Temples & Monasteries
Maa Kamakhya Temple, Nilachal Hills
Maa Kamakhya or Kameswari is the renowned Goddess of Desire whose famous shrine is located in the heart of Nilachala Hill situated in the western part of Guwahati, the Capital City of the state of Asom in North East India. Maa Kamakhya Devalaya is considered most sacred and oldest of the 51 Shakti Peethas on earth. It is the centerpiece of widely practiced, powerful Tantrik Shaktism cult in India. The Kamakhya Devalaya has been regarded as the greatest center of Shakti worship in Assam from very ancient time. The History of Kamakhya Devalaya is inter-mixed with oral history and legends, sometimes these sources reflect different periods of time. Mention of Kamakhya has been made in the various ancient literature e.g. Devi Bhagawat, Devi Purana, Kalika Purana etc. The holy shrine of Maa Kamakhya is bestowed with its own set of myths and mysteries. The aesthetic significance of this temple cannot be ascertained only by its factual history; rather one needs to dwell upon the oral recorded history & historical legend. The earliest story dates back to creation itself. There are quite a few oral legends prevalent in connection with Maa Kamakhya. The hill on which the Kamakhya temple exists is known as the Nilachala or Blue Hill. The overall architectural shape of the present Kamakhya temple, which was rebuilt in A.D. 1565 by utilizing ruins of a stone temple of 11th-12th-century A.D.Temple is reconstructed by Then King Naranaryana in 1645C.
According to legend, Maa Kamakhya Is known as the Womb of the Universe or the Center of the Universe.
The Sivadol or Shiva temple, built in the Shikhara architecture (more specifically Ahom temple architecture), has a central tower which is said to be the tallest Shiva temple tower in India at a height of 104 feet (32 m).The base of the temple measures 195 ft (59 m) in circumference.The temple is built with stone and bricks. Inside the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorium), the Shiva Linga (an iconic symbol of Shiva) is deified, which is in a reverse setting. The Shikhara or Vimana (temple tower), which rises above the sanctum sanctorium, has a four-tiered, 8 feet (2.4 m) mastaka and is crowned by a kalasha made of gold. The tower itself is built with parallel ridges and furrows. The lower part of the tower is flanked by four smaller identical towers, which are known as the angashikaras. The garbagriha, where the main deity is deified in the form of a reversed Shiva linga, is interconnected with an antarala, a small antechamber, which has a roof known as do-chala, which is akin to a typical hut built in Assam. The antarala is also connected to one of the mandapas (outdoor halls). The exterior walls of the temple are embellished with sculptures and floral designs set in Bas-relief.
Biswanth Ghat comprises of 9 Temples of Lord Shiva, Bishnu, Shani, Durga, And Lord Bhaluk(Bear). There are many myths about the Biswanth Ghat. The Main Temple of Biswanath Ghat represents s Lord Shiva. Biswanth Ghat is also known As Gupt Kashi. There are one less then a crore shivalingas present there. The one from the crore was stolen from there and keep it in a place because of the fear of second Kashi. The Stolen one is in Singri known Ase Gupteswar( Hidden Lord) according to legend. There are several legendary stories about Biswanth Ghat. There is a Giant rock over there known As Borola Sil. According to legend, A Women entered into the stone but didn’t come back from inside. Now The Indian Govt constructing a port over there. The surrounding beauty of Biswanath Ghat is incredible.
The Navagraha Temple is found on the top of Chitrasal Hill (or Navagraha Hill), in Guwahati city, Assam, India. Enshrined in this temple are nine Shivalingams, representing the nine Celestial bodies, each covered with a colored garment symbolic of each of the celestial bodies, with a Shiva lingam in the center symbolizing the Sun. The Navagraha temple was built by Ahom King Rajeswar Singha in the late 18th century. It has been renovated in recent times during the late 1923-45.
Navagraha temples are temples devoted to Navagraha—the nine (nava) major celestial bodies (Grahas) of Hindu astronomy. These celestial bodies are named Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Ketu (South Lunar Node). Many temples in South India contain a shrine dedicated to the Navagrahas. However, the term Navagraha temples refers to a cluster of nine separate temples, each an abode of one of the Navagrahas.
