Since the state government is mulling over lockdown-like restrictions in several districts to bring the second wave under total control, security personnel have stepped up vigil along routes leading to the temple. Many sadhus and devotees are camping at the foothills of Kamakhya, even though the temple trust and Kamrup (Metropolitan) district administration have cancelled the Ambubachi mela for the second successive year.
“With a heavy heart, we are appealing to the devotees worldwide to offer their prayers at home. We were compelled to cancel the festivities linked to Ambubachi because of public health concerns,” the Doloi (president of the Kamakhya Temple Trust Board), Mohit Chandra Sarma, told TOI.
The Ambubachi Mahayog started with the temple doors getting closed for the next three days at 2.06 pm on Tuesday with Prabritti. The temple will open again on the morning of June 26 after Nibritti scheduled at 2.29 am in the wee hours. However, devotees won’t be allowed to enter the premises. The shrine will remain closed till June 30.
“The reopening of the temple doors will be symbolic. Devotees and visitors won’t be able to go for darshan for a while,” said Sarma.
Ambubachi is the biggest religious congregation in the northeast where lakhs of devotees, tantriks, sadhus and tourists visit the temple. For the believers of tantrism, it’s a special time for Mantra Siddhi. Ambubachi’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it’s the celebration of the annual menstrual cycle of the presiding goddess. Kamakhya is one of the 51 shakti peethas, where the remains of Sati, the divine consort of Lord Shiva, fell scattered. Legend has it that her yoni (reproductive organs) fell where the temple stands. Ancient Kamrupa and Kamakhya are revered destinations as there are references of these in ancient texts like ‘Yogini Tantra’ and ‘Kalika Puran’.
Brahmacharis, Jatadharis, Bratis and widows go on fast during Ambubachi. They abstain from cooked food. In 2019, nearly 25 lakh people assembled at the temple premises. Usually, devotees from West Bengal and other north and eastern states come here in large numbers. Pandas at the temple have received online orders in bulk for Prasad and Rakta Bastra. These will be sent to them through courier service after Ambubachi gets over.