Mains Paper 1: Arts and Culture | Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Ambubachi Mela and some terminologies used in the newscard
Mains level: Popular culture symbolizing awareness about menstrual health
Four-day Ambubachi Mela begins in Guwahati
- Ambubachi Mela, a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati has begun.
- Ambubachi Mela is also an occasion to promote awareness on menstrual hygiene.
- Priests at the temple said doors of the temple were shut for visitors at 4 p.m. to let the goddess go through her period.
About Kamakhya Temple
- Kamakhya, atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati, is one of 51 shaktipeeths or seat of Shakti followers, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.
- The temple’s sanctum sanctorum (garbhgriha) houses the yoni — female genital — symbolized by a rock.
Menstruation – a celebration in Assam
- The ritualistic fair celebrating the goddess’ period is one of the reasons why the taboo associated with menstruation is less in Assam compared with other parts of India.
- The attainment of womanhood of girls in Assam is celebrated with a ritual called ‘Tuloni Biya’, meaning small wedding.
- The only ones that avoid the temple are the descendants of the medieval Koch royalty, who had reconstructed the Kamakhya temple in 1565.
- This is because the goddess is believed to have cursed the royalty after the king and his brother Chilarai — one of Assam’s revered generals — had secretly watched her dance.
- Researchers said there are legends about the goddess dancing when Kendukoli, a priest during Naranarayan’s reign, performed puja with his eyes shut.