View from Nilachal Hills
We really had a very hurried Guwahati trip both the time. We could hardly see anything we desired, though I have taken many pictures but mostly while on the move. Guwahati is one of the most beautiful city I have come across, one side is the mighty Brahmaputra river, other side hillock( Nilachal Hills). It really makes this city beautiful, just take a close view of the picture and judge for yourself.
I can spend hours on just sitting there and watching the beauty!
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Brahmaputra River Cruise
Life in Assam, evolves around The Mighty River Brahmaputra. Guwahati city is very fortunate to have this river flowing along the city. It would be unwise not to explore this river if you are in Guwahati. Guwahati Tourism and other private tour operators offers River Cruise daily during morning and evening. If you are in a large group then it can be organised anytime during the day. The best place to board a cruise is the jetty near Paltan Bazar. Just ask any one, where to board a cruise? The place is on way to the Temple Kamrup Kamakhya.
The Brahmaputra, also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia.
From its origin in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it flows across southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges and into Arunachal Pradesh where it is known as Dihang. It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna (not to be mistaken with Yamuna of India). There it merges with the Ganges to form a vast delta, the Sunderbans. About 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long, the river is an important source for irrigation and transportation. Its upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Yarlung Tsangpo was only established by exploration in 1884-86. This river is often called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra river. The average depth of river is 124 feet (38 m) and maximum depth is 380 feet (120 m). In Bangladesh the river merges with the Ganges and splits into two: the Padma and Meghna River. While most rivers on the Indian subcontinent have female names, this river has a rare male name, as it means "son of Brahma" in Sanskrit (putra means "son").
The Brahmaputra is navigable for most of its length. The lower part reaches are sacred to Hindus. The river is prone to catastrophic flooding in spring when the Himalayan snows melt. It is also one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore.
There are many mythological stories on Brahmaputra. But the most popular and sacred one is about the river's birth in 'Kalika Purana'. It describes how Parashurama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, got rid of his sin of murdering his own mother with an axe (or Parish) by taking bath in this sacred river. On strict order from his father Yamasaki (who had suspected his wife Renuka of adultery), Parashuram had to murder his own mother by severing her head with an axe. As a result of this nefarious act, the axe got stuck to his hand and he was unable to take it off his hand. On advice from sages, he started on a pilgrimage and ultimately reached the place, which is presently known as Parashuram Kunda (about 25 km north of Tezu in Lomita district in Arunachal Pradesh). The story says that the mighty river was then confined to a Kind (or Kunda) or a small lake surrounded by hills. Parashuram cut down the hills on one side to release the sacred water for the benefit of the common people. By this act, Parashuram’s axe came out of his hand to his great relief and he knew that he had been exonerated from his sin.
In another story, Shantanu, a famous ancient sage began a long meditation in an ashram in Kailash Manasaravor area along with his beautiful wife Amodha. Amodha was so beautiful that Lord Brahma himself became enchanted by the beauty of Amodha and requested her to make love with him. But Amodha did not accept the Brahma’s proposal. However, by that time Lord Brahma had become so excited that his semen discharged at that place. When Shantanu came to know about this, he inseminated the Brahma’s semen in the womb of Amodha. Subsequently, Amodha gave birth to a son and he was called Brahmaputra. The tank near the ashram of sage Shantanu is known as the Brahmkund. Another legend is that because Brahmaputra is the largest river in India, it carries a male name. ( info with courtesy Wikipedia)
- Water Sports
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Kamrup Kamakhya Temple-II
This is the holiest Hindu shrines of Mother Goddess Durga as it is believed for centuries that this the place where Mother's Yoni dropped after Lord Vishnu cut Sati's body in 52 pieces, to stop Lord Shiva's dance of Destruction ( Tandava Nritya), which he was doing out of anger after his wife's death( Please read the first tip carefully). This temple is also associated with Tantrik activity and sacrifice( Though it is very less in no. these days).
Visitors to this temple must also observe some do's and don'ts with utmost care. It is expected from you as you are going there to perform Puja.
1. Please observe cleanliness and silence. This Temple is now governed by Assam Govt. trust, so there is no cheating.
2. You must decide, how much money you want to offer to the Temple or the priest, who demand money but do not put pressure to the visitors. It is purely up to you how much you want to give to the priest.
