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GUWAHATI CITY

Situated on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra, at an altitude of 55 metersabove sea level, Guwahati is the junction of three important roads, National Highways 31, 37 and 40. It is split into two parts by the river Brahmaputra and North Guwahati. The nearest important city is Calcutta (1182 km), while the capitals of the other northeastern states are at distances varying from 110 km to 650 km. The city experiences an annual rainfall of 180 cm (from May to September). While summer temperatures range from 22 to 38C, in winters the mercury ranges from 10 to 25C. The best time to visit this cosmopolitan city is from October to April.

KAMAKHYA TEMPLE

Over the centuries, Kamrup Kamakhya has been the seat of the powerful tantrik cult in India. Situated atop the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, it is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of the country. Rising to a modest height of 562 feet above the mighty river Brahmaputra, the hill on which the temple stands commands a magnificent view of the entire city. Several smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Kala Bhairava, Shiva and other Hindu deities are also located in its vicinity. Legends says that Kamakhya came into existence after the female genitalia of Sati, the Great Mother Goddess, fell when Vishnu started dismembering her body to force her inconsolable husband, Shiva, into performing his divine duties again.

Legend has it that King Daksha had organized a sacrificial rite, to which he invited all the deities except Shiva. In fact, Daksha had done it deliberately to insult Shiva. Sati, being the daughter of Daksha, came uninvited. During the ceremony, Daksha began to speak ill of Shiva. Unable to bear the insults heaped on her husband, Sati immolated herself. The meditation of Shiva, who is omnipresent, was disturbed. Furious, he descended on Daksha and his kinsmen and destroyed them. With the dead body of his beloved Sati on his shoulders, he started the dance of destruction (Tandava). In his attempt to calm down Shiva and save the world from ruin, Vishnu sent forth his chakra to cut Sati's dead body. The reproductive organ of Sati, the yoni, fell at the spot where the temple of Kamakhya stands today.

When the yoni of Sati fell on the hill, where the temple stands, the hill turned blue and came to be known as Nilachal (blue mountain). Narakasur, the demon king, gave the name of the place Kamrup Kamakhya. He made Kamakhya his patron deity. Kamdev, the God of Love, with the help of the celestial architect Vishwakarma, built the original temple.

Tradition has it that once in every year, the spring waters at Kamakhya turn red and the temple remains brought from near and afar by devotees are soaked in the waters and distributed as prasad (offering).
 
 
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