Traditional temple

Kamakhya temple buzzes with worshipers during Durga Puja after 2-year gap

Guwahati: Assam is famous Kamakhya Templenestled atop the hills of Nilachal, buzzes with devotees as the full-fledged Durga Puja festivities get under way after a two-year lull.

The hills have remained silent for the past two years as the temple gates were closed to visitors even as all the rituals associated with worshiping the goddess for a fortnight were performed in turn by a select group of priests, a said the president of Kamakhya Devalaya, Kabindra Sarma. PTI.

The Kamakhya Temple, revered as a major seat of Shakti worship, observes the annual Durga Puja rituals, locally known as ‘Pakhuvapuja’, for a fortnight or ‘paksa’ unlike the rest of the country where it is celebrated for 9 to 10 days.

“We are extremely happy that devotees are coming out in large numbers to offer prayers and ask for the blessings of the Goddess after two very difficult years,” he said.

Sarma said devotees come not only from all over the country, but also from neighboring Nepal.

For Aniket Pandey, a final year engineering student, the visit to the temple was highly anticipated.

“I am happy to seek the blessings of the goddess in a year where I am preparing for internships,” he said.

Another devotee, Priyanka Sonowal from Dibrugarh, had been planning a visit to the temple since she got married three years ago, but COVID restrictions proved to be a hindrance.

“My family members and I are on our way to Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir but we wanted to pay our respects to Maa Kamakhya first,” she said.

“Durga Puja is a major temple festival and is believed to date back to ancient times, with the exact date of its onset not clearly established,” Sarma pointed out.

The most notable aspect of the puja is that there is no image of Goddess Durga but rituals are performed in the main ‘pitha’ or sanctum sanctorum.

The Durga Puja in the temple begins on the ninth day of the waning moon or ‘Krsna Navami’ and ends on the ninth day of the crescent moon or ‘Sukla Navami’ of ‘Asvina’, and it usually falls between mid-September in mid-October, says a former Devalaya official.

“The priests perform the rituals early in the morning, fast during the day and cook for themselves only one meal a day in the temple premises, Prosenjit Sarmah, a priest or ‘doloi’,” he said. declared.

“Rituals during the fortnight are observed in three phases – ‘Pratah Puja’ or morning rituals, ‘Madhyahna Puja’ or midday rituals and ‘Sahinna Puja’ or evening rituals – with the temple doors opening for devotees after the morning puja.,” he added.

Other important rituals include the ‘Khadga Puja’ or the worship of the sacrificial knife used for animal sacrifice and the ‘Trishulini Puja’ or the worship of the Trident of Devi.

Sacrificial offerings to the goddess begin with the ‘Saptami Puja’ or seventh day, which falls on Sunday, and continue until ‘Navami’ or a day before the end of the festivities, Sarma said.

Gourds, pumpkins, fish, goats, pigeons and buffaloes are sacrificed before being ceremonially venerated.

In ‘Trisulini Puja’, a life-size human figure made of flour is sacrificed at midnight before the Devi replacing the ancient tradition of human sacrifice during which only the chief priest and the ‘bolikata’ or executioner are present.

Another important ritual is the “Kumari Puja” or the worship of maidens. It starts with worshiping a girl on the first day and the number increases by one with each passing day.

“On the penultimate day of the festivities, the ‘Purnahuti’ or the concluding rite is performed followed by ‘Devimatrika Puja’ which must be completed before midnight and on the last day the rituals end with the ‘Jaya-Vijaya’ and ‘Aparajita ‘pujas,” Sarma added.

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