3. There is a ticket counter for entrance starting from Free Entry to the direct entry of Rs.500/- per person. ( Please see picture of the counter). Please decide yourself how much time you have with you for the visit. This you can judge by seeing size of the crowd in the enclosure. The tickets were introduced by the shrine board to stop corruption by the priests and touts, who used to push people inside the temple after taking hefty money, thus creating pandemonium inside the narrow temple.
4. This temple is visited by thousands everyday from different parts of the country and abroad. The temple is built with stone and very narrow with sloping, dark stairs inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. It is necessary to control the crowd inside the temple to ensure safety for all.
5. The inside of Sanctum Sanctorum is air conditioned to control smoke and heat so there is not much problem to wait. Please move slowly and remain in Que always to ensure your safety. Please follow the instructions given by the Shrine Board Guards, who are inside to help you and to ensure safety and extortion by the priests.
6. No water / offering allowed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, your offerings ( Puja basket) will be kept at the 1st. gate. You have to break the coconut outside the Sanctum Sanctorum and collect your basket at the gate.
7. There is space for keeping the shoes and buying the Puja Basket just outside the temple.
8. This is a Shaktipeeth, so there is sacrifice of goats, lambs, Pigeons, in case you don't' like witnessing sacrifice just move away from the place. It is done in one side corner of the temple, but these days it is few in number.
In all this is one of the most professionally managed Hindu Shrines of the country just in the pattern of Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra, Jammu.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Temple of Mother Goddess Kamrup Kamakhya
We visited this temple almost in a hurry while returning from Shillong as we had our flight at 7.20PM, we need to check in at least one hour before that. It is said about this temple, that you can not see mother if she does not want to see you. If you are blesses, you can only visit this temple if she wishes otherwise , you may not be able to enter the temple or see the sanctum sanctorum. The temple is situated about 8/9 KMs from Guwahati city. There is an entry fee if you are in a hurry. Rs. 500/- for direct entry, Rs100/- for preferred entry and free for normal Que. We took the Rs.500/ coupon for direct entry as we had to catch the flight. Normally all the Shakti Pith are highly crowded on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
The Kamakhya Temple is a shakti temple situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya, including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric worshipers.
One of the most persistent mythologies concerning the origin of worship at the site is associated with the myth of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy with his daughter's choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he did not invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fire, knowing that this would make the sacrifice impure. Because she was the all-powerful mother goddess, Sati left her body in that moment to be reborn as the goddess Parvati. Meanwhile, Shiva was striken with grief and rage at the loss of his wife. He put Sati's body over his shoulder and began his tandava (dance of cosmic destruction) throughout the heavens, and vowed not to stop until the body was completely rotted away. The other Gods, afraid of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He dared not come close to the terrible Shiva, so he sent his discus Sudarshana to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of her body fell until Shiva was left without a body to carry. Seeing this, Shiva sat down to do Mahatapasya (great penance). Despite the similarity in name, scholars do not generally believe that this legend gave rise to the practice of sati, or widow burning.
According to various myths and traditions, there are 51 pieces of Sati's body scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These places are called shakti peethas and are dedicated to various powerful goddesses. Kamarupa ("form of desire") is the region in which the yoni ("vulva," "womb," or "source") is said to have fallen to earth, and the Kamakhya temple was said to have been constructed on this spot.
Kamakhya as a goddess likely predates the Sanskritization of Assam. She is likely related to an important goddess of the Khasi, a tribe originally from Assam that retains matriarchal social systems and female dominance. The goddess ka-me-kha was likely Sanskritized and Brahminized to Kamakhya. This origin may survive in local Assamese pronunciation of the goddess's name, which sounds similar to "Ka-ma-kha."
The current temple structure was constructed in 1565 by Chilarai of the Koch dynasty in the style of medieval temples. The form of the earlier structure, destroyed by the Kala Pahar, is unknown. The current structure has a beehive-like shikhara with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside. The temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock. During the Ambuvaci festival each summer,the menstruation of the Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated. During this time, the water in the main shrine runs red with iron oxide resembling menstrual fluid.
It is likely that this is an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, and worshiping here still includes sacrifices. Devotees come every morning with goats to offer to Shakti.
The Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation.Shakti is known as Kamakhya.
According to the Kalika Purana, 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.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Shikhara style dates to the 17th century. Also dedicated to Parvati. Believed to be the place where her dismembered womb fell to earth - hence a fertility cult in Tantrica belief. A goat is slaughtered here every day.
