NATIONAL

Kamakhya temple festival called off

With the lockdown, the annual festival at the Kamakhya temple here has been cancelled for the first time in its recorded history.

Legends say the temple atop the Nilachal Hills, whose northern face slopes down to the Brahmaputra river, was built by the demon king Narakasura. Records are available only from 1565 when Koch King Naranarayana had the temple rebuilt.

Kamakhya is one of the 51 shaktipeeths, or holy sites, for the followers of the Shakti cult, each representing a body part of Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the yoni — female genitals — symbolised by a rock. The festival marks the menstruation of the goddess

“Tough times call for tough decisions. With a heavy heart, we have decided not to organise the annual Ambubachi Mela in view of the possibility of the spread of COVID-19 infection,” Kabindra Sarma, a senior temple priest said on Thursday.

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