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In the third month of every Assamese year the festival of Ambubachi is held at Kamakhya Temple. It is believed to be the period of Devi’s menstruation. During these days the main temple remains closed. Thousands of Sadhus, Sanyasis and devotees from all over India come to visit the main pitha here on the day, Ambubachi ends. During the festival a big fair is held. Pieces of red cloth, kept in the pitha, symbolizing the clothes worn by the Devi during menstruation are accepted as blessings by the visitors with great devotion. They believe that such a piece of cloth brings good fortune to the family. It is a tantric belief. Thus Ambubachi assimilating the Tantric cult with the primitive fertility cult is a unique festival. The especial puja held in the Kamakhya temple is the ‘Kumari Puja’. The girls who are in the age group of six to ten and have not attained puberty are regarded as kumaries. Worshipped since pre-historic ages, the Austric goddess Kamakhya’s form was that of the Mother Goddess. In the age of the Tantras that form changed into the form of a kumari. The Devi is ‘kamada’- she is benevolent, she fulfils the devotee’s desire.

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Bijit Dutta

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