“The universe loves irony more than it loves futility.” While we try everything in our power to not talk about anything that is even closely related to feminine hygiene or periods, there is a whole temple dedicated to the goddess of desire, Kamakhya Devi in Guwahati, Assam that does not even have any idols just a yoni i.e vagina that is worshipped. It is said that Lord Shiva picked up Goddess Sati’s body and performed Rudra’sTandav to express his grief and anger which caused a lot of destruction. This led to Lord Vishnu intervening. His Sudarshan Chakra divided Sati’s body into 108 parts. The place where her womb and vagina fell, that’s where Kamakhya Devi temple is located.
The temple celebrates menstruation and fertility. It is said that Sati is menstruating when the Brahmaputra River turns red This water is also given to the devotees in the form of Prasad. The temple is closed for three days and the sanctum sanctorum is covered with a red cloth. There is a Mela (Carnival) called Ambubachi Mela which celebrates the goddess’ menstruation and fertility. A lot of childless couples visit the Mela in order to get blessed and try their luck. On the fourth day, the women go into the temple, bathe the goddess and change her clothes, before the temple is opened again to the devotees. The discarded cloth is given as a blessing to them.
What’s really ironic here is that a temple where fertility and menstruation is celebrated, women aren’t allowed inside when they are menstruating. Although there is no formal code that women can’t enter on their periods, still just like any other temple, they aren’t allowed in? As much as we appreciate this celebration of femininity, menstruation and the goddess of desire, we just can’t wrap our head around the fact that the thought process is still the same about menstruation here. But we strongly believe that this temple is a living breathing ode to womanhood and makes us feel very empowered as women to celebrate our bodies and the wonders it performs.