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Kamakhya Temple Guwahati – 5 Important Things You Must Know Before Visiting the Temple of Feminine Power!

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Some say that you haven’t visited Guwahati without stepping inside the famous Kamakhya temple.

A popular pilgrimage site for those of the Hindu faith, it was built to symbolise and honour the deity Kamakhya.

Representing The Female Power of Shakti and celebrating a woman’s ability to conceive, this temple doesn’t have an idol of Kamakhya to worship but a yoni (vagina).

According to legend, it marks the site where Sati’s womb fell. It’s the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas that still stands today and sees thousands of tourists, visitors and spiritual pilgrims each year.

I personally loved my visit. I always think it’s interesting to be exposed to new cultures and traditions.

It felt a bit like an Indiana Jones movie entering the inner sanctum and visiting the cave temple. It was dark and almost claustrophobic. That with the fire, incense and chanting, I felt overwhelmed with an energy I didn’t quite understand.

Here is my complete guide to Kamakhya temple Guwahati with everything you need to know before you visit.

kamakhya temple guwahati

How to reach Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati 

Guwahati is the gateway to the North East of India, so you’ll most likely be landing into the international airport there. It’s a huge city spread across a wide area.

As it’s based 7km out on the west side of the city don’t underestimate the time it takes to reach.

It can be really congested with traffic at peak times. The Assam State Transportation Corporation links are amazing in the city.

There is a direct service that runs back and forth to the temple from the main bus stand at Paltan Bazaar.

Bus prices are super cheap at anywhere from 15 to 50 rupees per journey. It charges by kilometre. For more info, see here.

Under Dharmajyoti, pilgrims receive a concessional fare of 50% off! So, if you were here on a pilgrimage, definitely take advantage of that. For more info, see here.

There is also Uber and the Indian version Ola (Ola works better in my opinion as there are more drivers) in Guwahati.

You simply need to download the app from the App Store or Google Play. Click here to read my guide about Uber in India.

But, I’d suggest that you must have an Indian phone number to keep track! They’re good for not getting ripped off.

Or, you can grab a good old fashioned Tuk Tuk (3 wheeler), but haggle hard. They were quite tough on prices here, especially with foreigners.

Even my Indian traveler friends were having a hard time because they were speaking Hindi instead of Assamese (the local language).

kamakhya temple guwahati

What’s the dress code for Kamakhya temple?

Like most temples in India, the dress code is strictly formal.

As this is a Hindu temple there is no need to cover your head but, this is a place of religious worship all the same so covering your shoulders and legs is a must!

Wearing traditional clothing isn’t necessary, but some outfits to consider could be a pair of yoga bottoms and a blouse, leggings and skirt, maxi dress etc.

I wore a pair of jeans and a nice top but as the top revealed my shoulders, I paired it with a scarf and didn’t have an issue.

guwahati travel guide

1. It stands on Nilachal Hill at 562ft high

As you wind your way up the Nilachal hill to the temple, you’ll come across spectacular views of Guwahati.

Standing at 562ft, it definitely holds an air of mystery about the place.

I would highly recommend getting a taxi up the hill as it may be a bit of a mission to climb, especially with the humidity!

I decided to visit the temple late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

In the peak season of winter, the sun sets at around 3.45pm and by 4pm, you’re in complete darkness!

So, if you want to visit the temple in daylight I’d say go anytime before 3pm.

There are numerous viewpoints a little bit down the hill if you wanted to take in the views of the Guwahati.

kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati

2. There’s an interesting legend surrounding the origin of the temple

I found the story behind Kamakhya temple really interesting.

According to the legend, this temple was the place that the Hindu Gods Sati and Shiva (the destroyer) first met.

Later, they were married. Sati wanted to attend a yajna (sacrifice) that her father was offering to the Gods, against her husband’s (Shiva’s) wishes.

She decided to go anyway, only to be insulted by her father who also insulted Shiva in the process.

Unable to bear the shame, she decided to sacrifice herself into the fire instead.

Shiva was so aggrieved when he found out what happened, he took his wife’s burnt corpse and started his dance of destruction or Tandav.

Shiva was causing so much destruction it was going to destroy the world. This made Vishnu, the operator God, send his chakra to cut the body and stop Shiva’s rage.

Sati’s body then fell into 108 pieces or Shakti Pithas. The Kamakhya Temple is where Sati’s womb and vagina fell.

kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
A lot of the animals were bless with Gulal (colourful powder). That included cows, goats and monkeys!

3. It’s the most popular temple in Guwahati

A lot of Hindu’s head to Guwahati to perform a pilgrimage or spiritual journey here.

It’s a famous temple and one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. The Kamakhya temple is the main temple in the complex.

But, it’s one of ten temples which were built surrounding it to honour the ten Mahavidyas (great wisdoms).

Mahavidyas are personalities of the one supreme Goddess Shakti. Revered by Shaktas, they believe that “the one Truth is sensed in ten different facets; the Divine Mother is adored and approached as ten cosmic personalities,”.

So, essentially all these ten temples are one and are all built to celebrate the Mother Goddess and all the different personalities which make her.

If you’re are planning to make an offering in the temple, my advise would be to get here early!

Queues can be anything up to a few hours to get into the inner sanctum. Official opening hours at 5.30am until 10pm in the evening. 

For more information on Puja and ritual timings, see their official website here.

kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
Beyond visiting the main temple, there are smaller temples surrounding it which are worth checking out!

