As if surviving the discomfort of your monthly period wasn’t hard enough, society throws in your face a number of taboos. This is why you might be surprised to know that the Ambubachi Mela, Assam celebrates the yearly menstrual cycle of Goddess Kamakhya with great fervour! As many as 10 lakh pilgrims are expected this year at the Mela from June 22 to 26.
The Ambubachi Mela is organised at the famous Kamakhya Temple which is said to be the ‘birthplace of Earth’. Goddess Kamakhya is considered to be the embodiment of desire and fertility, her temple frequented by pilgrims all through the year. In fact, it is also one of the oldest “shakti peethas” or religious sites in India. What’s intriguing is that in a country where many still shy away from the subject of menstruation and consider women “unclean” during their monthly cycle, this festival almost seems an aberration.
5 Fascinating Facts About Ambubachi Mela, Assam
- The menstrual cycle of the Goddess is said to last three days. These are the days when the temple remains closed to visitors and devotees refrain from worshipping. The four-day Mela commences after the yearly menstruation is deemed to be over.
- You’ll see an overdose of the colour red at the Ambubachi Mela. Symbolic of the menstrual blood the Goddess has shed, devotees figuratively paint the town red and chant “Mother Earth is menstruating”.
- Guess what you get for prasad? Small bits of red cloth said to be moist with the menstrual fluid of Goddess Kamakhya! This is considered highly auspicious and is sought after by the hordes of devotees queuing up at the temple.
- The Mela is held annually during the monsoons for a reason. “Ambubachi” in Sanskrit means “issuing forth of water or ambu”. It is believed that the nurturing power of Mother Earth’s menses will improve the fertility of land. This ties in with the onset of monsoon in the region.
- The Mela is considered the perfect time for “tantrik” cults who endeavour to gain powers by observing tough penances to please the Goddess. Sadhus and tantriks flock in from countries across the globe!
Fascinating? Ambubachi Mela can be an offbeat but inspiring getaway for you this June. The temple is situated close to Guwahati city in Assam – accessible by air as well train. Also, the state government ensures a smooth transport and stay arrangement so devotees can make the most of their time. Go ahead and experience the Ambubachi mood that celebrates an often silenced aspect of womanhood!