Considered as one of the strongest of all the 51 Shakti Peethas dedicated to Goddess Sati in the Indian subcontinent, the Kamakhya Temple, nestled atop Guwahati’s Nilachal hills, becomes a photographer’s paradise during the annual Ambubachi Mela.
This year, the religious congregation is being held from June 22 to 26. Over 25 lakh devotees from different parts of India and across the world are expected to set foot at the holy shrine during the four-day event.
During those four days, the doors of the temple remain closed from 1.40 am on June 22 to 6 am on June 26 as the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, is believed to undergo her annual cycle of menstruation.
A VibesMojo team undertook a journey to the shrine to capture the festival in all its grandeur and beauty.
As we started our walk from the Kamakhya bus stop to the temple atop the Nilachal Hills, we were greeted with children dressed in bright garments portraying themselves as goddess Kamakhya.
Little did we know that they would demand us money for the photo too.
The scorching heat, the scalding pavements and the long lines nearly broke our spirit. However, as we saw the gate of the temple and the number of people milling to have at least one glimpse of the Devi, our ‘Shakti’ was revived.
Inside the premises, there was a flurry of activity. People scurrying around to pay their respects, uniformed officers trying hard to maintain the decorum, members of the press interviewing devotees, some dancing, some resting, and some saints sitting patiently and at times even posing for pictures.
It’s still not clear how the sadhus can actually sit so patiently for long hours and yet look fresh and seemingly unresponsive to the scalding stones that they sit upon.
People waiting for their turn to witness the goddess in queues in the small and congested corridors is enough to forego our complaints of the extreme weather.
At last, as we clambered down the hill, we saw many street vendors selling their wares and as we went on with our shutter, a women vendor asked: “Yeh kaha jayega (Where will the photograph go?)”. We felt short of words to explain the meaning of a digital media platform to her.