Ambubachi Mela also locally known as “Ameti” or “Amoti” is the biggest religious congegretion in the North East India. The word “Ambu” means water and “Vasi” or “Bachi” means flowing. It is observed during the monsoon season in the month of ‘Ashara’ as per Assamese/ Bengali calender beginning with the seventh day which falls around 21st or 22nd of June of Gregorian Calender. It is the time when Sun is in Zodiac of Mithuna and enters into the first Pada of Adra Constellation. The traditional belief is that during this time, the Devi who is worshipped as the Mother Earth enters into the period of her annual mensuration. Ambubachi has a deep rooted connection with ancient agricultural concept which compares that Mother Earth to a fertile woman.
At Kamakhya Devalaya, the temple door remains closed for visitors during the first three days. The “Pithasthana” or the sanctum sanctorum is covered with a red silk cloth. During this time, only fruits and uncooked food items are offered to the Devi.The temple door re-opens on the fourth day … the Pithasthan is cleaned and Puja , other rituals are performed as per custom. Only then the devotees, numbering in thousands waiting for long hours in the ques outside are allowed to have the Darshan and to get the blessings of the Mother Goddess.
During this period, the entire Nilachala or Kamakhya Hill comes alive with “Bhajan” and “Kirtan” and thousands of devotees throng for “Devi Darshan” and to seek blesings of the Mother Goddess when the temple door reopens for public.The same process is followed in other temples also.
Every year lakhs of pilgrims, starting from Sadhus (holy man) to householders, from all over India, come to Kamakhya to observe this festival. These include Sannyasins, black clad Aghoras, the Bauls of West Bengal, intellectual and folk artists, Tantriks, Sadhus and Sadhvis with long matted hair etc. Even many foreign tourist, researcher, journalists come from abroad to this place every year. This festival especially draws a large numbers of Tantrik from all parts of the country as the Kamakhya is said to be the nerve centre of Tantric Shaktism.
The Angavastra : Another important aspect of Ambubachi is the highly regarded Angavastra or the Raktavastra, the piece of red cloth used to cover the Pithasthana of the temple during the first three days. Large numbers of devotees are seen craving to acquire a piece of such cloth which is believed to be very auspicious and beneficial if tied onto one’s body.