Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study?
For Prelims: Ambubachi festival and Nilachal Hills.
For Mains: Significance and the role of festival in promoting awareness on menstrual hygiene.
Context: In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Ambubachi Mela of Assam has been cancelled this year.
About Ambubachi Mela:
- The festival symbolises the fertility cult of goddess Kamakhya.
- There is no idol in the temple, the goddess is worshipped in the form of a yoni-like stone over which a natural spring flows.
- Also known as Siddha Kubjika, the goddess is a Hindu tantric goddess of desire who evolved in the Himalayan hills. She is also identified as Kali and Maha Tripura.
- The festival is also known as ‘Mahakumbh of the East’ as it draws lakhs of devotees from all over the world.
Social significance of the festival:
The ritualistic fair celebrating the goddess’ period is one of the reasons why the taboo associated with menstruation is less in Assam compared with other parts of India. The attainment of womanhood of girls in Assam is celebrated with a ritual called ‘Tuloni Biya’, meaning small wedding. Ambubachi Mela serves as an occasion to promote awareness on menstrual hygiene.
Facts for Prelims:
Kamakhya, atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati, is one of 51 shaktipeeths or seat of Shakti followers, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion.
- Where are Nilachal hills located?
- Location of Shaktipeetas.
- What is tuloni biya?
- What is Mahakumbh Mela?
- Division of Himalayas.
Discuss the cultural and social significance of Ambubachi mela.
Sources: the Hindu.