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Assam's famed Kamakhya temple gears up for 'Ambubachi mela'

Last updated on: June 23, 2011 14:55 IST

Assam's famed Kamakhya temple gears up for 'Ambubachi mela'

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K Anurag in Guwahati

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'

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'Atmosphere of carnival in Kamakhya temple'

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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.

As per the mythology Ambubachi is the period when the presiding deity Goddess Kamakhya is believed to be having menstrual period during these three days. An atmosphere of a carnival has descended in Kamakhya temple in presence of such a huge gathering of pilgrims.

Image: A devotee paints her face like Maa Kamakhya

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'8 lakh devotes made darshan in temple on Ambubachi last year'

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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

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Terror threat looms large over the festival

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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.

Assam state electricity board has arranged for uninterrupted power supply during the fair for the sake of security and convenience of the devotees. Notwithstanding that many parts of the power-starved state have to reel under acute power shortage during this sweltering June heat.

Image: Heavy security arrangements have been put in place for the occasion

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60,000 devotees taking shelter in and around the temple

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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.

A large number of devotees are taking shelter in rented premises available in neighbouring areas as well as in private residences of temple priests during Ambubachi while numerous non government organisations have also provided shelter and food to a large number of devotees in various corners of the city.

Image: A devotee taking shelter at the temple premises

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