Fancy Bazar area
A visit to Guwahati can hardly be complete without a visit to the great Fancy Bazar of Guwahati, situated opposite to the river Brahmaputra. This is the crowding place of not only trades and customers, but also of those who just want to freak out, date, do window shopping, business, etc. It's the place to bargain for the dresses and you get wonderful dress items at unbeatable prices (imagine a very good jeans pant just for Rs. 300). One also finds the best Assam silk and Muga silk, mekhlas (the traditional dress of Assamese women) here. Believe me, this place is extremely crowded, almost an ocean of people in which you have to successfully swim through (no wonder a 10 meter distance may take you 10 minutes to cross). It's very noisy, very vibrant, and very much the heart of Guwahati. Don't miss. You also get some good restaurants here.
Amphitheatre at Kalakshetra
There is a majestic amphitheatre inside the Kalakshetra in Panjabari in Guwahati. The design of this amphitheatre is based on Rang Ghar concept and is the second one in Assam after the one in Sibsagar of Assam.
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra
For those who are in Guwahati, I would recomment a visit to the Kalakshetra (Arts & Culture place). It is a bit in the outskirts of the city. Auto from anywhere in the city can be taken and it will take about 30 minutes. The place has been developed as signifying and preserving the art and culture of Assam ans Assamese people. It is this place where you find a museum, a stage for enactment of dramas, beautiful green scenary and even an amphitheatre. It was built in the 1990's. The area is called Panjabari. It's aim is to provide a one-stop review of the artistic excellence and cultural heritage of assam
Bhuvaneshwari temple - on top of Neelachala hill
In the Neelachala hill, somewhere in the middle (during upward journey) is situated the Kamakhya temple. However, there are other temples also in this hill and after the Kamakhya temple, perhaps the Bhuvaneswari temple is the most famous. This temple is situated on the top of the hill, unlike the Kamakhya temple which is half way in between. From this temple site, one can have a majestic view of the mighty river Brahmaputra flowing below and also a bird's eye view of Guwahati city. Both the views are truly majestic.
Kamakhya Mandir on the hill top 2
In the temple sacrifices are still very much part of worship. Groups of devotees often come with goats to offer to Shakti. All those who buy vehicles (both private and commercial) belive that a puja has to be offered to goddess Kamakhya here before formally inaugurating the vehicle. So they offer coconuts along with flowers and other puja materials to the goddess and after the coconut is offered to the goddess and then returned as Prasad, the same is broken on a stone in front of the vehicle being inaugurated and the water is sprinkled on the vehicle as blessings of the goddess.
The Kamakhya Temple a shikhara (pointed dome) much like a beehive. There are images of Gods and goddesses like Ganesha, Chamundeswari etc in dancing poses, sculptured on it. The temple is a natural cave and also has a spring.
In this hill there is a group of ancient temples and the most famous is the Kamakhya temple. Other temples on the Neelachala hill include those of Tara, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneswari and Ghantakarna. This temple is considered as the greatest of all the Shaktipithas in India. Around this shrine the small township of Kamakhya has sprung up. Kamakhya is known for its rare natural beauty and one can enjoy an arial view of the city of Guwahati and the mighty river Brahmaputra flowing below.
Kamakhya Mandir on the hill top
Kamakhya temple is one of the Shakti Peeths and is therefore a pilgrimage centre for Hindus. People from all over India come to visit this temple. This temple is located on the top of a hill called the Neelachala Parvat (Neelachala Hill) also known as Kamagiri (about 160 meters high). It is said that Goddess Shakti resides on the Kamagiri hill and she is known as Kamakhya, the granter of desires.
It is not known how old exactly the temple is but no doubt it is a very ancient one. This temple was destroyed in early 16th century by Muslim invaders, and then rebuilt in the 17th century by King Nara Narayana, of Cooch Bihar (Then part of Assam). Inside the temple, there are images of the builder. In the Kalika Purana, an ancient Hindu mythological work in Sanskrit language Goddess Kamakhya has been described as the yielder of all desires and the giver of salvation. She is the young bride of Lord Shiva. There is no image of Shakti inside the temple. Within a corner of a cave in the temple, there is a sculptured image of the Goddess, which is worshipped by the devotees. A natural spring keeps the stone wet and moist.
Origin related to the Vaishnava Movement of Orissa. Temple dates to the 16th century. Contains the 10 avatars of Vishnu. Located on Manikoota Parvat (hill). Sacred to both Buddists and Hindus.