2018-11 Guwahati

Guwahati, the capital of the state of Assam is located on the banks of the Brahmaputra river . The weather here is humid, the mornings are misty which makes the sunrise quite a magical moment. The other interesting solar fact is that sunset is very early here, the sunset on the river is extremely beautiful. We are only here for a couple of days, to see the temples, Shiva temple is on a small island and Kali temple is on a hill. I have also arranged a short elephant safari to see the rhinoceros. All in all Guwahati does not seem to be a very interesting city to visit and its also quite complicated to get around, the use of a driver is essential. The city center is very congested with traffic and the city then spreads outwards from the banks of the river. We visited the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary only ninety minutes drive away from the city for a sunrise safari on elephants to see the rhinoceros in their natural habitat. It was a beautiful experience, not only for the elephants who seemed to be treated with respect and care but also for the drive through the misty countryside before dawn, the nature itself and of course the rhinos. The shiva temple on the small island is nothing special but the sunset there and on the boat makes it all the more beautiful. The shrine is ineteresting, its below ground in a sort of cave. The Kamakhya Kali temple is the most emblemenatic of the city and is one of the most important temples in all india. Tantric rituals and sacrifices are practiced daily since the 10th century. The temple is located on the point where shiva dropped the genital parts of his dead wife Sati. The deity is a stone in the form of the female genitals, the yoni, and is supposed to have menstruations each year in June.
The temple opens at 7am, we arrived around 6:30, we were not going to take the general way as people had been waiting all night in line to get in, the VIP access costs 500 ruppees and with this inhand the waiting time was reduced to 90 minutes. The shrine is below ground and is natural rock formation. Of course its fully covered with red hibiscus flower offerings. We did not gi and see any sacrifice ritual which is carried out just outside the main temple building but we did see the baby goats beeing brought in and I did have a look at the actual place before it started its animal sacrifices of the day. Its now time to wrap up as this is the last day of this part of my trip, my friend who I have been accompanying for this discovery of the rituals and holly places of the north east of India will fly back to France this evening and I will myself return to Kolkata where I will spend the next four days and discover the festivities of Diwali before heading down south.

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