Satras of Majuli (Vaishnav Monastries)
Satras are the Assamese Vaishnavite monasteries for religious practices. These great Vaishnava monasteries were founded at the initiative of the Ahom Kings of Assam in the middle of the 17th century. Satra is an institution which motivates the minds of the people through ritual performances to realize the existence of God. They are places where the Vaishnavs dedicate themselves to serve God and also preach the followers for devotion towards God. They are also the center of art and culture in Assam. They make the use of various ritual and devotional performances to make the mass people understand and practice the doctrine of the Vaishnavism and realize belief in one God and the means of the ultimate eternal peace.
SRI SRI AUNIATI XATRA: The Auniati Satra was established in Majuli in 1653 A.D. by the Ahom King Sultanla. He was given the name Jayaddhaja Singha after he adopted the Hindu Religion (Vaishnava) from the first Satradhikar of Auniati Satra Sri Sri Niranjan Deva. King Jayaddhaja Singha was endowed with 81,650 bighas of land in two different categories namely Devotra and Brohmotra to be looked after and maintained by the Satra. Sri Sri Auniati Satra occupied the highest position amongst the various Satras of Assam in the eyes of the Ahom Kings. The slightly elevated land of Majuli, where this Satra was established, was full of Auni Paan (a kind of betel creeper plant). Ati means elevated place. There from the name Auniati Satra came into being.
Dakshinpat Xatra: Dakshinpat Xatra is a well-known Xatra (socio-religious institution) on Majuli island in the Brahmaputra River, in the Indian state of Assam established by Vamshigopal disciple Satradhikar Sri Vanamalidev in 1584. He was honored and treated with much respect by the reigning Ahom monarch Jayadhvaj Singh who made liberal gifts to the Xatra. An ornate gateway engraved with religious motifs, animals, and flowers forms the entrance while inside similar sculptures and paintings with divine overtones adorn the walls of the Namghar and heighten the aesthetic appeal of the sacred precincts where the idol of Mahaprabhu Jadavarai is worshipped. Dakshinpat Xatra is a treasure house of dances contributed by Shri Sankardeva such as the Borgeet, Matiakhara, Jumora, Chali, Noyua, Nande Vringee, Sutradhar, Ozapali, Apsara, Satria Krishna and Dasavater among others while it is also a storehouse of antiques of cultural importance and an advanced center for the performing arts.
Poa mecca meaning a quarter of Mecca, also known as Barmagam, is a place of pilgrimage for the Muslims, situated atop the Garurachala Hills. An Iraqi Prince turned Preacher, Ghiyasuddin Auliya, is said to have built the mosque here in the 12th century AD. It is held by the Muslims that the preacher had brought a lump of earth from Mecca and enshrined the same at a spot where the mosque was built at a later period. It is believed that by offering prayer, a faithful gains one-fourth (Poa) spiritual enlightenment of what could be gained at Mecca and so this place is known as Poa-Mecca.
Basistha temple located in the south-east corner of Guwahati city is a Shiva Mandir constructed by Ahom King Rajeswar Singha in 1764 along with the gift of land 835 Bighas for the ashram. The history of the Basistha Ashram where the temple is located dates back to the Vedic age. According to legend, the ashram was founded by the great saint Basistha (Vasishtha)..
Temple in the ashram stands on the bank of the mountain streams originating from the hills of Meghalaya, which becomes the rivers Basistha and Bahini/Bharalu flowing through the city. This ashram is believed to be the home of famous sage Basistha, also known as “Vasishtha“
Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple
The Purva Tirupati Balaji Temple is a pristine temple of Guwahati at Lokhra area. This Balaji temple is the replica of the famous Tirupati Venkateswara Temple of Sothern India.
The Sukreswar Temple is an important Shiva temple in the state of Assam in India and was constructed in 1744 by Ahom King Pramatta Singha (1744–1751). King Rajeswar Singha (1751–69) who also promoted the cause of the Saiva cult made financial provisions for the Sukreswar Temple in 1759. The temple is located on the Sukreswar or Itakhuli hill on the south bank of river Brahmaputra in the Panbazar locality of Guwahati city. Leading down from the temple compound is a long flight of steps to the river. Sitting on the steps of Sukreswar ghat one can enjoy the scenery of sun setting on the river, boats moving across the river, people performing puja in honor of their relatives who have left this world, children and older people bathing, far removed from the din and noise of the city.
