Ambubachi Mela is an annual Hindu mela held in temple named Kamakhya Devi temple (a Hindu temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya) situated at Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Assam. It is the celebration of the yearly menstruation course of Devi Kamakhya. Significantly, Ambubachi Mela is also called as the celebration of the menstruation of Mother Earth.
The yearly mela fall during the Assamese month Ahaar, around the middle of June and thus the mela is celebrated during the monsoon season. This year the Ambubachi Mela falls on 22nd June to 26th June 2019. Devotees of the Goddess Kamakhya from across the world, mostly from various parts of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh come to attend the Ambubachi Mela and seek blessings of the Goddess.
Many fascinating mystical facts and some stories surround the Ambubachi Mela. So let’s look at 10 of them and the significance of this festival:
1. The mela is also known as Ameti or Tantric fertility festival.
This is because it is closely associated to Tantric Shakti cult which is prevalent in eastern parts of India.
2. It is believed that during the monsoon rains, the creative and nurturing power of the ‘menses’ of Mother Earth becomes accessible to devotees at this site during Ambubachi Mela.
3. Goddess Kamakhya is worshiped in the form of a yoni-like stone and over it a natural spring flows, which keeps the stone moist all the time.
4. Some Tantric Babas who remain in seclusion during the rest of the year makes their public appearances during the four days of the festival. At this time, some babas are even seen displaying their psychic powers like putting their heads in a pit and stand upright on it, standing on one leg for hours at a stretch.
5. All the temples in the region remain closed for three days during Ambubachi mela. Since it is believed that the mother earth herself menstruates during this time. During these three days, the devotees observe some restrictions such as not cooking, not reading holy books, no farming, etc.
6. The devotees are allowed inside the temple only during the fourth day and they worship the presiding Goddess on the fourth day, seeking blessings and receive Prasad.
7. The Prasad is distributed in 2 forms: Angodak and Angabastra.
Angodak literally means the fluid part of the body – water from the spring.
Angabastra literally means the cloth covering the body – a piece of the red cloth famously used to cover the stone yoni during the days of menstruation. It is known that the devotees plead to receive the angabastra (also called rakta bastra), the red silk “blood cloth” upon which the goddess is said to sit during her menses.
8. Around 20 to 25 Lakh devotees are known to attend the festival, making the festival the largest religious congregation in the state.