One of the best known temple of Guwahati is Kamakhya, situated on
Nilachal Hill, eight km west of the city. This temple honour the Mother
Goddess Kamakhya, the essence of female energy. It is one of the 108 Shakti
Peethas of Goddess Durga. Legend has it that Kamakhya came into existence
when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of his wife Sati, and her "yoni"
(female genitalia) fell to the ground at the spot where the temple now
stands. The temple is a natural cave with a spring. Down a flight of steps
to the bowel of earth, is located a dark, mysterious chamber. Here, draped
with a silk sari and covered with flowers, is kept the "matra yoni".
The Temple was rebuilt in 1665 after being destroyed by Muslim invaders, but its origins are much older than that. It was probably an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, sacrifices are still very much part of worshiping here. Group of devotees arrive each morning with goats to offer to Shakti.
Here, Durga Puja is celebrated annually during Navaratri in the month of September- October. It is a three day festival attracting several visitors. A unique festival observed here is the Ambuvaci (Ameti) fertility festival wherein it is believed that the Goddess (mother Earth) undergoes her menstrual period.