The Ambubachi Mela is an annual Mela held at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam. This four-day festival is celebrated during the Assamese month of Ahaar (mid-June). The Maa Kamakhya Devi temple is one of Assam’s most well-known temples, and Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped here. It is believed that this festival is celebrated to mark the yearly menstruation course of Goddess Kamakhya.
The Ambubachi Mela 2021 starts on June 22, 2021 and ends on June 26, 2021. This year, however, the mela has been cancelled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this festival is one of the most sacred and greatest festivals celebrated all over Assam.
The belief system of the festival:
The traditional belief associated with it is that our sacred Mother Earth is also like a fertile woman. The great Maa Kamakhya Ambubachi Mela celebrates the annual menstrual cycle of Maa Kamakhya. Goddess Shakti goes through the menstrual phases during the days when the mela is celebrated and hence the temple is closed for the pilgrims for three days. Post this, various rituals are performed for hours to make sure that the Goddess retrieve her piousness.
The other names of the festival:
The spiritual Ambubachi Mela is also known as Ameti or Tantric Fertility Festival. Tantrics or religious priests across the country assemble in massive numbers to worship Goddess Kamakhya.
During the Ambubachi mela, the temple remains closed for three days and during these three days, there are certain restrictions that the devotes come across like not worshipping, no reading holy books etc. After three days, the temple doors are reopened, and the devotees are allowed to enter the temple. Devotees then visit to seek the blessings of the Goddess, and Prasad is distributed among them.
The concept of Rakta Bastra:
Many devotees from across the world come to visit the temple, seek the Goddess’s blessings and receive the special ‘Rakta Bastra’ as Maa Kamakhya’s blessing. The religious priests perform grand worship during this mela. Several pilgrims ranging from ordinary people to the Sadhus come to attend this festival.
The ‘Prasad’ of Maa Kamakhya:
During the fourth day, prasad or the sacred food is distributed after seeking Maa Kamakhya’s blessing which is considered very special. It is distributed in two different forms- ‘Angodak’ and ‘Angabastra’. The meaning of the word ‘Angodak’ is the fluid part of the body. This refers to the ‘Water from the spring.’ And the word ‘Angabastra’ means the cloth covering the body. This refers to a piece of red cloth used to cover the yoni-shaped stone during the menstrual cycle of the Goddess.