Kamakhya Temple

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The Kamakhya Temple is a Sakta temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. 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 the ten Mahavidyas of Saktism, namely, Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika. Among these, Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples. It is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and especially for Tantric worshipers.


  • The Kamakhya temple was destroyed in 1553 cE by the iconoclast Kala Pahar. He was said to have been a Brahmin, named Rajiv Lochan Roy (other accounts described him as an Afghan). He was ostracized from his community following his marriage to the daughter of Sultan Sulaiman Karrani of Bengal (r. 1565-1572). After the marriage Rajiv Lochan Roy wanted to live as a Brahmana and went to Puri, perhaps to undergo a purificatory ceremony. The Brahmins there refused to accept him, whereupon he became a staunch Muslim and took the name Kala Pahar. He resolved to avenge his humiliation by destroying Hindu temples. He invaded Kamarupa and sacked the Kamakhya temple, the ruins of which were scattered all over the hill. [Some scholars, however, attribute the destruction of the temple to the invasion of Hussein Shah in 1498].
    • Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.229ff quoting (Barua and Murthy 1988: 32; Bhuyan and Nayak 2010: 17), (Ramasso 2010: 162-163)
  • The present Kamakhya temple was built in 1565 cz, by Naranarayan, one of the illustrious kings of the Koc kingdom. The reconstruction seemed to have been done over the ground plan of the earlier temple... An inscription on a stone tablet in the temple stated,
    Glory to King Malla Deva (Naranarayan), who by virtue of his mercy, is kind to the people, who in archery is like Arjuna, and in charity like Dadhichi and Karna; he is like an ocean of all goodness; and is versed in many Sastras; his character is excellent; in beauty he is as bright as Kandarpa, he is a worshipper of Kamakhya. His younger brother, Sukladev (Chila Rai) built this temple of bright stones on the Nila hillock, for the worship of the Goddess Durga in 1487 Saka (1565 A.D.). His beloved brother, Sukladhvaj, again, with universal fame, the crown of the greatest heroes, who, like the fabulous Kalpataru, gave all that was devoutly asked of him, the chief of all devotees of the Goddess, constructed this beautiful temple with heaps of stones on the Nila hill in 1487 Saka (1565 CE) (Gait 1906: 57; Barua Bahadur 1933: 299-300).
    • Inscription on a stone tablet in the temple quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.229ff

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