One of the Biggest Shivlingas in The world.Which is keep expanding daily. The ancient Mahabhairav Temple is located at a hillock on the northern part of Tezpur town, Assam. This temple is believed to have been established by king Bana in the pre-historical times. This Shiva temple was originally built of stone but the present one was renovated and built with concrete
Sri Sri Hayagriva Madhav Temple
It is located 32 km from Guwahati, on the north bank of river Brahmaputra. It is a place where three religions meet i.e. Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. The most celebrated shrine in lower Assam, next to Kamakhya, is the Hayagriva temple of Hajo. The image of Vishnu installed at the resembles that of Jagannath at Puri in Orrisa. A curious feature of this
temple is that as a Buddhist shrine by Buddhist Lamas and Butiyas who profess Buddhism. Power
Tawang Monastery Also Known As World Highest peak Monastery is located in Tawang city of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is situated in the valley of the Tawang River, near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, in close proximity to the Tibetan and Bhutanese border. The full name of the monastery is Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse. ‘Ta’ means “horse”, ‘wang’ means “chosen”, which together forms the word ‘Tawang’, meaning “the location selected by horse”. Further, ‘Galdan’ means “paradise”, ‘Namgye’ means “celestial” and ‘Lhatse’ means “divine”. Thus, the full meaning of the ‘Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse’ is the “site chosen by the horse is the celestial divine paradise here legends are narrated to the establishment of the monastery. In the first legend, it is said that location of the present Monastery was selected by a horse which belonged to Merag Lama Lodre Gyatso who was on a mission assigned to him by the 5th Dalai Lama to establish a Monastery. After an intense search, when he failed to locate a suitable place, he retired into a cave to offer prayers seeking divine intervention to choose the site.
Dubdi Monastery – the oldest in Sikkim
Dubdi monastery is central to the history of Sikkim as it is closely linked to the founding of the State of Sikkim at Yuksom in the middle of the 17th century by Lhetsum Chenpo and his two associate lamas. Chenpo’s green image is enshrined in the Dhubdi monastery as it was established by him to commemorate the founding of the Kingdom of Sikkim. Monastery had thirty monks some time back. Now to gain access to the monastery, the only monk who stays in the monastery has to be informed in advance. The Chogyar Namgyal established the first monastery known as the Dubdi Monastery in 1701, at Yuksom in Sikkim, which is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit involving the Norbugang Chorten, Pemayangtse Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Khecheopalri Lake and the Tashiding Monastery.
Located at an hour’s drive from Gangtok, Lingdum Monastery is a Buddhist pilgrimage destination. The sprawling complex, set amid serene forested hills, is a specimen of sacred architecture. Its exquisite murals, statues, and adornments, besides the impressive scale of the edifice, bring a look of wonderment to every visitor’s face.Lingdum Monastery is a Buddhist pilgrimage center following the Zurmang Kagyu sect of the ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is under the spiritual direction of H. E. Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, who is the 12th successive successor of the Kagyu sect. The monastery symbolizes the Tibetan Buddhist architecture and an eye-catching portion is its apex carved with parasols, finials and pagoda roofs over a vast courtyard. A gigantic statue of Lord Buddha is enshrined at the end of the hall; the statue is massive in size with a height of five meters, the perfectly sculpted face and the hands radiate a lifelike effect. The retreat center situated on a hillock behind the monastery is another interesting place not to be missed where the monks retire to meditate.
Phodong belonging to the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism was built in the early 18th century. The Monastery is one amongst the six most important Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim and also three important monasteries of the Kagyu sect in Sikkim. The monastery is ordained with beautiful paintings and has a rich collection of ancient murials. It lies at an altitude of 4500 ft overlooking the valleys deep down below and offers a picturesque view of the mountains.
Situated around 23 kms from Gangtok, in the hill facing Gangtok is Rumtek, a quiet getaway and home to the Rumtek Monastery, the seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The drive to Rumtek snakes through typical Sikkimese villages and many paddy fields. The paddy fields resemble a green carpet from July to September and later in October-November, the entire place is a sight to behold with golden paddy swaying in the breeze.
The lush green hilly terrain, a breathtaking topography, and misty mountains makes Rumtek an ideal place for some quiet time. Rumtek offer a host of sightseeing opportunities. These include local sightseeing within Rumtek, one day tours to places around Rumtek, monastery tours and adventurous exploits such as white water rafting and trekking.
