One of the most persistent mythologies concerning the origin of worship at the site is associated with the myth of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy with his daughter's choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he did not invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fire, knowing that this would make the sacrifice impure. Because she was the all-powerful mother goddess, Sati left her body in that moment to be reborn as the goddess Parvati. Meanwhile, Shiva was striken with grief and rage at the loss of his wife. He put Sati's body over his shoulder and began his tandava (dance of cosmic destruction) throughout the heavens, and vowed not to stop until the body was completely rotted away. The other Gods, afraid of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He sent his discus Sudarshana to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of her body fell until Shiva was left without a body to carry. Seeing this, Shiva sat down to do Mahatapasya (great penance). Despite the similarity in name, scholars do not generally believe that this legend gave rise to the practice of sati, or widow burning.
According to various myths and traditions, there are 51 pieces of Sati's body scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These places are called shakti peethas and are dedicated to various powerful goddesses. Kamarupa ("form of desire") is the region in which the yoni ("vulva," "womb," or "source") is said to have fallen to earth, and the Kamakhya temple was said to have been constructed on this spot.
THE LEGEND OF KAMADEVA AND KAMAKHYA TEMPLE
Another tradition has it that the Kamakhya Temple was built by Kamadeva, the God of Love. According to this tradition, when Lord Shiva went into deep meditation upon Sati’s death at the yagna performed by her father Daksha, the Gods grew very worried and anxious about the uncertain future of the world. They came to the conclusion that further creation would only be possible if the divine UNION between the Holy Mother and the Divine Father is made possible once again. In order to bring about this UNION, they sent Kama to shake Lord Shiva out of his Yogic State of trance and thus make him fall for Parvathi, the daughter of Himavan who was the very reincarnation of Sati. Kama let his arrows fly from his bow. They struck Shiva and woke him up from his trance. Furious with the disturbance, Shiva burnt Kamadeva alive with a single glance. Later at the instance of all the Gods, Lord Shiva brought Kama back to life. Unfortunately, Kama lost all his charm and good looks. Lord Shiva however comforted him with these words: “Don’t worry Manmadha. It was all a part of my divine act. You will regain your good looks once you build a temple for my beloved Sati at the spot where her vagina fell.”
The entire Kamakhya Temple Complex also contains other major temples—Temples for Devi, for Kali, for Tara, for Bagala, for Chinnamasta, for Bhuvanesvari, for Bhairavi and for Dhumavati, for Sitala, for Lalita Kanta, for Jaya Durga, for Vana Durga, for Rajarajesvari, for Smasanakali and for Sankhesvari.
Likewise there are five temples of Lord Shiva in the Kamakhya complex depicting different forms of Lord Shiva---- Kamesvara (Umananda), Siddhesvara, Amratokesvara (Heruka), Aghpra, and Kotilinga (Tatpurusa).
The Kamakhya Temple Complex also contains three temples of Lord Visnu. They are the Kedara (Kamalesvara) Temple, situated near the northern side of the main temple; the Gadadhara Temple, situated in the north-western direction of the Kamakhya Temple; and Pandunath Temple, situated in the eastern foothills of Nilachal also known as Pandu.
One more Legend
The evolution of Yoni in Kamakhya Temple has its origins in the mists of unknown history and antiquity. The Kalika Purana refers a dialogue between Devi and Shiva, where Devi asks Shiva about the yoni worship and the legend of Kamakhya. Shiva replies to her questions with a short explanation on the origins of Kamakhya.
