Devotees take part in annual Kamakhya Temple festival
Devotees from various parts of the country thronged the Kamakhya Temple in Assam to witness the three-day Deodhani Dance Festival.
The Deodhani Dance Festival is held to worship the Hindu snake goddess Mansa, during which goats and pigeons are sacrificed.
The Deodhani Dance is a semi-classical dance form, which is common across the southwest Kamrup and Mangaidoi parts of Assam.
Before participating in the festival, devotees go through a month-long preparatory phase, during which they are not permitted to meet their families and have to stay within the temple premises with a photograph of the deity they want to represent. They also seek knowledge from their religious mentors during this period.
It is believed that the Hindu goddess possesses a devotee's body during the festival to dance.
"In golden era, the mother goddess herself performed this Deodhani Dance. But those days are gone now, as the dark age has arrived. The mother goddess is submissive now, and now through people the goddess dances. Each dancer depicts different forms of the goddess. If one is Kali, the dance will show aggression, if it is Mansa, the snake dance will be performed," said an organiser of the festival, Nandalal Sharma.
As per Hindu mythology, one's wishes come true if they wish for something special during the festival.
"I get a lot of peace after coming here and my wishes get fulfilled. I am also a priest and I am coming here since past seven-eight years. I come here during Ambuvachi and during this occasion. The main reason of coming here is to visit the temple, worship the goddess and get your wishes fulfilled," said a visitor from Uttar Pradesh, Dipu Pathak.
It is believed that taking part in this festival bestows the dancers with powers from the Goddess Kamakhya. The temple situated atop the Nilachal Hills, and is dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya, the consort of Lord Shiva.
This dance fest, where participants go into trance mode, attracts visitors as their performances seem very unusual and at times scary too, with painted faces, holding of swords and spears in their hands.
(Posted on 20-08-2014)