Ambubachi Mela 2011 in Guwahati - Dates, Timings & Significance of the Annual Festival | Assam Journal

Ambubachi Mela 2011 in Guwahati - Dates, Timings & Significance of the Annual Festival

Ambubachi Mela 2011 in Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati (Assam) is about to begin and thousands of pilgrims and Sadhus from various places in India as well as from abroad has arrived in large numbers to be a part of this festival. Also known by the name of Tantric Fertility Festival or Ameti, Ambubachi Mela is generally observed during the monsoon seasons in June or what can be described as the 'Ahaar' month according to the regional Assamese Calendar.

Image Credit: Assam Tribune

What is Ambubachi Mela & what is its significance?

To put in simple words, the Ambubachi Mela is believed to be the period when the Goddess Kamakhya or Mother Shakti goes through the annual menstrual period or cycle and as such the doors of the temples usually remains closed during the first three days of celebration. Along with it, various other religious activities are put on hold including the cultivations of farmers until the fourth day when purity of Devi Kamakhya is being restored through a bath which is ritually performed along with other ceremonies. This is followed by the distribution of Prasads among the devotees which generally includes Angadhak - a white fluid or sacred water and also bits of red cloth which is known as Angabastra. During the whole time, the temples are thronged heavily by devotees and pilgrims who visits there to celebrate the mela and worship Mother Shakti and seek her blessings. Usually, Sadhus are the most populated section of the people in Ambubachi Mela who turns up with different looks and appearances some of whom are famous for their long beards and hair locks. The environment atop the Nilachal Hill where the great Kamakhya Temple is located is filled with bright colors and never-ending music being produced by the syncretic religious sect called the Bauls and the Ascetics commonly known as the holy Sadhus.

Important Dates & Timings of Ambubachi Mela 2011

Ambubachi Mela will begin from Wednesday i.e. 22nd June 2011 from 30 seconds passed 11.59 p.m. which will mark the start of 'Ambubachi Prabritti' when the doors of the temples will be closed for three days. The Nibritti will be held on 26th June 2011 at 12 hour 23 minutes and 10 seconds local time which happens to be on Sunday. After the regular rituals, the ceremonial opening of the doors will be done to allow the devotees to worship Goddess Kamakhya.

In this year, the estimated number of people expected to participate in the Ambubachi Mela in Kamakhya Temple atop Nilachal Hill is 16 lacs as opposed to 14 lacs last year. Pilgrims from all across the globe has already arrived in the temple which includes devotees and ascetics from United States, Italy, France, England, Germany and many other countries. In India, the Bengali people from West Bengal are seen to be in majority along with other peoples from different states as well as local people of Assam. High levels of security arrangements have been made to ensure the peaceful commencement of the festival and various measures like CCTV, Metal Detectors, NCC, Scouts and security officers are deployed. A Disaster Management plan has also been drawn by the authorities and all other provisions such as supply of 24 hours of drinking water, traffic management and other aspects have been taken care of.