Ambubachi Mela starts at Kamakhya temple from today

Over 25 lakh pilgrims are expected to turn up over a period of one week in Guwahati for the four-day annual Ambubachi Mela in the Kamakhya Temple which starts from Wednesday, June 22.

Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of India have already started pouring in. The authorities have already setting up five large camps apart from several temporary shelters in the Nilachal foothills. “We are expecting over 25 lakh footfalls, and thus have drawn up a foolproof plan to help the temple authorities organize the mela in the most flawless manner,” Kamrup (Metro) deputy commissioner M Angamuthu said.

The Guwahati Police said that a security plan has also been put in place to ensure that no untoward incidents take place during the mela. Over 300 CCTV cameras have been installed on the mela premises, including at the Kamakhya Temple and at all the camps. The security plan includes road patrolling, river patrolling and air surveillance.

The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) will provide 80 new buses to carry pilgrims up to Kamakhya Dham during Ambubachi Mela every day from June 21 to June 26 from different pilgrim camps.

Devotees march to the Kamakhya Temple during the Ambubachi Mela

Doctors and paramedics have been deputed in each camp and toilets and bathrooms have been constructed by the Public Health and Engineering department for devotees.

Temple timings: Doors of the Kamakhya temple was closed for the devotees from 7.02 am on Wednesday with the beginning of the festival. The ritual for closing the doors is called prabriti. As part of the nibhriti ritual, doors would be opened at 7.26 pm on June 25. Devotees would be able to get darshan from 7 am on June 26.

The Ambubachi Mela is said to be a festival coinciding with the four-day annual holy cycle that Kamakhya – the Mother Goddess in this temple who also represents the goddess of procreation and fertility – undergoes generally in the fourth week of June. While the temple door remains shut for four days marking the annual holy cycle of the ruling deity, pilgrims wait in serpentine queues for a one-minute entry into the sanctum sanctorum on the fifth day.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited the Kamakhya Temple before the Ambubachi Mela

Though dedicated to Devi or the Mother Goddess, Kamakhya Temple does not have any statue or iconographic representation of the ruling deity. Instead, there is a yoni – a female genital – on a rock inside the sanctum sanctorum, on which prayers and offerings are made by the priests and pilgrims.

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