Ambubachi Mela

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Context:

  • Ambubachi Mela is a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple, centre for Tantra worship.
  • Kamakhya, atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati, is one of 51 shaktipeeths or seat of Shakti followers, each representing a body part of Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.

Tuloni Biya:

  • The ritualistic fair celebrating the goddess’ period is one of the reasons why the 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.
  • Ambubachi Mela is also an occasion to promote awareness on menstrual hygiene.

About Kamakhya Temple:

  • Kamakhya Temple denotes the spot where Sati used to retire in secret to satisfy her amour with Shiva, and it was also the place where her yoni fell after Shiva danced with the corpse of Sati.
  • The only ones that avoid the temple are the descendants of the medieval Koch royalty, who had reconstructed 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.
  • There are legends about the goddess dancing when Kendukoli, a priest during Naranarayan’s reign, performed puja with his eyes shut.
  • Naranarayan and Chilarai convinced the priest to allow them to watch the goddess’s dance.
  • Incensed, the goddess punished the priest besides cursing the duo and their descendants with doom if they visited the Kamakhya temple ever.

Source:TH