The Ambubachi Mela is a mela held at the Kamakhya temple located in Guwahati, Assam. This annual mela is held during the monsoon season that falls in the month of Ahaar according to the Assamese calendar. This happens around mid-June when it is said that the sun transits to the Mithuna zodiac and the Brahmaputra River is in spate. The festival of Ambubachi Mela is held every year to celebrate the menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya that happens once a year. Devotees believe that Devi Kamakhya, who is the presiding Goddess in the temple, goes through her annual menstruation cycle around this time.
Ambubachi Mela Belief
Devotees believe that when they worship Goddess Kamakhya during this time, they nurturing and the creating power of Mother Earth’s menses become accessible to them. They believe that it happens at the site of the mela itself. Although there is no idol of Goddess Kamakhya, she is worshipped in the form of a yoni stone and natural spring water flows over it.
This mela is also called the Tantric fertility festival or Ameti. This is because this festival is very closely associated with the Tantric Shakti cult that is seen in Eastern India. People will even see a few of these Tantric babas make an appearance during the four days of the mela. When the mela is done, the babas go into seclusion for the rest of the year. Some of the babas even show their psychic powers by standing on their heads that are in a pit or by standing on one leg for hours.
Ambubachi Mela Festivity
When the Ambubachi Mela happens, the temple stays shut for three days. This is because it is believed that for three days Mother Earth is unclean. This is in keeping with the seclusion of women during their traditional menstruation cycle. During these three days, devotees even stay away from certain things like performing puja, cooking and even not reading holy books as well during this time. Some devotees even stay away from farming during these three days. Once the three days are completed, Goddess Kamakhya is bathed and then a number of rituals are performed. This is done to ensure that the devi’s purity is retrieved. Once this is done, the temple doors are opened and then prasad is distributed to all the devotees.
When the festival enters the fourth day, all devotees are allowed to enter the temple and worship Goddess Kamakhta. Prasad is distributed to all in two forms. One is Angabastra and the other Angodak. Angabastra means cloth covering the body which is a piece of red cloth that is used to cover the stone during the menstruation days. Angodak represents the fluid part of the body and is the water from the spring.
Lakhs of pilgrims come to Guwahati from all over India to celebrate this festival. These include householders and even sadhus. Even foreigners come from all over the world to seek blessings of Goddess Kamakhya.