Legend has it that Tashiding hill in west Sikkim is the navel point of the holy places in Sikkim from a religious point of view. A Buddhist Tantrayana Master called ‘Guru Padmasambhava’ had made his miraculous visit to this hill in 8th century A.D, along with his retinue of followers and recognized it as a heart of the holy places in Sikkim. But the damages by frequent earthquakes resulted in several wall cracks, following which Lamas had to rebuild it in 1995 with the financial help from the Sikkim State Government. Presently, the monastery has 60-70 monks.
GUNAVATI GROUP OF TEMPLES, RADHAKISHOREPUR
Tripura known for its varied monuments its possess has one of the most famous monuments known as the Gunavati Group of Temples is located at Kishorepur in the district of South Tripura. It is a monument where a group of three brick is built which is temples that lies adjacent at the ancient capital of Tripura at Udaipur. The northern temple bears an inscription which narrates that the temple was built by Queen Gunavati, wife of Govinda Manikya (CE 1668-69), in Saka 1590, corresponding to 1668 CE. The two other temples also bear contemporary look but their actual history is still to be unveiled. The architecture of these temples resembles other contemporary temples of Tripura except that the topmost parts are without Stupa.
Tripura Sundari Temple
Tripura Sundari temple is supposed to be one amongst the 51 pithas, So, its religious significance is greater than any other temples in the state. But, this pitha or place of pilgrimage doesn’t host an assemblage of people of a particular religion or a sect only. In fact, people from all walks of life, irrespective of language, religion or caste gather around this place of pilgrimage. And this is the hallmark and the most noteworthy salient feature of Tripura Sundari temple.the historical significance of Tripura Sundari temple is greater in many aspects and than other temples and sites of worship in the state. There are two reasons behind this. Firstly, Tripura Sundari temple is the only one of its kind i.e. the most ancient one to be still intact and alive. Here, the image of the deity is still being worshipped with devotion. A temple that attracts lakhs of devotees every year due to its indomitable attraction. Secondly, its construction style and the architectural design has its unique feature. Moreover, the stone- inscriptions on the walls of the temple accounts to its historical importance. In 1501 A. D. (1423 Saka Era) ,Maharaja Dhanya Manikya built the Tripura Sundari Temple.
Shree Govindajee Temple
A historic Vaishnavite temple located in the old Kangla Palace area, it is the abode of 4 deities, all of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Situated in the heart of the city, this temple has a beautiful structure & layout with twin domes, a paved courtyard & large congregation hall. The Yaosong or Doljatra festival is celebrated with great fervor here.
Possibly one of the oldest temples of Manipur, this was built way back in 1467!! The story so goes that King Kymba wanted to conquer Kyang, a ‘Shan’ kingdom. And so, he attacked Kyang. After the battle was won, the area was divided graciously between the 2 kingdoms. In return, King Pong, of the Kyang kingdom, gave an idol of Lord Vishnu to King Kymba as a token of gratitude. And so, it happened that King Kymba built a Vishnu Temple at Bishnupur!
Built in the Chinese architectural style, this temple is very unique as it marries Chinese architecture with Hindu idols- a sight even more important now than ever before. Arguably one of the most unique places of worship, this temple, at Bishnupur, is a must-visit. Do note that even the name of the place, ‘Bishnupur’, seems to be derived from the history of this temple.
Sacred Jackfruit Tree Site/Temple
Located in Kaina, around 35 kms to the eastern side of Imphal, lies a site of significant religious & historical importance for the Meitei Hindus. It is believed that during the reign of Bhagyachandra Maharaja, the sacred idol of Shree Govindajee was sculpted from the parts of a Jackfruit tree cut from Kaina, to comply with a dream the King saw in which the Lord appeared in a similar manifestation. Thus, the site assumed importance as the place in which the image of the Lord first originated. The Raas-Leela is performed every year on this sacred site.
Shri Krishna Temple
Believed to have been built in 1722 AD, it was designed in the typical Bengali hut type architecture & built on the banks of the Imphal river. The temple is raised on a pedestal of 3 layers of bricks with flying staircases & perched walls & domes. The temple is known for housing different idols of Lord Krishna depicting the various events from his childhood to adulthood. The temple is run by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
Situated on the banks of the Imphal river, amongst groves of the Mahabali forest, it was built by King Garib Niwaj in 1725 AD. Built in the hut type Bengali style, this temple houses a beautiful idol of Lord Hanuman in human form. An important temple in the religious history of Manipur, this temple is surely a must-visit!