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

kamakhya temple guwahati

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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!

My complete guide for Kaziranga National Park

Jorhat to Majuli Island ferry

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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A complete guide for Hornbill Festival

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My ultimate Tawang travel guide

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

      • Ganga mamgai says:

        Hey Sophie Pearce.. just wanted to update you about Sinu Joseph and her book “Rutuvidya”… do listen to her on YouTube and you will know why women are not allowed in temples while they menstruate.. it’s such lovely information that I bet you will be overwhelmed by the information she shares..??

        • Sophie Pearce says:

          Hi Ganga, sorry for the late reply. I would love to read up on that. It would be an enlightening read. Thank you for the suggestion. Sophie x

  1. Parul Thakur says:

    I really liked your pictures and loved this post. I recently visited the temple and like you enjoyed the experience. I have slightly different take that I am currently penning. Nice to meet you!

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      Thanks so much Parul, really happy that you like the pictures and the post :). Would love to read your take on Kamakhya, will look forward to reading about your visit. Thanks, Sophie x

    • Shayank says:

      Hi Sophie
      You have written it so well. Indeed I’m a native to Assam, I haven’t visited Maa kamakya temple before. But reading your article changed my mind. It’s the supreme feminine power which turned my mind into something very spiritual and emotional. When I first entered the main temple suddenly I could feel something very positive energy surrounding the whole atmosphere. It’s a very unique, interesting and thought provoking experience and adventure too to find wisdom and supernatural ambience. Without women nothing could be created, so it’s our prime and foremost duty to respect them. Maa kamakya temple sets an example to the world. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences to ous

      • Sophie Pearce says:

        Hi Shayak, I’m so happy that my experience encouraged you to visit Kamakhya Temple. It is quite a unique experience but I’m sure you’ll agree it is enlightening and you can feel a presence of energies there. Thanks for reading and letting me know about your visit too, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Sophie x

    • Dharm says:

      Actually I am planning to visit kamakhya during durga puja festival with my older mom and dad.
      Is it crowded during this days?
      Kindly suggest me, can I visit during 2nd October 2019 ?

      • Sophie Pearce says:

        Hi Dharm, that sounds like a lovely trip to visit with your mum and dad. It’s a popular pilgrimage site and sees hundreds of visits every day. I can’t be entirely sure if it would be busier during those times, but my feeling would be that it will be crowded. The temple will be open from 5.30am – 10pm each day and on special occasions like Durga Puja, these are extended to make sure that all pilgrims can visit. The official website https://www.maakamakhya.org/ has lots of details of Darshan and Puja timings. Hope this helps and have a great trip. Thank you. Sophie x

  2. Pawan kripa shanker bhargav says:

    i am from delhi coming on 20 june in kamakhya temple to cover the mela pls i need hotel or room near by temple for 6 days pls cont me 09599603202

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      Hi Pawan, I link to an air BnB that is central that you can book into here. It’s a great place to base yourself for a few days. Thanks, Sophie x

      • Sophie Pearce says:

        Hi Apurva, that’s great! I hope you had an incredible time there. The Kamakhya temple has such a vibe. Thanks for reading, Sophie x

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      Hi Manish, thank you so much for your feedback. I’m happy you enjoyed the post! Enjoy Kamakhya. Sophie x

  3. Sonia says:

    As much as you love goats I hope you are a vegan or atleast a vegetarian, since we are in 21st century and no need to kill animals and feed on there blood and corpse.
    I hated the ritual of sacrifice in this holy place and hope all religious sacrifices be banned and stopped. I believe God is a positive energy and does not require this pain and negativity.

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      I am not a vegetarian and I know how hypocritical I sound feeling sorry for goats getting sacrificed in the temple. But, sacrificing goats for religion and placing their head on the altar isn’t humane in my opinion. I agree with you that religious sacrifice isn’t necessary in the 21st century and shouldn’t be taking place. Hopefully this will stop soon. Sophie x

  4. Shaan saha says:

    Hi! I am shaan from Guwahati. Really felt good that you shared our mother’s temple for the world to see in a very good and elaborate way. I wonder if you were also told the story how the whole pilgrimage was built over a night by a challenge given by sati to Narakasura(Demon) who wished to marry sati, but cheated by the Gods at the end. I hope you visited the “bhubaneshwari” mandir(temple) as well, which is located at the top of kamakhya hill (Nilachal Parvat).That mandir is where female who cant give birth or having problems and men who have problems getting job or success go and pray.

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      Hi Shaan, thank you for reading. That’s great that you’re from Guwahati. No, I haven’t heard that account of the temple! I also did visit most of the temples on the site :) It was one of my favourite spots in Guwahati and I’d love to go back one day. Thanks, Sophie x

    • Sophie Pearce says:

      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

  5. Bharam says:

    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.

  6. shanna says:

    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 says:

      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

  7. Balaji Subramanian says:

    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 says:

      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

  8. Dev says:

    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 says:

      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.

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