According to hallowed tradition, Lord Brahma after having created the Universe, prided himself on his great accomplishment as a shining symbol of the supreme force of primordial creation. The Supreme Goddess was put off by the overweening arrogance of Lord Brahma. In order to suppress the pride of Lord Brahma, SHE created a demon out of herself and named him Kesi. Kesi chased Lord Brahma around the four corners of the universe, with his mouth wide open and ready to swallow Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma fled and absconded from the universe. Kesi then built a city named Kesi Puri from which the ever reverberant sounds of “Brahma Kunjah” (Kill Brahma) came out. Lord Brahma, realising his original mistake, retraced his steps and after giving up his vain pride, offered his fervent prayers to Mahashakthi in these words “Divine Mother, I am a fool to have deluded myself with the omnipotence of my superlative powers, particularly when YOU are indeed the ORIGIN, SOURCE, BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END OF IT ALL. Please forgive this sinner for this grievous act OF MISDEMEANOUR. I pray that YOU understand that Kesi has to be put down for the sake of the larger good of the world. Have grace on us, Oh Supreme Goddess.” Shakthi took pity on Lord Brahma and destroyed Demon Kesi with a simple blow from her mouth ending in ‘hum’ (the syllable of destruction).
In order to atone for his sins Lord Brahma had to create a mountain out of Kesi’s ashes and cover it with grass for the cattle. Accordingly Lord Brahma created a mountain. The Gods and Goddesses offered their salutations to Mahashakthi from atop the Govardhana Mountain created by Lord Brahma. Maha Sakthi pleased with their prayers burst forth as a spring from an opening atop the hill, and commanded Lord Brahma to know and understand that this place indeed would be the very Centre of Creation and the Eternal Source of his Creative Power. Devi had placed the yoni in Kamarupa essentially for the good of the world.After he was absolved of all his sins, Lord Brahma brought down a luminous ray of light from the heavens and placed it on the yoni circle.
The yoni is the quintessence of feminity and is a yantra for many Shaktha-based Tantric Cults in India. Represented as a downward pointing triangle, it stands for the sacred feminine womb, from which all life springs. The worship of the Goddes at Kamakhya is in this form of her creative power. She is venerated as a life giver. KAMAKHYA TEMPLE HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF THE VERY FEW HINDU SHRINES WHERE THE GODDESS MAHA SHAKTI IS WORSHIPPED IN HER REPRODUCTIVE ASPECT AS THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH.
The Demon Narakasura fell in love with Goddess Kamakhya once and he wanted to marry her. But as a Goddess cannot marry a Demon or Asura, Goddess Kamakhya played a trick to save herself. She laid a condition that she would marry him only if he builds a temple for her within one night. Narakasura agreed to it and almost finished building the temple overnight. This scared Goddess Kamakhya and before the final steps of the temple were completed, a cock was sent to announce the arrival of dawn by crowing, very much before the due time for the birth of dawn. Angered by the crowing of the cock, Narakasura killed the cock on that spot. But according to the condition Narakasura couldn't marry Goddess Kamakhya after that. It is said that the present Kamakhya temple is the same that Narakasura had constructed for the Goddess.
I am presenting below the full Sanskrit text of the Shakti Peeta Stotram of Adi Shankara with the beautiful English translation.
Lankayam Shankari devi, Kamakshi Kanchika pure /
Pradyumne Shrinkhala devi, Chamunda Krouncha pattane //
Alampure Jogulamba, Sri shaile Bhramarambika /
Kolha pure Maha lakshmi, Mahurye Ekaveerika //
Ujjainyam Maha kali, Peethikayam Puruhutika /
Odhyane Girija devi, Manikya Daksha vatike //
Hari kshetre Kama rupi, Prayage Madhaveshwari /
Jwalayam Vishnavi devi, Gaya Mangalya gourika //
Varanasyam Vishalakshi, Kashmire tu Saraswati /
Ashtadasha Shakti peethani, Yoginamapi durlabham //
Sayamkale pathennityam, Sarva shatri vinashanam /
Sarva roga haram divyam, Sarva sampatkaram shubham //
How to reach Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati
Guwahati Junction Railway Station, located at the center of the town, is well connected to other major cities and towns in India with express and passenger trains. The Avadh Assam Express, Brahmaputra Mail (also spelt Brahmputra Mail), Rajdhani Express, Ernakulam Guwahati Express, Kamrup Express, and North East Express are some of the main trains that passes through Guwahati.
The nearest international airport is the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport situated around 18 km towards the east from Guwahati.
National Highways 31, NH 37 and NH 40 connect Guwahati to other major cities in India by road.y
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