Guwahati, June 23 (IANS) The annual ‘Ambubachi fair’ began at the historical Kamakhya temple here on Tuesday in the presence of lakhs of devotees who have thronged the temple to participate in the ritual.
Since Monday night the temple authorities have kept the doors of the temple, a famous Shaktipeeth dedicated to Goddess Durga, shut as part of a custom maintained during the Mother Goddess’ annual menstrual period.
The doors will reopen on Friday morning when the devotees will be allowed to visit and worship the Mother Goddess. During this period, Hindus do not worship and farmers do not plough their land.
Known as the ‘Mahakumbh of the East’, the four-day festival witnesses lakhs of devotees and tourists thronging the temple from different parts of the country and abroad every year.
All the temples of the state will remain closed during this period of Ambubachi.
Temple authorities say an estimated two lakh devotees have already arrived while more are expected in the days to come.
The administration in collaboration with the Kamakhya Debuttar Board (the administrative wing of the temple) has made elaborate security arrangements.
“We have put up temporary tents to accommodate pilgrims besides permanent shelters in the temple to accommodate them. Hygiene is a big concern during the period as there will be a huge turnout of people,” said Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner M. Angamuthu.
“We have set up enough temporary public conveniences in the temple complex to address this concern and people, including volunteers, have been engaged to maintain cleanliness and hygiene round the clock during this period,” he added.
“Besides, a sufficient number of security forces have also been deployed in the temple to maintain law and order during the festival, he said.
“Lakhs of devotees have also been camping in different parts of the city. Elaborate security arrangements are being made to ensure smooth conduct of the festival,” said a Kamakhya Debuttar Board official.