My first visit to the Kamakhya temple or Kamakshi temple exposed me a little to its history and to its significance.\nEvery year this temple celebrates the Ambubasi Tantric fair in the midst of the monsoons. Tantrics from all over emerge from their seclusion to worship the goddess during this festival. I had made all plans and arrangements to go there. But I couldn\u2019t live that dream. Maybe next year.\nKamakhya Temple in the Nilachal hills in Guwahati is one of the most important centers of Shakti worship in India. But the Kamkhya Temple does not have an idol or image of Shakti or any of her forms like Sati or Kamakya, Durga, Parvati or Kali. What is worshipped is a natural crevice in a rock that symbolizes the \u2018Yoni\u2019 (female genitalia or vagina). The rock cut in the shape of a yoni is surrounded by a pool created by an underground spring or stream.\nKamakhya Temple is one among the 51 Hindu Shakti piths. Legend has it that Lord Shiva was carrying the body of his dead wife Sati around the world. There seemed to be no end to Shiva\u2019s anger and grief. This led to an imbalance in the universe. Finally, Lord Vishnu decided to decimate the body of Sati and her body into 51 pieces. It is believed that \u2018Yoni\u2019 of Sati fell at the spot where the present Kamakhya Temple stands.\nThe sanctum sanctorum of the Kamakhya Temple is in the form of a cave and is reached after passing two chambers.\nOn my last trip, I stood in the queue for awhile, before entering the temple. After seeing the ground level worship area, there are steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum.\nDark- blindingly dark. Narrow. A crowd inching forward on the spiralling stairwell. Silence. Echoes of chants by the priests below. All combine to create a sense of spacelessness. As the steps wind downwards the only guide is the dim light from the fire lamp offering to the non-idol, non-deity, spot which is believed to be the goddess.\nThe most intriguing thing about this temple is the story behind the Ambubasi festival.\nDuring the monsoons, the water in the underground stream turns red.\u00a0 This is believed to be the menstrual blood of the goddess from her annual menstrual cycle. For 3 days the temple remains closed as the Goddess goes through post-menstruation purification rituals.\u00a0 When the temple opens, priests hand out as Prasad \u2013 not coconut or sweets, but bits of damp red cloth that are believed to be the goddess\u2019s blood. Receiving this is considered highly auspicious and powerful, specially by the tantrics.\n*\nAs I travel and experience different life models, I try not to be judgemental and try to see things from the perspectives of the creators of the culture. But in this case I find it hard to do. But I am trying.\nMaybe the reason that my plans to visit the Ambubasi festival did not work out, because I was not ready yet. Because I was not accepting enough. Because I stood among the spectators and judged.\nMaybe by next year I will have worked on my mind sufficiently to empathise and to understand. And to receive the prasad with grace and gratitude.\n*\njm\nAugust 2011\nThe post Dreams I dreamt but did not live : the Ambubasi Tantric Fair appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.