Assam's famed Kamakhya temple gears up for 'Ambubachi mela'
Draped in red and saffron robes, flaunting long untidy hair, beard and some long nails too, these tantriks (magicians) are standing out among the teeming devotees.
They have thronged the famous and ancient 'shakti' shrine, Kamakhya temple, atop Nilachal hill overlooking magnificent Brahmaputra river in Guwahati for annual 'Ambubachi mela' that begins just past midnight on Thursday and will continue till morning of June 26 when the doors of the shrine will be re-opened for 'darshan'.
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Image: A holy man at the Kamakhya temple ahead of the Ambubachi mela'
'Atmosphere of carnival in Kamakhya temple'
One of them, Srikant Baba, while entertaining devotees with his magical tricks, said he comes here every year braving the heat and humidity at this time of the year to pay obeisance to mother goddess Kamakhya.
Image: A devotee paints her face like Maa Kamakhya
'8 lakh devotes made darshan in temple on Ambubachi last year'
Every year lakhs of devotees flock to Kamakhya temple and the historic city of Guwahati, which is described as Pragjyotishpur in ancient literature of Hindu religion.
A temple committee official Naba Kumar Sharma said last year about eight lakh devotees made 'darshan' in the temple on Ambubachi. He said the figure would definitely go up this time when the final count would be made.
With so many devotees gathering in one place, security is of high concern for the administration in the troubled state of Assam. The temple officials informed that 64 CCTV cameras, 500 men in uniform, about 600 volunteers of National Cadet Corps and Scouts & Guides will be deployed in and around the famous shrine.
Image: Devotees throng Kamakhya temple ahead of the Ambubach mela
Terror threat looms large over the festival
Rattled by the recovery of the powerful improvised explosive device in a train in Guwahati railway station on June 17, senior police officials in coordination with Kamakhya Temple management committee has put in place an elaborate security arrangement during the Ambubachi fair.
Image: Heavy security arrangements have been put in place for the occasion
60,000 devotees taking shelter in and around the temple
Guwahati municipal board has made arrangement for round the clock power supply for about 60,000 devotees taking shelter in and around Kamakhya temple under temporary shelters constructed by the administration covering about 60,000 sq ft area.
Image: A devotee taking shelter at the temple premises