Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya Temple, Assam About the temple: The Kamakhya Devi Temple is a Hindu temple which is purely dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya Mata. It is one of the oldest 51 Shakti Pithas. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and especially for Tantric worshipers. A scholarly study of the Kamakhya Temple was authored by Kali Prasad Goswami. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Sodashi, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala. The temple is an architectural beauty in itself. The earliest historical dynasty of Kamarupa, the Varmans (350-650), as well as Xuanzang, a 7th-century Chinese traveler ignore the Kamakhya; and it is assumed that the worship at least till that period was Kirata-based beyond the brahminical ambit. The first epigraphic notice of Kamakhya is found in the 9th-century Tezpur plates of Vanamalavarmadeva of the Mlechchha dynasty.Since the archaeological evidence to points to a massive 8th-9th-century temple, it can be safely assumed that the earliest temples were constructed during the Mlechchha dynasty. From the moldings of the plinth and the bandana, the original temple was clearly of Nagara type, possibly of the Malava style. The later Palas of Kamarupa kings, from Indra Pala to Dharma Pala, were followers of the Tantrik tenet and about that period Kamakhya had become an important seat of Tantrikism. The Kalika Purana (10th century) was composed and Kamakhya soon became a renowned centre of Tantrik sacrifices, mysticism and sorcery. Mystic Buddhism, known as Vajrayana and popularly called the "Sahajia cult", too rose in prominence Kamarupa in the tenth century. It is found from Tibetan records that some of the eminent Buddhist professors in Tibet, of the tenth and the eleventh centuries, hailed from Kamarupa. The Kalika Purana gives the Sanskritized names of most of the rivers and hills of Brahmaputra valley. It gives a full account of the Naraka legend, the physical description of the land and the old city of Pragjyotishpura as well as the special merit and sanctity of the Kamakhya Temple.