4. Kamakhya temple was built to honour the mother goddess… the bleeding Goddess of Assam

Along with the legend of Sati. The Kamakhya temple is actually unique in the way that Kamakhya (representing Shakti or the Feminine Power) is known as the bleeding Goddess.

Traditionally, menstruation of women in India is frowned upon. But at this temple, it’s celebrated.

It’s believed that the inner temple or the ‘Garvagriha‘ represents the womb or Shakti of the Hindu Deity.

There’s actually not an idol representing Kamakhya here, only a Yoni or the vagina of the Goddess that is worshipped.

Once a year the temple hold an annual fertility festival or Ambubasi Puja. Supposedly, during this time the Brahmaputra turns red.

It’s a myth that this is the day that Kamakhya menstruates… but don’t quote me on that!

This temple celebrates a woman’s ability to conceive, as opposed to shaming it! Which is totally cool in my books.

However, regardless of all this, women who are menstruating are forbidden in entering the temple.

kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati

5. Goats are sacrificed and… well, it’s not pretty!

When I entered the temple I didn’t know what to expect inside. It was so dark, hot, and stuffy it was almost claustrophobic and too much to bear.

There was also a huge queue to bring your offering so be prepared to be stuck inside waiting for a while. It honestly felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie!

With the darkness, the fire, incense, chanting and….a baby goats head?!

I couldn’t take my eyes off it. A cute little baby goats head was placed on the alter.

I got blessed with the holy water and donated my rupees, but I couldn’t take my mind of it. Although I know it’s part of religion it made me so sad.

In the 21st century, do we really need to sacrifice goats?!

Anyway, afterwards, I heard from other travellers that just seeing a head wasn’t the worst of it.

There’s a whole room where you can go in to watch the religious slaughter. So be warned, it isn’t pretty! Especially if you love fluffy cute goats.

kamakhya temple guwahati

A tribute to the goats of Kamakhya temple

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the goats of Khamakhya Temple please? Little did I know when I took these pics they maybe gonners now :( !

In all honesty, I thought they were kept as pets in the temple. I was so naïve.

I absolutely love goats so, I’m gonna put a few pictures here. Guys, I hope you made it!

kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati
kamakhya temple guwahati

Need a place to stay in Guwahati?

I know just the place! Check out Aditya’s Bed and Breakfast Guwahati. You can now book them through Air BnB here.

Get $40 off your next Airbnb stay by signing up with my invitation link

I stayed there 3 times when I was in the North East India and it’s honestly divine. You get your own bedroom (which fits three), a private sitting room, complimentary breakfast and Assamese tea!

It’s run by the most beautiful family and their guesthouse is really cheap, clean and good quality.

guwahati travel guide

Heading around Guwahati?

Guwahati was one of my favourite cities to visit in North East India. Sure, it’s just a gateway for many but I would definitely encourage you to stick around and explore!

After your visit to Kamakhya Temple, you could visit Bashishta Temple that is located in the middle of the Brahmaputra River. You’ll need to catch a ferry but it’s definitely worth seeing.

Or, you could sail on the holy river via a relaxing river cruise! Alfresco Grand have an amazing selection of cruises that you can take with dinner. Click here for my full review.

For shopping, I would recommend Fancy Bazaar where you can find lots of clothes and handicrafts to buy.

Click here to read my complete guide for Guwahati!

guwahati travel guide

Read more of my posts on Assam

If you liked this Kamakhya Temple Guwahati guide make sure you read more of my helpful blog posts on Assam in North East India!

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A complete guide for Majuli Island

Things I wish I knew before heading to Majuli

My favourite Assam Photos

majuli island
Majuli Island

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Kamakhya Temple 3 1

Dev

Sunday 4th of April 2021

very pathetic description and ill-informed about sakta tradition . There are other religions where animals are being killed - some in a subtle smart manner. Have courage to point out those ?

Sophie Pearce

Friday 16th of April 2021

Well, as this post is about Kamakhya temple I wouldn't be mentioning other religions or temples! It's not about courage, it's a matter of opinion. I'm sorry that I don't agree that goats should be slaughtered at the temple. There are thousands of Hindu temples around the country that do not take part in this practice.

Balaji Subramanian

Monday 27th of July 2020

Hi Sophie, Wonderful blog. Love the details. I wanted to visit this temple, but worried about mistakenly seeing an animal sacrifice. Is there a chance for me to miss that when I am at the temple?

Sophie Pearce

Sunday 9th of August 2020

Hi Balaji, thanks for reading. I went through my whole visit of around 4 hours without seeing the sacrifice take place. I did see a baby goats head at the altar. But that was about it. You don't have to see the sacrifices if you don't want too. Have a memorable visit. Sophie x

shanna

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Thanks!

Sophie Pearce

Tuesday 16th of June 2020

Hi Shanna, thanks for getting in touch! I'd definitely recommend visiting the Make Traffic Happen website. They have plenty of resources and a Facebook Group to join! Sophie x

Bharam

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Wonderful Image!! Thanks for the amazing post, it was a great post to read which is very sufficient for the travelers. I really appreciate this post thank you for sharing these type of post, a very energetic and informative blog.

Sophie Pearce

Saturday 7th of December 2019

Hi Bharam, thanks so much for your support. Sophie x

Chamunda Devi

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

What special paperwork did you need from the government of India to visit Assam?

Sophie Pearce

Sunday 3rd of November 2019

Hi Chamunda, you don't need a permit to visit Assam. Any one, whether a domestic or foreign tourist is free to roam. Hope this helps, Sophie x

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