16th century tried to rebuild the stone shikhara of the original temple but only made a vein attempt.
The architectural style of this temple is referred to as 
the Nilachal type: a temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base. The renovations done many times from the  8th to 17th century, gave rise to a hybrid indigenous style.  The temple  has four parts/chambers: garbhagriha (sanctum) and three mandapas (halls) locally called calanta, pancharatna and natamandira aligned from east to west. The adhisthana of the Kamakhya temple indicates that the original temple was of Nagara style.

The garbhagriha that has a pancharatha plan, rests on plinth moldings that are similar to the Surya Temple at Tezpur. Atop the plinths are dados  built in the later period and are  of the Khajuraho or the Central Indian type, consisting of sunken panels alternating with pilasters.  The panels  consist of various deities from the Hindu pantheon. The lower part of the structure is made of hard stone, whereas the shikhara ( top of tower) in the shape of a polygonal beehive-like dome is made of brick.  This feature is common among  the  temples in Kamrup. Yet another feature is the incorporation of Bengal type of charchara as revealed by shikhara  that is circled by a number of minaret inspired angashikharas.  The Shikhara, angashikharas and other chambers, records point out, were built in the 16th century and in the later period.  
Yet another odd features are the sunken cave-like garbagriha-below the ground level and  the absence of an idol/ image in the sanctum. Instead, there is a piece of rock with  a long narrow cut in the shape of a yoni (female genital). It can be accessed by  narrow steep stone steps that  slope downwards from both sides meeting in a yoni-like depression some 10 inches deep. This hollow  space contains water and the source of water being  an underground perennial spring. It is the vulva-shaped depression (Yoni) that is worshiped as the goddess Kamakhya herself and considered as the  most important pitha (abode) of the Devi. The  garbhaghrihas of the other temples in the Kamakhya complex  are quite similar to this one.- a yoni-shaped stone, filled with water and below  the ground level.

The entrance to the temple is through the  northern door (Ahom type dochala). The calanta is a a square chamber of type atchala (similar to the 1659 Radha-Vinod Temple of Bishnupur.  It leads into the garbhagriha via descending steps. The pancharatna is  a large and rectangular structure  with a flat roof and five smaller shikharas, quite similar to the  main skhikara. The natamandira  that extends to the west of the pancharatna  has an apsidal end and  ridged roof of the Ranghar type -Ahom style. The  inscriptions  are from  the period of Rajeswar Singha (1759) and Gaurinath Singha (1782),  suggesting construction  of  this structure  during that time  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamakhya_Temple   http://www.period.media/global /menstruatinggoddess  //www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/celebrating-the-goddess-who-bleeds/article24234722.ece: