Kamakhya Temple, Assam, India

According to Hindu legend, when an enraged Shiva dismembered his deceased wife Sati’s body into 108 pieces and scattered them across the land, her yoni (vagina) fell on Kamakhya Hill. This makes Kamakhya Mandir one of the most hallowed shrines for practitioners of shakti (tantric worship of female spiritual power). Goats are ritually beheaded here as offerings to the goddess in a gory pavilion and the hot, dark inner womblike sanctum is painted red to signify sacrificial blood. It is here that the Ambubachi Mela takes place.

Kamakhya is 7km west of central Guwahati and 3km up a spiralling side road. Occasional buses from Guwahati’s Kachari bus stand run all the way up (₹20, 30 minutes).

Visit India Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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