Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Festivals in news: Ambubachi Mela

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ambubachi Mela

Mains level : NA

The Ambubachi Mela at Guwahati’s Kamakhya Temple has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Many festivals this year have been cancelled for the first time in their recorded history. Few of them were – Thrisur Pooram Festival, Pandharpur Jatara and now, the Ambubachi Mela. Do read about the Medaram Jatara (held in February) as well. Take note of each of them and their speciality along with the respective state of celebration.

Ambubachi Mela

  • Ambubachi Mela, a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati has begun.
  • Legends say the temple atop the Nilachal Hills, whose northern face slopes down to the Brahmaputra River, was built by the demon king Narakasura.
  • But records are available only from 1565 when Koch king Naranarayana had the temple rebuilt.
  • Kamakhya is one of 51 shaktipeeths or holy sites for the followers of the Shakti cult, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.
  • The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the yoni – female genital – symbolised by a rock.

Significance

  • Temple priests said the ritualistic fair celebrating the Goddess’ period is one of the reasons why taboo associated with menstruation is less in Assam compared to other parts of India.
  • The attainment of womanhood of girls in Assam is celebrated with a ritual called Tuloni Biya, meaning small wedding.

Similar place

  • A similar custom is followed at the Devi Temple at Chengannur town in Alleppey district of Kerala.
  • The temple is shut for the days the Goddess there is believed to undergo her period.
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